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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#601 McGuire

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 12:50

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I believe that the allegedly enormous fuel capacity of the Thompson car was probably a common belief/gossip of the period, and that is what the warriors recall.

So far as commonly held opinion of the time amongst the road-racers-at-Indy '64 is concerned, I am pretty sure that 'cause of accident' was considered to be simply a hard charging driver keen to impress in a VERY dodgy car.

Simple as that - which I think is in line with Fines's exasperation over the mechanical failure theories.

Agreed?

DCN


I totally agree.

However, I believe that both the driver's agressive style and the dodginess of the car have been grossly overstated, in the aftermath of the race and then as the story has been regularly regurgitated over the years. Writer's artifice.

Really, neither of these familiar story-telling points is required to explain what happened that day. MacDonald simply lost the rear of the car coming off Turn 4, a very ordinary occurance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In fact, there is no reason at all that could not have happened to Indy's steadiest journeyman driving the best-handling car in the field... though it does not make for nearly as good a story.

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#602 David M. Kane

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 13:24

I'm still surprised that no one else has acknoweldged that Swede Savage when off at approximately the same spot and we lost another promising American driver.

Ray Bell, I believe, mentioned Tim Mayer who IMO might have ended up being the best American driver ever.
He certainly was the most charming guy I ever met.

#603 TrackDog

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 05:53

Originally posted by ovfi
Michael you are correct, I over-exaggerated the drawing... but McGuire (post
#581) set the correct understanding for this case, whenever he countersteered
or not it has not affected the vehicle's heading in any meaningful way. The
others conclusions McGuire made in post #581 are perfect too, in my point of
view.
I've been following this thread since its beginning, contributing when
possible but, since I read post #181 of R.W.Mackenzie (he suspected of the
underside contour of the side "pods" could cause severe lift forces), I'm
mostly reading, posting eventually, appreciating the Kafkian style of the
thread (T54 copyright), waiting for something new... but there's nothing new,
and I think it is the moment to open to the forum what I've researched and
found during this time.
Because of the point raised by Mackenzie in post #181, I contacted a friend
who is Phd on aerodynamics (difficult mission, because he's retired and
prefers to talk about fishing), and after I exposed the case to him he made
the following comments, which I have written to avoid memory failure:

1-Aero is a tricky matter and there's no substitute for wind tunnel tests.
Although we can raise points and made conclusions from our experience on the
theme, all these conclusions must be tested in a wind tunnel at least with
scale models, but using the correct Reynolds number. For example, using a
scale model of 1/4 we must multiply by 4 the wind speed to maintain the
correct Reynolds number.

2-Probably the '64 car had its aerodynamic lift forces increased relatively
to the '63 car mostly due to riding height increase than to the underside
contours of the side pods.

3-The most probable flow pattern under these side pods is that they act as
exhaust, the air flowing outwards on high speed riding.

4-When a racing car enters a low air-pressure region behind another car, its
drag and lift forces are reduced; for a cigar-shaped car the lift force has
little reduction compared to the great reduction in drag, but for the wide
flat bottom car usually the reduction in lift is as big as on drag. Possibly
this can be the reason why MacDonald was doing so good in traffic, with more
grip when behind others cars.

5-These side pods can become dangerous air "lockers" if the car makes a fast
move from a low air-pressure to a high air-pressure region, because when this
occurs the outflow from the underside of the side pods can be suddenly
blocked, inducing a strong rear lift pulse because of the shape and position
of the side pods behind front wheels. This strong rear lift pulse may have
sufficient magnitude to cause rear wheel spin at high speed. If this indeed
occurred to MacDonald, his engine over revved at the same time he lost rear
wheel grip, making him confuse on what was happening because the car had a
lot of grip until a tenth of a second before.

6-It is strongly recommended wind tunnel tests, at least with 1/4 scale
models and 600 mph wind, of the Thompson and Huffaker cars (this one to
measure the low-pressure area) to confirm that. Some Universities have the
facility and it would be a beautiful thesis for an American student...

Well guys, I'm having insomnia with this story for two weeks... now I feel
some relief...I'm ready to be crucified.



This just might be the key to the whole puzzle...if MacDonald got into the slipstream of Hansgen's car, and that rush of air coming off Hansgen's car trapped the air exiting the sidepods of the Allstate car under the pod, lifting the rear end of the car, causing wheelspin...THAT could very well be the reason the rear end of the car stepped out on MacDonald. It could have been a recurring phenomenon through the first and second lap of the race...if he was behind another car, in their wake, that might explain the over-revving that Rutherford commented on as they travelled down the backstretch shortly before the crash.

