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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#1051 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:11

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
Hi Henri,

What I was attempting to say is that would it be possible for an engine to be lighter but have a higher center of gravity?

In other words, could the 1964 Ford Indy set up be lighter than the previous Chevrolet or Buick but still have a higher center of gravity creating more roll over possibly producing unknown suspension and body flex and bind?

Hopefully, this makes sense.

Henry


Henry,

My instincts on matters like this, seeing an DOHC Ford Quadcam and a BuickChevy in pictures etc, I would say that it must be possible. The Ford has much more hardware mounted above the crankcase/cylinderblock.
In fact, the example I listed about the 1994 Penske comes close to the approval that it is indeed possible. The weight difference between Mercedes 500I and IlmorD was minimal. But the Mercedes had the higher CG, enough difference in CG heights to be a point of concern and allegedly a factor within the track behaviour of the car.
And if the 500I was indeed the lighter of the two: then you have the approval beyond doubt.

Henri

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#1052 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:34

Originally posted by TrackDog



From Rick Popely's book, INDIANAPOLIS 500 Chronicle...
Clark's first spin occured on lap 64, and he spun again on lap 82. The first spin was in turn 4 and the second was in turn 3. The second spin was more spectacular, with 3 complete revolutions. Was the track that oily?

Whatever the reason, to spin twice and finish the race less than half-a-mile-per-hour slower than the winner is no small feat.

My DVD INDIANAPOLIS 500 THE LEGACY SERIES includes a feature on Clark, Hill and Stewart...in it Stewart says that he was sure that Hill and Clark would agree with him that none of the three of them ever really drove very well at Indy, their success was manly due to their familiarity with the cars. Clark's performance in 1966[and the other years he was able to race there] would lead me to believe otherwise; in his case, anyway.


Dan


Dan

I'm just guessing here.... but I wonder how many damamged car's got back out there after the intial crash...

and then how many of those may have dropped oil on the track after returning.

Oil dropping/leaking is nothing new...so it would not surprise me at all.

I will buy a copy of the 1966 and see for myself what the Dynamic film offers....I will also be getting a copy of the 1971 race eventually. The oil dropping during that one is legendary, I am speaking about the Mel Kenyon,Andretti, Johncock and more, melee.

#1053 McGuire

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 16:29

As a point of information: According to SAE paper #640252 (1964) issued by the Ford Motor Co., the 1963 Ford Indy pushrod engine weighed 360 lbs dry, while the 1964 DOHC version weighed 400 lbs dry. Since the blocks and bottom ends of these two engines were virtually identical, I believe we can assume that the additional 40 lbs was primarily at the top of the engine, in the cylinder heads and camshaft drive.

So the weight of the Ford DOHC engine was very similar to that of a small-block Chevy with aluminum block and heads (certainly within 10 or 15 lbs) but with perhaps a slightly higher center of mass.

I think perhaps a larger consideration might be the DOHC Ford's greater width vs. a small-block Chevy, which might require relocation or modification of some tubes in the Thompson special's space frame.

#1054 Bob Riebe

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 17:51

From the page listed above, and everything I have ever read, a small block Chevy, when both engines are constructed of similar material, is (or was back then) apprx. 100lbs. heavier that a Ford small block; therefore a alloy Chevy should have weighed in at about 460lbs.
As a cast iron Chevy is listed at 575 lbs. and a ZL-1 was quoted as being 20lbs. lighter, at 550lbs., than a ferrous small-block, 460lbs. could be a bit on the light side, but either way the SB Chevy is at least 50lbs. heavier than a SB Ford.

#1055 McGuire

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:31

Originally posted by Bob Riebe
From the page listed above, and everything I have ever read, a small block Chevy, when both engines are constructed of similar material, is (or was back then) apprx. 100lbs. heavier that a Ford small block; therefore a alloy Chevy should have weighed in at about 460lbs.
As a cast iron Chevy is listed at 575 lbs. and a ZL-1 was quoted as being 20lbs. lighter, at 550lbs., than a ferrous small-block, 460lbs. could be a bit on the light side, but either way the SB Chevy is at least 50lbs. heavier than a SB Ford.


A circa-1970 ZL1 weighs more than 550 lbs, of that I am certain.

Quoting and comparing engine weights is always fraught due to differences in dress. Does the figure include the starter, flywheel, generator/alternator, water pump, air cleaner, exhaust manifolds, etc? There's easily 100+ lbs right there. Also, all the above, some, or none? And *which* flywheel? Which starter? Also, when comparing weights we need to know what year. A 1955 Chevy V8 weighs 560 lbs in production dress, but by 1985 it was well under 500 lbs due to lighter block and head castings, tubular manifolds, aluminum intake etc.

