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Thread: Western Sates rules moving forward

  1. #1
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    Western Sates rules moving forward

    As many of you know, I have been pushing safety as well as a national set of rules since I have been on the WSDCA board. Since there might not be an annual meeting to discuss these issues, I wanted to make sure we all at least have a chance to discuss these important issues via email and open up a dialog so everyone has an opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts.

    Safety Rules

    As you all know, we lost Dave Richardson and Leroy Kay in a horrible and tragic freak accident at Fernley in May. We learned a few things from this wreck:

    1. If Dave had been wearing his head and neck device, and his seat belts had been tight, he would be alive today.
    2. If Leroy had a full containment seat, he would be alive today.

    It seems to me that the obvious thing to do is make these two items mandatory. I know some of you may be opposed to making these items mandatory because of the potential added costs of a head and neck device and full containment seat, but I think we can all agree that none of us ever want to go through losing another racer because he/she would not or did not have safety gear on. Those of us that knew them are all still reeling from losing Dave and Leroy, and I think we have to take this opportunity to make some necessary changes to improve the safety of racing, not only in their honor, but to also ensure that we do not have to go through this again. None of us want to lose another driver and we have all seen how Dave and Leroy’s deaths have affected their friends and families first hand.

    I have previously heard some of you express that our Association cannot legally mandate additional safety concerns. However, I have consulted with a number of attorneys and this is simply not the case. As an organization, we can mandate our own safety regulations just as we have previously passed requirements regarding wearing safety belts and helmets. These two items are no different and it raises no legal issues. If we agree as an organization to require stricter safety regulations, it has no legal implications.

    Relatedly, I think we should also look at actual car construction. Currently, our rules mandate that we have to use 1 x 2.120 wall as frame material from extreme front to rear. Have any of you ever tried to bend 1 x 2 .120? It is super stiff and resists bending really well. I think it resists bending too well. Essentially, what we have created is a super stiff and rigid frame that does not give enough on impact. We have seen two separate accidents in the past two years with broken vertebrae from violent front impacts—Skip Hempler at Fernley in Spring 2012 and Chance Damron in Phoenix in March 2013. In addition, I have a damaged spinal cord from the rear impact I took at Chowchilla a few years ago. I think we should allow some flexibility in design from ahead of the where the front suspension bolts on and behind where the main vertical roll cage bars weld to the 1x2 in the rear of the car(basically behind the seat but in front of the rearend housing). By allowing some variation away from the 1x2, it would allow the racer to create a front and rear crush zone that could help absorb some of the energy in a hard impact. By approving these two changes, we would align with TUSA rules. In addition, we should think about the overall length rule we have been discussing the last two seasons. Currently, our front bumper rule says bumper cannot extend more than 6” forward of front tires. In comparison, the TUSA bumper rule says it may not extend more than 12” ahead of front tires. By changing our front bumper rule to follow TUSA we would be creating more of a frontal crush zone and I don’t see this distracting from the overall appearance?. I have not had a chance to measure any of our cars, but we should also keep in mind that TUSA has a rule that says the maximum car length is 128”.

    A topic that has also come up since the wreck is allowing there to be no right side door and allowing roof hatches. Personally, I do not see an issue with allowing someone to use a roof hatch instead of a right side door since most of us could not fit through the door opening anyway due to the shifter and other things being mounted there. However, if we allow such a rule change, roof hatches should only be allowed if the car has a SAFELY BUILT AND OPERATIONAL roof hatch and make sure that no space in the roof is bigger than the minimum bumper dimension of 24” x 6”. I do not think we currently have a rule that references roof hatches but we do allow cars with them to run at our WSDCA events currently (i.e., PeterD BullyTrucks). TUSA rules say only driver door must be operational.

