A “mantra” is a word or phrase repeated again and again to hammer home a message.
president of the
You heard it over and over and over and it meant that anything was possible (if you voted him in.)
Ever since the Simona De Silvestro fire incident, the folks at the Indy Racing League have included a phrase in all their releases that could be considered a mantra: “The Safety Team consists of approximately 24 highly-trained personnel . . .”
That phrase was included again yesterday when the League issued its report on the fire at Texas Motor Speedway in which the driver was lucky to escape with only a slight burn.
All I have to say is that if those people really were/are “highly trained,” they wouldn’t have made the mess they did when they arrived at the scene with a racing car on fire and the driver struggling to get out.
They appeared confused and ill-prepared. They appeared to be anything but “highly trained.”
Here is the text of the IRL’s report on its investigation into the fire and the Safety Team’s response:
“Upon review of the on-track fire during the June 5 race at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indy Racing League discovered a procedural error in the packing of a fire hose on one of its trucks that caused it to malfunction as well as a breakdown in Safety Team protocol in its response to the incident.
"First and foremost, the Safety Team puts the highest
priority on driver safety," said Mike Yates, track safety manager for the
Indy Racing League. "Prior to every race, the Safety Team tests all hoses
to ensure they're working. At
"Additionally, upon arriving at the scene of the incident, our protocol calls for Safety Team members to take pressurized canisters with water and Cold Fire to the car to extinguish the fire as a first response. In situations like this, decisions are made in a split second based on the severity of the incident. After critiquing the situation, we have determined that the canisters are a more efficient and effective way to quickly suppress on-track fires. This will be reviewed with all Safety Team members."
Look, I understand that those people have a very tough job. It is a really dangerous job. At least one member of that team put his own life at risk when he went to De Silvestro’s aid.
But it was obvious they weren’t prepared for what happened there. If there was a malfunction of equipment, as has been determined, then Plan B should have kicked in and there didn’t appear to be a Plan B.
I’ve talked ad nauseum about the Oswego Speedway Safety Crew but the fact of the matter is that they practice. They create situations and plan how to react. And I have relatives who are firefighters who tell me that if there aren’t fires to fight, they review how to fight them so they’re prepared.
Let’s hope the IRL and its Safety Team have learned a huge
lesson and that if they have to spring into action at
And that the folks putting out the media releases will wait a bit before using the words “highly trained” again.
Last Monday, in the commenting section following my report on
the Grand Prix of Canada, the NASCAR race at
“Who won the FF race in
Xavier Coupal (just one of many young up-and-coming
On Sunday, Coupal spun out and failed to finish. Olivier
Bonnet won the race, edging his father Michel and
I’m old friends with Steve Pickering’s father, Hector, who was Canada’s best NHRA Top Fuel drag racer back in the late-1980s, early 1990s.
It was Hector’s Formula Ford team that a young Toronto Beaches high school student named Gavin Ward volunteered with at Mosport and Ward has since gone on to the Red Bull Formula One team where he is a race engineer.
By the way, that Sunday race was so close that if you blinked, you missed seeing the finish. The Bonnets and Pickering flashed across the line and three-tenths of a second separated first and third.
I also missed out reporting on three other
In the Italian Formula 3 series, Gianmarco Raimondo of
Now, I know Raimondo is probably disappointed with his results but he shouldn’t be. He’s a raw rookie who was only running his third and fourth races in that series. And anybody you ask will tell you that the differences between North American racing (where he was a champion) and European racing are like night and day. Those racers over there are ruthless and the fact that Raimondo is hanging in there, and finishing in the top 50 per cent of the fields, is commendable.
Meantime, in the same series and races, Nelson Mason of
And, finally, Alex Ellis of
The Jim Russell championship has been downgraded from 18 races to six because only six drivers entered the series. And instead of a fully sponsored season in the FIA Formula 2 championship, the winner this season will receive an Indy Lights test and entry into the Lights race at Infineon Raceway in August.A one-off in Indy Lights is nothing to sneeze at. Ellis could maybe turn more heads there than he ever could in Europe.