Would you believe that a ZZ4 350 crate engine is actually lighter than an all-aluminum 2008 LS7? True, as I recently learned. The dry sump system and EFI harness and components add weight. Meanwhile, SBC iron block castings are considerably lighter than they used to be.

There are lists circulating the Internet and elsewhere purporting to show the weights of various popular engines. Some of the numbers look very dubious to me. All sorts of numbers from all sorts of sources with all sorts of purposes on one list.

In my view, a 1963-style aluminum SBC as used by Thompson would weigh in the neighborhood of 400 lbs, right in the range claimed by Ford for the DOHC Indy V8. Their weights would be very similar IMO.

#1056 TrackDog

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 15:01

What about differences in torque and horsepower between the Chevy and the Ford engines and any impact this might have on chassis flex and suspension geometry? And if the wider Ford engine did in fact necessitate relocation of some chassis tubes, would this be a factor in determining the car's handling characteristics?

And, if the chassis was flexing, wouldn't the luel bladder do the same?


Dan

#1057 Bob Riebe

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 16:40

Originally posted by McGuire


A circa-1970 ZL1 weighs more than 550 lbs, of that I am certain.

Quoting and comparing engine weights is always fraught due to differences in dress. Does the figure include the starter, flywheel, generator/alternator, water pump, air cleaner, exhaust manifolds, etc? There's easily 100+ lbs right there. Also, all the above, some, or none? And *which* flywheel? Which starter? Also, when comparing weights we need to know what year. A 1955 Chevy V8 weighs 560 lbs in production dress, but by 1985 it was well under 500 lbs due to lighter block and head castings, tubular manifolds, aluminum intake etc.

Would you believe that a ZZ4 350 crate engine is actually lighter than an all-aluminum 2008 LS7? True, as I recently learned. The dry sump system and EFI harness and components add weight. Meanwhile, SBC iron block castings are considerably lighter than they used to be.

There are lists circulating the Internet and elsewhere purporting to show the weights of various popular engines. Some of the numbers look very dubious to me. All sorts of numbers from all sorts of sources with all sorts of purposes on one list.

In my view, a 1963-style aluminum SBC as used by Thompson would weigh in the neighborhood of 400 lbs, right in the range claimed by Ford for the DOHC Indy V8. Their weights would be very similar IMO.


Correction

Chevy small block V8 575 (generic for '60s-'70s motors)
Chevy small block V8 535 (1) ('59 Corvette 283 w/alum. intake)
Chevy small block LS1 460 (185)
Chevy 5.7 industrial V8 434 (182) '99 iron long block w/water pump only
Chevy LT-5 DOHC 5.7 600 (122)
Chevy L98 5.7 V8 600 (122)
Chevy V8 348/409 620 (1)
Chevy V8 348/408 655 (83)
Chevy big block V8 685 Mark IV
Chevy big block V8 --- Mark V
Chevy 454 675 (10)
Chevy 7.4L V8 656 (183) iron, no intake, exh, carb, starter
Chevy 427 ZL-1 550 (35) all-aluminum, "20# lighter than SB"
Chevy 6.5L Diesel V8 644 (183)
Chevy 400 SB 470 (235) aluminum heads and intake, no acc. or wp
Chevy 396 BB 610 (235) iron heads, alum. wp and intake, no acc.

Now you are correct, there is no source that simply gives weight of block and heads, sadly, but the 550lbs. is the number I first heard (I can still see the picture in my mind that came with the article, if only my memory were that good with everythng) thirty eight years ago.

Along with it was it was 125 pounds lighter than the iron version and I remember 25, not twenty pounds ligher than a ferrous SB.

In an odd note, the new Pop. Hot Rodding has an article on Detroit crate engines and bare parts, if desired.
I bought the mag as the numbers I gave did not seem right and were not.
The heads and block are Dart but:
The iron SB chevy is apprx. 50lbs. heavier, bare block and heads, than the iron SB Ford.
But in the aluminum versions the difference is closer to ten pounds.
This does not transfer directly to forty some years ago as there are various after markent blocks and heads that differ greatly in weight due to application they are aiming at nowadays.
Bob

#1058 HistoricMustang

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 21:35

Originally posted by TrackDog
What about differences in torque and horsepower between the Chevy and the Ford engines and any impact this might have on chassis flex and suspension geometry? And if the wider Ford engine did in fact necessitate relocation of some chassis tubes, would this be a factor in determining the car's handling characteristics?