I realize that this is a hypothesis, and that it hasn't been tested in a wind tunnel, but the source lends a great deal of credence to this theory. It might not have been driver error at all...


Dan

#604 HistoricMustang

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:36

Originally posted by TrackDog



This just might be the key to the whole puzzle...if MacDonald got into the slipstream of Hansgen's car, and that rush of air coming off Hansgen's car trapped the air exiting the sidepods of the Allstate car under the pod, lifting the rear end of the car, causing wheelspin...THAT could very well be the reason the rear end of the car stepped out on MacDonald. It could have been a recurring phenomenon through the first and second lap of the race...if he was behind another car, in their wake, that might explain the over-revving that Rutherford commented on as they travelled down the backstretch shortly before the crash.

I realize that this is a hypothesis, and that it hasn't been tested in a wind tunnel, but the source lends a great deal of credence to this theory. It might not have been driver error at all...


Dan


You gentlemen continue to amaze me. This hypothesis could tear away some of the mystery that has surrounded this accident for so many years in the minds of some individuals. The idea of a student taking on the project would be very interesting.

#605 jm70

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:43

Wonderful thread. But, was it an over-rev? Or was the clutch slipping. Was JR perhaps more used to the sound of the Offy VS the DOHC Ford, and it "sounded" over reved?

#606 old dirt

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 14:53

I am a new member and this is my first post on the forum. So first i would like to say hello to everyone here and build friendships, and not to offend. I have carefully followed this thread from the onset and observed how many members came to certain conclusions based on theories and or what other people have spoken. I have done a lot of research on this and have tried to stick with factual evidence, granted there is not a lot. I noted there are a lot of highly experienced engineers and builders etc. posting here. I would like to pose a question mainly to them. Has anyone taken the photo where the rear end of Daves car stepped out on him (right behind Hansgen) and measured each front wheel angle in relation to each opposing rear wheel angle on a Cad Cam system? I have not seen a post here that indicates this has been done. It may be a key in solving the question> driver error vs mechanical failure. I believe this thread was started by Henry with that specific purpose in mind. I have come to my own conclusions which i will not get into as of yet. I want to thank everyone here for taking the time and effort as this is not an easy subject, and one can overlook simple details that do exist. Myself included. Thanks, Mike

#607 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:58

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I'm still surprised that no one else has acknowledged that Swede Savage when off at approximately the same spot and we lost another promising American driver.



David,

I wonder if Savage and McDonald can be compared as for cause of the accident.
It seems to me as if you suggest that there was something wrong at the track surface itself what caused the accidents of both men. But then, had it been a flow within the track, then why did there never happen something else that came close to '64 and '73 between these years?
And I refuse to accept that Savage drove a dangerous car compared with his opponents. There were how many of those Eagles at the track that year (a dozen if not more?) and should all of those have been as unsafe compared with their opponents as the '64 Thompson was compared with its opponents?

Henri

#608 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 13:33

Henri:

My question might actually be one of physics. There is no dark meaning. Yes, the Eagle was clearly the car of the day as practically everyone had one because they were so good.

If there is a bump I've never heard talk of it.

It simply turn 4, cars spin to the inside, hit in same area...curious similarity or overactive imagination?

#609 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 15:34

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Henri:

My question might actually be one of physics. There is no dark meaning. Yes, the Eagle was clearly the car of the day as practically everyone had one because they were so go.

If there is a bump I've never heard talk of it.

It simply turn 4, cars spin to the inside, hit in same area...curious similarity or overactive imagination?



David,

OK, I got it. Thanks for clearing this up.


Henri

#610 McGuire

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 19:32

Originally posted by TrackDog



This just might be the key to the whole puzzle...if MacDonald got into the slipstream of Hansgen's car, and that rush of air coming off Hansgen's car trapped the air exiting the sidepods of the Allstate car under the pod, lifting the rear end of the car, causing wheelspin...THAT could very well be the reason the rear end of the car stepped out on MacDonald. It could have been a recurring phenomenon through the first and second lap of the race...if he was behind another car, in their wake, that might explain the over-revving that Rutherford commented on as they travelled down the backstretch shortly before the crash.

I realize that this is a hypothesis, and that it hasn't been tested in a wind tunnel, but the source lends a great deal of credence to this theory. It might not have been driver error at all...


Dan


When one vehicle is followed by another, airflow is detached from the rear of the leading car and from the front of the trailing car. (The so-called "slipstream" effect causing the airflow to regard the two vehicles as in effect one long car.) By altering their respective centers of pressure, naturally this causes the leading car to become loose (oversteer) and the trailing car to push (understeer). This is a long-known and thoroughly understood property common to all race cars that operate at aerodynamic speeds, from F1 to Indy to NASCAR.