    Seat placement has also come up. Currently, our rule says bottom of seat no more than 63” back and top of seat no more than 68” back. We all know that using these dimensions make it difficult to fit anyone over 5’10” in one of our cars. For anyone over 6”, it forces him/her to be very scrunched in with minimal to no legroom and causes him/her to be smooshed into a space that is not big enough to allow your body to move in the event of a wreck—this is simply not safe. In addition, with the new full containment seats that have the extra bracing that extends beyond the back side of the seat, it pushes the seat even further forward. Why do we mandate such a small space? I do not have the answer. What would it hurt to push the seat back to allow enough room for taller drivers? I think we should move the seat rule back to 65” on the bottom and 74” on the top to allow for the new seats/taller drivers—this would also align our rules with TUSA.

    COMMON SENSE RULES

    These are rules that, for the most part, we are the only ones running and by changing them, we would move closer to a national set of rules.

    Everyone’s favorite topic—Quickchange! It makes financial sense. Under $3000 with all the gear sets for the speedway unit from Hayes; or under $2500 for a Winters available from many vendors on www.dwarfracing.com. It is not performance enhancing. In fact, it actually robs horsepower and other than the street tire groups, we are the only ones left mandating these. I think we should make it legal and limit the gear choice to anything under a 4:30 since it takes horsepower to turn it any performance gain by being perfectly geared would be negated. By allowing the Quickchange, we would align with the rest of the major sanctioning bodies in the United States., TUSA, STARS, VRA, PHRA and Colorado Dwarfs to name just a few

    Next, Beadlock wheels. Again, these are not a performance enhancing device. The tires we have to run will not benefit from running a bead lock. The only advantage is added safety in rutty-hooked up conditions. In fact, because these wheels way much more, the added weight would clearly be a disadvantage, and it would negate any advantage. If it brings more cars to our races, let ‘em run ‘em! Again, we are the only sanctioning body still not allowing these other than the street tire clubs in Arizona. By allowing Beadlock wheels, we would again align with the rest of the U.S.

    Similarly, 8” wheels. Again, these are not a performance enhancing device because they weigh more. Why don’t we just allow them and align with the rest of the U.S.?

    Finally, requiring that the weight minimum be measured with the driver in the car. We are the only sanctioning body I have ever heard of weighing a car without the driver and, if you do not think light cars and light drivers are not winning races, then you are not paying attention! We need to change the rule to include the driver and make the minimum no less than 1200lbs(this would match PHRA). This is still 60 lbs lighter than the TUSA stock motor program and 40lbs lighter than the Texas rules but would at least get us closer to aligning with the rest of the U.S. It would definitely level the playing field a little more and make for closer racing, not to mention allow racers to run more stock steel stuff and not have to worry about weight. This will save us all money.

    Please respond to this letter if you have any thoughts or comments on these or any other WSDCA rules either by email or by posting on one of these public forums I have posted this letter on, thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    Central Ohio
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    Re: Western Sates rules moving forward

    While I understand the need to change the seat measurements for taller drivers, I believe it necessary to raise the roof on all dwarf cars. Having any driver within an inch of the cage is not a safe environment. The appearance of the cars is not changed dramatically and in my opinion is enhanced if the rear roof line is raised while leaving the front cage in its original height. I believe there should be a minimum clearance above a driver's head and the only way to insure this measurement would be to "raise the roof." You can only lay these guys down so far in a dwarf before their chin is in their chest and they can't breathe.

    The other point made I have questions about is the confinement seat. I have a Kirkey confinement seat that I have tried to mount in 3 different chassis designs and none will accomodate the seat and sit square in the cockpit area. Without enlarging the cockpit, trimming the seat, or both there's no way to get the seat inside, especially if you need it to the furthest back position. I believe you'd be better off requiring head restraints added to the original seats to allow for side to side support. Gary Smith from the Ohio Valley Dwarf Car Association has championed for this and our 2014 rules have been changed to require either a neck restraint or head restraints and a neck collar (donut) to be worn. Kirkey makes left side and right side restraints that can be bolted to the original seat and are much cheaper than a containment/confinement seat. (pads are extra)

    One more thing I believe would make the cars safer would be to allow more room to the left side of the car in the cockpit area so the driver is not right against the door or the upright post at the rear of the door. Perhaps allow the door area to bow out and allow the upright post to be stepped outward even a few inches so additional padding could be added in this area of the car. Almost every driver I know has his knee resting against the left side door when driving the car. If we could bow the cockpit in this area to allow room and it should make that side safer due to the bridge effect the bows would produce.
    Last edited by dabossohio; 12-25-2013 at 11:13 AM.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2011
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    Re: Western Sates rules moving forward

