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Old 7 May 2002, 00:54 (Ref:278954)   #1
SevenGrain
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SevenGrain should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
A broken back, again!

Even though the SAFER wall signifigantly reduced the G's, Robbie McGehee's crash Sunday still resulted in fractures to the spine.

Time to take a serious look at the cars....
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Old 7 May 2002, 02:44 (Ref:278996)   #2
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mac should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridmac should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridmac should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I think you are right SevenGrain. When it happens time and time again, something must really be looked at.

I hope for a speedy recovery for McGehee.
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Old 7 May 2002, 07:26 (Ref:279148)   #3
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macdaddy has a real shot at the podium!macdaddy has a real shot at the podium!macdaddy has a real shot at the podium!macdaddy has a real shot at the podium!
You guys know something I don't, as I was of the understanding that he merely sustained minor injuries to his legs. What's the scoop?

Quoting Brian Barnhart (IRL VP of Operations) from a press conference following the crash:
"...I was with Dr. Bock out on the track just a minute ago when he got word from Methodist, and Robby has no broken bones and will be released."
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Old 7 May 2002, 08:29 (Ref:279181)   #4
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rustyfan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridrustyfan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
from the IRL site:

Indy Racing League veteran Robby McGehee has not been cleared to practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 after suffering small fractures in his upper spine and lower left leg in an accident during practice May 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services.

You can read the entire article here.
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Old 7 May 2002, 08:56 (Ref:279201)   #5
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Wow. Thanks, RustyFan.
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Old 7 May 2002, 09:06 (Ref:279207)   #6
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You're welcome

I think the initial report was a bit premature (the one that you quoted from), as McGehee had a more thorough (sp?) check-up later on.

I don't even want to imagine what might have happened had the SAFER barrier not been in place... McGehee hit a *ton*, doing around 218-219mph when he hit
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Old 7 May 2002, 14:20 (Ref:279437)   #7
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SevenGrain should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
According to Brian Barnhardt, Robbie's initial impact when the back end of the car, the gearbox, hit the wall was 40 g's. When the right front slid in and slapped in, he spiked to a 72.7.

Compare this to Salazar's crash at the Speedway before the soft wall was installed at 109 g's. The difference is that Salazar's season is over and McGehee will likely be cleared to drive within a week or so.

The SAFER wall certainly helped, but the issue of back injury still needs to be addressed. When the IRL cars crash, they nearly always hit the wall gearbox first. Perhaps there should be a deformable structure around the back of the car to absorb the energy. The back of the car is just too rigid.

This is the problem that NASCAR has had, the chassis have become to rigid and don't absord the energy from the impact. With both the car and the wall a solid structure, the driver's body is left to absord the impact. And NASCAR has lost some drivers recently as we are all painfully aware. Mandating the HANS device to protect the vulnerable upper spine and neck is a step in the right direction, and "soft" walls are a great idea that we will surely see installed an many other tracks, but the car is still the most important piece of the puzzle.

Street cars have "crumple zones" designed to absorb impact, CART chassis "shed parts" to dissapate energy and, for some reason, they don't have the tendancy to "backend" the wall as ferociously at it's IRL counterpart.

I don't know the answer, but I do know that I don't want to see another fine driver put on the shelf for the rest of the season, or have to cope with life in a wheelchair.

Last edited by SevenGrain; 7 May 2002 at 14:21.
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Old 7 May 2002, 23:02 (Ref:279814)   #8
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Crash Test should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridCrash Test should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Remember when these chassis were introduced, everybody was 'cracking up'. They put that deformable box on the gearbox, and everything was rosey for a while... but now, it's a serious problem again. Maybe the cars are too fast these days??
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Old 7 May 2002, 23:55 (Ref:279841)   #9
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Or have they allowed them to remove the box on the gearbox?

Does seem strange that suddenly everybody is hurting their backs again.
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Old 8 May 2002, 09:30 (Ref:280018)   #10
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hell, this is getting serious - I dont claim to have a vast knowledge of the category, but from my knowledge it seems the safety isn't up to scratch. Or is IRL just running through a bad patch like NASCAR in 2000?
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Old 8 May 2002, 18:16 (Ref:280435)   #11
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Just to add to this.......

PJ Jones is out of the Indy 500 after injuring his back in a crash yesterday.
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Old 8 May 2002, 18:19 (Ref:280438)   #12
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http://www.indystar.com/article.php?indy08.html

Report and pic of the crash.
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Old 8 May 2002, 18:41 (Ref:280458)   #13
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From the Brickyard's website...

"Indy Racing League driver PJ Jones was held overnight at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with a fracture of the C-6 vertebrae, said Dr. Henry Bock, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League director of medical services.

Jones is listed in good condition and is expected to be released today, Bock said.

Recovery time is up to six weeks, Bock said. The team has not named a replacement driver."


I was so happy for PJ to land this ride, and he was so quick right out of the box.

This issue with the back injuries is looking really, REALLY serious. At this rate they won't be able to field 33 drivers! I pray that PJ will be the last one to experience this, but I have grave doubts.
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Old 8 May 2002, 19:52 (Ref:280505)   #14
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Its a shame as I was looking forward to having Jones in the race.

Lets hope no one gets injured.
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Old 8 May 2002, 20:53 (Ref:280537)   #15
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With two drivers already out after only 3 days of testing, I think - unfortunately - that it's almost certain someone else will get injured as well
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