And now here is a new theory in which the Thompson car functions in exactly the opposite way: when it is following another car it becomes loose, not tight. I don't think so. That would require not only an unusual aerodynamic force but also a rather large one: in order to have sufficient effect it would have to first cancel out the standard understeer force produced by the leading car, and then reverse it. Not likely.

Once again: Given MacDonald's approximate speed at the time, it is unlikely that the critical factor causing the spin was aerodynamic in nature.

#611 ovfi

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 19:49

McGuire, is correct what you said about the car behavior inside the slipstream, but this has nothing to do with the point raised by my friend: his hypothesis is related to the pulse of lift force that may appear at the very moment the car in the rear leaves the slipstream (when it crosses the limit between low and high pressure zones) by changing lane. I remember he said too that this pulse depends on the proximity of the cars and how fast the car in the rear change lanes to pass: the closest and fastest situations produces the bigger pulses.

#612 TrackDog

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 19:58

Originally posted by McGuire


When one vehicle is followed by another, airflow is detached from the rear of the leading car and from the front of the trailing car. (The so-called "slipstream" effect causing the airflow to regard the two vehicles as in effect one long car.) By altering their respective centers of pressure, naturally this causes the leading car to become loose (oversteer) and the trailing car to push (understeer). This is a long-known and thoroughly understood property common to all race cars that operate at aerodynamic speeds, from F1 to Indy to NASCAR.

And now here is a new theory in which the Thompson car functions in exactly the opposite way: when it is following another car it becomes loose, not tight. I don't think so. That would require not only an unusual aerodynamic force but also a rather large one: in order to have sufficient effect it would have to first cancel out the standard understeer force produced by the leading car, and then reverse it. Not likely.

Once again: Given MacDonald's approximate speed at the time, it is unlikely that the critical factor causing the spin was aerodynamic in nature.


That wasn't quite what I meant...as I understood the hypothesis from the aerodynamicist, the situation might have occurred when MacDonald abruptly steered to the left to avoid Hansgen...as he did so, he might have crossed the wake of Hansgen's car. The slipstream of Hansgen's car might have trapped air under Dave's right sidepod, causing enough lift to induce wheelspin. It all depends upon just how sensitive to such forces the Thompson car was...and at 140-150 mph, there could have been enough aero at play to make a difference.

I remember a passage from Andy Granatelli's book, THEY CALL ME MR. 500 where he's qualifying at Indy in 1948 or so...he raised his arm high in the air to signal the starter that he was "on it" and the force of the wind slammed it aginst the tail of the car...he might have been doing 150 mph at the time.

The curvature of the sidepods on the Thompson car was evidently intended to move the air from under the front wheels out and away from the car; but air could be trapped underneath if the car went from a low pressure area to a high one abruptly, like in and out of a draft. I wonder if anybody on the Thompson team understood this, since the car probably wasn't tested in a wind tunnel. The car seemed to perform very well behind other cars, but not so good by itself.

Dan

#613 ovfi

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:05

Dan, you've got it, and explained better than me. Thanks

#614 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:28

Originally posted by old dirt
I am a new member and this is my first post on the forum. So ...Thanks, Mike


Well if nobody else is going to say 'welcome to TNF' - I will. Interesting (full) post.

DCN

#615 HistoricMustang

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:44

Originally posted by Doug Nye


Well if nobody else is going to say 'welcome to TNF' - I will. Interesting (full) post.

DCN


Yes, welcome and yes a very interesting post.

Henry

#616 HistoricMustang

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:53

Originally posted by TrackDog

MacDonald abruptly steered to the left to avoid Hansgen...as he did so, he might have crossed the wake of Hansgen's car. The slipstream of Hansgen's car might have trapped air under Dave's right sidepod, causing enough lift to induce wheelspin.
Dan


There have been several posts about possibility of the Hansgen car moving drivers left as MacDonald approached. Would this aggravate that situation?

Henry

#617 ovfi

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 20:54

old dirt: I apologize for not reading it before... but Doug Nye, who is a gentleman (he doesn't knows me, but I know him), corrected the situation. I agree with him, very interesting your post, and we wait for more. Welcome to TNF.