    While I agree with most of your points of seat, seat setback, and Hans devices I'm not sure about the wheel changes. I would be interested in hearing more but my first thought is to leave the wheels alone for now. On the subject of the quick change I would allow both and let the racers decide. Like you mentioned the current rear end has an advantage and I would choose to run it and wouldn't care if a fellow racer had a quick change. That leaves your point about weight. On that subject I like the current rule. We ran Antioch and they had the 1200 pound rule and we saw some very unsafe race cars as the bigger drivers took out weight from their car. Add to that my grandson only weight 100 pounds that was 100 pounds of lead bolted in the race car and to me, that was unsafe.

  4. #4
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    Re: Western Sates rules moving forward

    Dabossohio, out here on the west coast a majority of the cars have the left side "kicked out ", the B pillar/door post actually steps out at an angle from the frame rail making this part of the car the widest part, this leaves quite a bit of room laterally, I run a Hot Rod chassis and I'm 6' 200lbs with a Kirkey full containment seat, I've got good lateral room but have had to trim the seat to push it as far back as possible and my legs are still bent so far that it's border line being uncomfortable. Also we allow a 44" tall roof from bottom of frame to top of frame rail and we can drop the seat pan below the bottom of frame rail, I have a 2" dropped pan and a 44" tall car and I have a long torso, with my helmet on and belted in I have 6" above my head to the roll cage. One rule we do have is a maximum roof slope rule of 3 1/2", TUSAs rule I believe says no more than 8 percent, I like the 8 percent rule because then the slope is the same no matter what the length of the roof is, however I don't know if the 8 percent is enough of a slope?.
    Danabcraig, your comment about having unsafe cars due to taking out weight, all cars should be teched on regular basis and if something is unsafe they should be forced to fix it either on the spot or by the next race, as to being unsafe because your bolting on a hundred pounds of lead, I've seen this done many times safely by either bolting it on in different spots with u bolts or pinch clamps or bolting it on to purpose built weight bars, D&R builds these into their cars.

  5. #5
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    Re: Western Sates rules moving forward

    Quote Originally Posted by derek40 View Post
    Dabossohio, out here on the west coast a majority of the cars have the left side "kicked out ", the B pillar/door post actually steps out at an angle from the frame rail making this part of the car the widest part, this leaves quite a bit of room laterally, I run a Hot Rod chassis and I'm 6' 200lbs with a Kirkey full containment seat, I've got good lateral room but have had to trim the seat to push it as far back as possible and my legs are still bent so far that it's border line being uncomfortable. Also we allow a 44" tall roof from bottom of frame to top of frame rail and we can drop the seat pan below the bottom of frame rail, I have a 2" dropped pan and a 44" tall car and I have a long torso, with my helmet on and belted in I have 6" above my head to the roll cage. One rule we do have is a maximum roof slope rule of 3 1/2", TUSAs rule I believe says no more than 8 percent, I like the 8 percent rule because then the slope is the same no matter what the length of the roof is, however I don't know if the 8 percent is enough of a slope?.
    Danabcraig, your comment about having unsafe cars due to taking out weight, all cars should be teched on regular basis and if something is unsafe they should be forced to fix it either on the spot or by the next race, as to being unsafe because your bolting on a hundred pounds of lead, I've seen this done many times safely by either bolting it on in different spots with u bolts or pinch clamps or bolting it on to purpose built weight bars, D&R builds these into their cars.
    -------
    www.aladsclassified.com

  6. #6
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    Re: Western Sates rules moving forward

    It is extremely pleasing to see such positive proposals.
    In particular, the head and neck mandate is well overdue, considering most major series have required them for over a decade.
    We are using your rules for the most part here in Wyoming, with some small exceptions, so this positive step, along with your other proposals would be welcome, at least by me. I would hope the higher roofs, more flexible chassis parts, wheel changes and quick changes would be accepted by all thoughtful racers.

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