#618 old dirt

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 21:15

Thanks guys. Appreciate and respect your knowledge and wisdom. I think on the short end i was trying to say we often look past our noses to solve situations, or make them much more complex than need be. Often it is better to start with the facts at hand, and work from there. Forgive my user name, no pun intended. It refers to my past racing only. Perhaps a bad choice of a nickname. Now about that Cad Cam? Any takers? Thanks, Mike

#619 bobdar

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 21:34

As a longtime viewer of this thread, I appreciate everyone's insights, recollections and emotions with respect to this accident--a truly tragic sequence. Nonetheless, as McGuire has pointed out on a number of occasions, there seems to be a strong tendency to find an extraordinary cause for what appears to be a common initial event: MacDonald has a run on Hansgen coming out of turn 4, and is carving an arc to Walt's left to pass when Walt moves to the left. At this point, MacDonald has to either turn further to the left or lift off the gas, and he may have done both. The rear end gets light and the car begins a lazy spin into the wall. The first few seconds of the video show all of this pretty clearly, and the point has been made before. With any car 'on the edge' coming out of a turn, the driver can't turn more or lift without unintended consequences. It happens.

Not because of an aero problem. Not because of a "rookie mistake". Not because the car was evil. Perhaps Dave was "over-driving", but perhaps Hansgen shouldn't have pulled out.

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#620 ovfi

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 21:45

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
There have been several posts about possibility of the Hansgen car moving drivers left as MacDonald approached. Would this aggravate that situation?


Looking at Walter Zoomie's picture we see that Hurtubise , Hansgen and MacDonald were in the same slipstream, Hansgen trying to pass Hurtubise and MacDonald trying to pass Hansgen when he lost the tail of the car. From what I've learned about, the best answer will come from a wind tunnel test that simulates these conditions.

#621 old dirt

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 23:16

Ok, here we go. In racing, when there is a fatal crash and no definitive explaination as to whether it was caused by mechanical failure or driver error, or no absolute positive proof either way, out of respect for the lost driver(s) and their familys, the reason(s) should always be mechanical failure without any doubts, unless proven otherwise based on definitive fact. I speak as an ex racer here, and i know its hard for the crew chief and car owner to bite the bullet on this issue, but ask any driver (or rider) and chances are they would want the same respect, if only for their family, if it were them. I realize that may be a hard fact to digest for a fan, or casual observer, but its reality as far as the racers go on this subject.Am i saying here that i believe there is no proof, no, but that is just my opinion. So we can theorize on the reasons indefinitely without getting to the real issue of human respect. Both Eddie and Dave would want it that way as well. And both familys also. Just try to understand what takes place on the other side of the fence. Ultimately, they loose much more than the average fan does. Bottom line is, when its a toss up, give the driver the nod, not the blame. Thats my take on the thread with due respect to the members here that may or may not not agree. And i say this not to offend, but to understand. Thanks, Mike

#622 McGuire

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 23:25

Originally posted by ovfi
McGuire, is correct what you said about the car behavior inside the slipstream, but this has nothing to do with the point raised by my friend


I wasn't addressing your friend's point. I was addressing Trackdog's. You guys are saying very different things though I am sure you don't realize it.

#623 McGuire

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 23:34

Originally posted by TrackDog


That wasn't quite what I meant...as I understood the hypothesis from the aerodynamicist, the situation might have occurred when MacDonald abruptly steered to the left to avoid Hansgen...as he did so, he might have crossed the wake of Hansgen's car. The slipstream of Hansgen's car might have trapped air under Dave's right sidepod, causing enough lift to induce wheelspin. It all depends upon just how sensitive to such forces the Thompson car was...and at 140-150 mph, there could have been enough aero at play to make a difference.


Doesn't matter. If MacDonald crossed though Hansgen's wake, that means he picked up a push along with any other hypothetical aero force you may perceive.

#624 Russ Snyder

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 02:12

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I'm still surprised that no one else has acknoweldged that Swede Savage when off at approximately the same spot and we lost another promising American driver.

Ray Bell, I believe, mentioned Tim Mayer who IMO might have ended up being the best American driver ever.
He certainly was the most charming guy I ever met.


David - Swede was a major fav of mine. As a 10 yr old at the time, I was mesmerized by him and the quest for speed that he and others were going for (over 200mph!!).... he was a true daredevil to me and that 1973 INDY race is another tragedy entirely..*sigh*

Swede's accident was around lap 58 I believe...his Eagle was admittedly running rough at that time, and he suffered a catastrophic loss of something to push him nosefirst in the wall. est speed 190 mph...and if I recall, he was pretty much alone coming out of turn 4.

I was about 1 yr old when the 64 race was run...so....I can only go by my late Dad's words and thoughts when it comes to a pair of eyes on that tragic race day. He always believed the car got loose out of turn 4. what made it get loose is the question that many of us have, and this thread has helped me out.

Thanks again everyone for sharing thoughts about this tragic day in Indy 500 history.

#625 old dirt

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 02:53

Swedes accident happened under different circumstances than Daves. Not long before the 1973 500, Bobby Unser wrote a book rating what he considered the top 100 drivers at that time. Well, he did not include Swede in that list. This upset Swede, and was determined to prove Unser wrong. After a pit stop, Swede was in the lead for several laps with Bobby Unser running him down in 2nd place and gaining ground on Swede quickly. The thought in the garage area back then was Swede would prove to Unser he deserved to be on his top 100 list and was driving too hard to keep Unser from passing him. Also, Swedes car was not handling very good which put him in an awkward situation. Coming off of turn 4 the rear end just stepped out on him and caught when he corrected the slide. That sent Swede nearly head on, front first into the infield wall where Dave hit. Dave struck the wall rear end first. Also, Bobby Unser was close behind Swede at the moment he lost it, and Swede was very aware of that. He was communicating with his pits via radio which they had in 73. Ironically, Swedes rookie orientation instructor was Art Pollard, who also was killed in a practice crash earlier that month in 73. It was not a good year.

#626 MPea3

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 02:58

Originally posted by old dirt
Ok, here we go. In racing, when there is a fatal crash and no definitive explaination as to whether it was caused by mechanical failure or driver error, or no absolute positive proof either way, out of respect for the lost driver(s) and their familys, the reason(s) should always be mechanical failure without any doubts, unless proven otherwise based on definitive fact. I speak as an ex racer here, and i know its hard for the crew chief and car owner to bite the bullet on this issue, but ask any driver (or rider) and chances are they would want the same respect, if only for their family, if it were them. I realize that may be a hard fact to digest for a fan, or casual observer, but its reality as far as the racers go on this subject.Am i saying here that i believe there is no proof, no, but that is just my opinion. So we can theorize on the reasons indefinitely without getting to the real issue of human respect. Both Eddie and Dave would want it that way as well. And both familys also. Just try to understand what takes place on the other side of the fence. Ultimately, they loose much more than the average fan does. Bottom line is, when its a toss up, give the driver the nod, not the blame. Thats my take on the thread with due respect to the members here that may or may not not agree. And i say this not to offend, but to understand. Thanks, Mike


No offense taken or intended, but is there anything other than pure speculation to suggest that there was a mechanical failure? Certainly there's enough speculation to keep the thread going, but much of it seems to be nothing more than mental masturbation. Other than the amount of gas carried, has there been anything else that has been shown to be different than the generally accepted story of the accident?

#627 MPea3

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 03:04

Originally posted by old dirt
Dave struck the wall rear end first.


He did? He certainly was going generally backwards when he hit but in the film it appears that the car is still rotating approaching impact so it seems like either the right front tire or the side of the car is what hit the inside wall first.

#628 Cynic

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:14

Originally posted by MPea3


...Other than the amount of gas carried, has there been anything else that has been shown to be different than the generally accepted story of the accident?


By any supportable evidence? No.

#629 McGuire

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 12:46

Originally posted by old dirt
Ok, here we go. In racing, when there is a fatal crash and no definitive explaination as to whether it was caused by mechanical failure or driver error, or no absolute positive proof either way, out of respect for the lost driver(s) and their familys, the reason(s) should always be mechanical failure without any doubts, unless proven otherwise based on definitive fact.


So when in doubt simply place the blame on the crew? How does that lie result in any good for anyone? What about all those people and their families? :confused:

Also, in the above you are not talking about the MacDonald crash. We have a large pile of evidence that indicates driver error, and no evidence whatsoever of a mechanical failure. A reasonable person would conclude that the primary cause of the crash was driver error. And as a reasonable person that is my conclusion.

#630 McGuire

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 12:59

Originally posted by TrackDog
As for Johnson being nearly 2 mph faster than Dave, I wonder if there mught be a couple of reasons for this...Johnson was much more experienced at Indy then MacDonald; he had a reputation for being able to drive almost anything with wheels and an engine very quickly without a lot of seat time; and maybe there was a little nitro in his fuel...IIRC, the Thompson cars qualified on alcohol...maybe he had a little "pop"; and there's always the subject of driving styles.

I don't think we need to resort to any of these more exotic speculations. Johnson qualified one week later than MacDonald, so we can safely assume Johnson's car was more sorted out by that time. That is invariably the case when team cars qualify on the second weekend, especially with teams struggling with their setup.

#631 McGuire

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 13:16

Originally posted by bobdar
As a longtime viewer of this thread, I appreciate everyone's insights, recollections and emotions with respect to this accident--a truly tragic sequence. Nonetheless, as McGuire has pointed out on a number of occasions, there seems to be a strong tendency to find an extraordinary cause for what appears to be a common initial event: MacDonald has a run on Hansgen coming out of turn 4, and is carving an arc to Walt's left to pass when Walt moves to the left. At this point, MacDonald has to either turn further to the left or lift off the gas, and he may have done both. The rear end gets light and the car begins a lazy spin into the wall. The first few seconds of the video show all of this pretty clearly, and the point has been made before. With any car 'on the edge' coming out of a turn, the driver can't turn more or lift without unintended consequences. It happens.

Not because of an aero problem. Not because of a "rookie mistake". Not because the car was evil. Perhaps Dave was "over-driving", but perhaps Hansgen shouldn't have pulled out.


Exactly. Much has been said about MacDonald's aggresive driving at the start of the race, and maybe so... though many of these statements are of the sort that evince or evoke hyperbole. I tend to take them with at least one grain of salt.

All that said, the mistake or miscalculation that caused the car's tail to step out and led to the spin was not a very large one, and perhaps forced by an unforeseen and rapidly changing track situation... what we call a "racing deal." Mistakes like these, if we should even call them that, happen on race tracks everywhere every day. MacDonald was a brave and talented driver out there doing his job. Can we blame him for that when he has already paid with his life? I don't think so.

#632 HistoricMustang

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 21:00

I think the fact there was a second fatality involved (perhaps an innocent victim?) has a group of us searching for any and all explanations on something other than simple driver error. Blame can be attached to driver error and in a funny way produce personal guilt.

I sometimes feel this guilt and it does effect my emotions and feelings about this particular accident. I am not sure that is good but it does produce a greater desire to explore even deeper. The flow of air around multiple cars is fairly new to the thread and may not have resulted had this "mental masterbation" not taken place by the group here at TNF.

Henry

#633 old dirt

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 22:29

Mcguire post 629 I would not blame anyone period. Most mechanical failures are not due to something the crew or car owner did or did not do. That is a fact. Often however, crew chiefs and car owners will blame the driver for making a mistake when there is a crash. A knee jerk reaction. When the driver is killed, this policy doesnt fly in the racing community. Not when there is no hard evidence to prove it one way or the other. Well then, just blame the car. Keep from blaming humans period. As far as Daves crash is concerned, all i see is a lot of theories along with what someone had said or possibly had seen with no hard evidence to prove driver error, or for that matter, mechanical failure. If there was factual proof as you stated, this thread would have stopped long ago. The reasonable person would know this i think. Sometimes, if a group of people do not agree with one individual, they are labeled unreasonable. In my opinion, that is a sign of immaturity. Mature people will disagree respectfully to each other. Nuff said.

#634 Doug Nye

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 23:31

Slight disconnect involved here, but when it comes to pioneering rear-engined Indy cars I have just come across this illuminating neg from the 1963 '500' - JC in the Lotus-Ford 29...amongst friends.

Size matters? Or were the good ol' boys attempting to intimidate the foreign nancy boy kiddy car pedaller?

Posted Image

Photo copyright: The GP Library

DCN

#635 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 01:57

I'd be intimidated!

#636 TrackDog

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 02:45

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
I think the fact there was a second fatality involved (perhaps an innocent victim?) has a group of us searching for any and all explanations on something other than simple driver error. Blame can be attached to driver error and in a funny way produce personal guilt.

I sometimes feel this guilt and it does effect my emotions and feelings about this particular accident. I am not sure that is good but it does produce a greater desire to explore even deeper. The flow of air around multiple cars is fairly new to the thread and may not have resulted had this "mental masterbation" not taken place by the group here at TNF.

Henry


I feel a twinge of guilt, too...maybe it's because I enjoy racing so much, and others have to risk life and limb so I can get my jollies, as it were. This incident was the first one I ever was really able to take notice of...I was nine years old, and had taken my first trip to the Speedway the year before[still can't believe I got to see the great Jim Clark at work...]; and it never occurred to me that somebody might get killed. It was the Mother Of All Rude Awakenings; and I've found out from this thread just how little I really knew about it.

An incident such as this one brings out both the best and worst of the sport...the tragedy and horror of the crash, and the demonstration of the indominitability of the human spirit that manifested itself in the fact that everybody gathered up and moved on for 500 miles.

And I don't think the "mental masturbation" is such a bad thing...I've learned a lot from all the different angles postulated. And, I don't mind wearing glasses...


Dan

#637 McGuire

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 11:50

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
I think the fact there was a second fatality involved (perhaps an innocent victim?) has a group of us searching for any and all explanations on something other than simple driver error. Blame can be attached to driver error and in a funny way produce personal guilt.


That is not a vehicle dynamics problem. That is a human problem.

You have to stop trying to treat the crash. It's over and done with and cannot ever be changed no matter how you try, so you will never get anywhere. To fix the problem you need to treat yourself, where you can change things. There the potential for change is unlimited. Best of luck. :up:

#638 oldtimer

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 17:21

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Slight disconnect involved here, but when it comes to pioneering rear-engined Indy cars I have just come across this illuminating neg from the 1963 '500' - JC in the Lotus-Ford 29...amongst friends.

Size matters? Or were the good ol' boys attempting to intimidate the foreign nancy boy kiddy car pedaller?

Posted Image

Photo copyright: The GP Library

DCN


Thanks, Doug. What a shot.

OT, but didn't JC have to face other attempts at intimidation at Indianapolis in 1963? Emphasis on 'attempts'.

#639 Bob Riebe

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 19:41

" Blame can be attached a driver error and in a funny way produce personal guilt.

Blame, blaming some one, or anyone for anything, is a way of covering the action with the resultant word justice, when vengence is what is being sought.

Many years ago, I was in a nasty accident after which I woke up three weeks later with an annoying affliction because of the accident, which was not my fault.

My father, who never forgave the driver of the car I was in, put my self-pity to a halt when He very bluntly told me " You have no right to blame anyone but YOURSELF or have SELF PITY for ANYTHING. You chose to get in that car and the instant you made that decision, all blame for what happened to you was the fault of you and you alone".

I have never forgotten that.
Bob

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#640 old dirt

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 20:47

The best way i ever heard it put was at Indy in 1969. The first time Dennis Hulme spoke to Jigger Sirois was on pit lane, he said to Jigger "The bloody car, you cant trust any of them". How true!

#641 HistoricMustang

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 21:16

Originally posted by McGuire


That is not a vehicle dynamics problem. That is a human problem.

You have to stop trying to treat the crash. It's over and done with and cannot ever be changed no matter how you try, so you will never get anywhere. To fix the problem you need to treat yourself, where you can change things. There the potential for change is unlimited. Best of luck. :up:


Thanks so much!

Today at work the word "environment" suddenly materialized in my brain.

From laps experienced in a personal manner can this thread simply boil down to:

Driver - Mechanical - Environmental

As expressed many times here we will not be able to say 100% Driver error not 100% Mechanical failure, but how does this Environmental factor involving multiple car air flow, car design (or lack there of in this case) figure into what took place? Can this be an area, through wind tunnel testing, that would negate Driver and Mechanical errors? Or, does this simply bring forth a view that Environment factors should be the responsibility of the Driver?

One other thought today while it was slow at work......................had MacDonald discovered a different driving lane, much as Andretti did at Daytona in 1967?

http://blogs.thatsra...me_andrett.html

Henry

#642 MPea3

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 23:44

While he certainly hadn't experienced the same sort of environment that the 1st 2 laps at Indy produced, hadn't Dave driven the car in traffic situations, around and behind other cars, in practice? Regardless of the answer, I do think that it's the driver who is ultimately responsible for the decisions to keep himself and his competitors safe, regardless of how circumstances change. Certainly this isn't always possible successfully...

Along those lines, I'm thinking of the death of Robby Stanley at Winchester. His parents both told me of how they stood on top of their motorhome and watched him on successive laps, the car bottoming with an obvious mechanical problem, and the problem growing worse each lap as Robby struggled to control the car each time by. When he was no longer able to, spun and got T boned, poor Ron and Rita had to watch him burn right in front of them. Mechanical problem? Without a doubt. Driver error in trying to drive through the problem? Certainly the decision he made to push on resulted in his death.

One has to admire the tiger in a hard charger, but it comes with a risk.

#643 bobdar

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:49

Trackdog said:

An incident such as this one brings out both the best and worst of the sport...the tragedy and horror of the crash, and the demonstration of the indominitability of the human spirit that manifested itself in the fact that everybody gathered up and moved on for 500 miles.

At any level, a lot of drivers say a prayer on the grid. Thy will be done .

#644 McGuire

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 13:06

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Thanks so much!

Today at work the word "environment" suddenly materialized in my brain.

From laps experienced in a personal manner can this thread simply boil down to:

Driver - Mechanical - Environmental

As expressed many times here we will not be able to say 100% Driver error not 100% Mechanical failure, but how does this Environmental factor involving multiple car air flow, car design (or lack there of in this case) figure into what took place? Can this be an area, through wind tunnel testing, that would negate Driver and Mechanical errors? Or, does this simply bring forth a view that Environment factors should be the responsibility of the Driver?

One other thought today while it was slow at work......................had MacDonald discovered a different driving lane, much as Andretti did at Daytona in 1967?

http://blogs.thatsra...me_andrett.html

Henry


1. Failure to deal with prevailing conditions is absolutely driver error.

2. If MacDonald invented a new "driving lane" it was a really bad one as it put him in the wall. That would be a driver error.

#645 McGuire

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 13:15

Originally posted by old dirt
Mcguire post 629 I would not blame anyone period. Most mechanical failures are not due to something the crew or car owner did or did not do. That is a fact.


No, that is not a fact. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as "mechanical failure." Every component failure without exception can be traced to a human mistake, oversight, or miscalculation. A race car part is just a dumb, insentient object. It cannot fail except or until the laws of physics and mechanics command it to, and when that point arrives it must and will fail. Parts do not fail, people do.

#646 McGuire

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 13:38

Originally posted by old dirt
As far as Daves crash is concerned, all i see is a lot of theories along with what someone had said or possibly had seen with no hard evidence to prove driver error, or for that matter, mechanical failure. If there was factual proof as you stated, this thread would have stopped long ago. The reasonable person would know this i think. Sometimes, if a group of people do not agree with one individual, they are labeled unreasonable. In my opinion, that is a sign of immaturity. Mature people will disagree respectfully to each other. Nuff said.


That people may advance contrary theories is no proof that the theories have any value.

#647 Jim Thurman

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 18:16

Originally posted by MPea3

Along those lines, I'm thinking of the death of Robby Stanley at Winchester. His parents both told me of how they stood on top of their motorhome and watched him on successive laps, the car bottoming with an obvious mechanical problem, and the problem growing worse each lap as Robby struggled to control the car each time by. When he was no longer able to, spun and got T boned, poor Ron and Rita had to watch him burn right in front of them. Mechanical problem? Without a doubt. Driver error in trying to drive through the problem? Certainly the decision he made to push on resulted in his death.

One has to admire the tiger in a hard charger, but it comes with a risk.


Not to pull this thread away from it's specifics, but in mentioning Robbie Stanley's accident, I must mention how the poor driver who crashed into Robbie was blamed and a great deal of vilification and abuse was heaped on him.

Now, that's truly the worst of the sport.

The same thing happened with Rich Vogler's crash. A driver was blamed for causing his crash, and curiously enough, that driver was also an "outsider" and also from Florida.

For some reason, with drivers that featured prominently in ESPN's eyes, this happened. That and ugly rumor mongering.

#648 McGuire

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 19:50

Originally posted by Jim Thurman


Not to pull this thread away from it's specifics, but in mentioning Robbie Stanley's accident, I must mention how the poor driver who crashed into Robbie was blamed and a great deal of vilification and abuse was heaped on him.

Now, that's truly the worst of the sport.

The same thing happened with Rich Vogler's crash. A driver was blamed for causing his crash, and curiously enough, that driver was also an "outsider" and also from Florida.

For some reason, with drivers that featured prominently in ESPN's eyes, this happened. That and ugly rumor mongering.


I hate that stuff. Drivers and crew people are sometimes the worst offenders, which especially baffles me. They should know the score as well as anyone.

#649 old dirt

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 00:34

STRICTKLY SPEAKING, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "MECHANICAL FAILURE" I think if that is the case we better go back in all of history and rewrite the record books then. Very reasonable statement for sure. ?

#650 McGuire

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 02:25

Originally posted by old dirt
STRICTKLY SPEAKING, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "MECHANICAL FAILURE" I think if that is the case we better go back in all of history and rewrite the record books then. Very reasonable statement for sure. ?


You need to read my post all the way through. The point, which will be obvious to anyone, was that all component failures can be traced to human hands. Humans designed, built, installed, maintained, and inspected the components. That means that when a part fails, somebody somewhere dropped the ball. Thus any parts failure is in reality a human failure. Parts cannot and do not fail of their own volition or for no reason. Parts always fail exactly when they are supposed to, and only when they are supposed to -- another statement that will no doubt go over folks' heads unless they stop and study it for a moment.

All this is important in light of your suggestion that whenever doubt is perceived as to the cause of an accident, we should simply throw the blame over to mechanical failure. That is unacceptable. Quality racing organizations take mechanical failures very seriously. When a mechanical failure takes place, their mission is to find the cause and correct it. You propose sending them on wild goose chases, as well as placing blame where responsibility does not lie.

How about we propose that whenever an airliner crashes and any ambiguity arises as to its cause, we attribute it to "mechanical failure" to spare the feelings of the pilot and his family. That ok with you?