And, if the chassis was flexing, wouldn't the luel bladder do the same?


Dan


And/Or, unexpected binding of suspension parts..............................

Henry

#1059 McGuire

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:16

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


And/Or, unexpected binding of suspension parts..............................

Henry


I wouldn't think so. That would be caused by the suspension links themselves distorting, or their mounts. Since this was a reasonably incremental power increase I wouldn't presume this to be the case.

We are back to the biggest change effected in the car between '63 and '63, the taller tires, which altered the ride height approximately 1.5 inches.

Again, I have to presume that by race day MacDonald had a reasonably good-handling car -- or at least thought he did, judging by the pace he set. If he had an unpredictable car under him, MacDonald chose an unusual way to approach the problem. If the car was as bad as some have suggested, one would think MacDonald would have fallen back in the early laps, or at least held his position.

Nor does the crash itself give any indication that the car had any particular handling problems. The car didn't snap or jump out on him; it simply did a slow, lazy spin. By all appearances he just came off the corner a little hot.

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#1060 McGuire

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:40

Originally posted by TrackDog

And, if the chassis was flexing, wouldn't the luel bladder do the same?


Dan



Speaking solely with the benefit of hindsight, I believe the fuel bladder was insufficiently reinforced, and insufficiently supported in the chassis.

It would appear that on the car's initial contact with the inside wall, the bladder ruptured due to inertia. The rght side of the car struck the wall while the fuel bladder was mounted on the left side, and yet it still ruptured, throwing a sheet of fuel into the air. (Rather like placing a water balloon inside a wooden box and throwing it from the roof. The balloon will still break.) And of course this fine sheet of fuel instantly ignited, producing such an efficient burn rate that many described it as an "explosion."

I believe Mickey Thompson was quoted as saying that if the fuel bladder had been less than full, it would not have failed in that manner. He is probably correct. At say 3/4 full, the fuel could have sloshed around without rupturing the bladder.

Again, I am speaking with the benefit of decades of hindsight. At the time, no one thought this fuel system layout was the least bit remarkable, let alone dangerous. It was approved in technical inspection in both 1963 and 1964.

#1061 Flat Black

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 14:02

Originally posted by McGuire


Again, I am speaking with the benefit of decades of hindsight. At the time, no one thought this fuel system layout was the least bit remarkable, let alone dangerous. It was approved in technical inspection in both 1963 and 1964.


I suspect standards for what constituted "dangerous" were considerably lower than they are today. Or somewhat differently, I imagine the stewards let far more slide, even stuff they considered dangerous, than they would today.

#1062 McGuire

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 14:43

Originally posted by Flat Black


I suspect standards for what constituted "dangerous" were considerably lower than they are today. Or somewhat differently, I imagine the stewards let far more slide, even stuff they considered dangerous, than they would today.


Sure. The sport was not obsessed with safety as it is today.

But IMO the advances in safety have come primarly from increased knowledge, while the increased focus on safety is the secondary influence. The 1964 crash caused a huge uproar in the sport, but the safety advances that resulted were of limited effectiveness. They did about the best they could with the knowledge base they had, which was astonishingly small by modern standards. Contrast that with the Senna and Earnhardt crashes, where the desire to improve safety was finally met with the technical capability to take significant steps.

Until relatively recently, racing's historically fatalistic approach to death and injury was largely justified. Today we wildly overestimate their capability to do anything about it. So we ask, "How could they be so blind and callous to safety?"

I don't believe the technical inspectors back then were more liable to let things slide that they knew to be unsafe. Their knowledge was so profoundly limited that it would be hard to know when that ever occurred. There is certainly no reason to believe it occurred here. With the benefit of hindsight it is all too easy to criticize.

An observation.... there is not one bit of technology in the SAFER barrier itself that did not exist decades ago. It's just some pieces of plastic foam and mild steel. The advance resulted from the ability to precisely quantify how a crash works, which did not exist until the introduction of crash data recorders.

#1063 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 15:04

Bill, this is probably one of the few things stated during the course of this thread that should make people at least hesitate for a moment before indulging in any further anachronous thinking.

#1064 Flat Black

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 15:47

McGuire,

I certainly don't disagree with you entirely. Or perhaps even in the main. But I do think it is a bit naive to believe that American society has not become ever more obsessed with safety (or its close concomitant, health). And it is entirely logical that this development should intrude upon auto racing.

Would the chief steward at the 2009 Indy 500 allow Danica Patrick to continue leading the race if she were obviously putting a stream of oil on the track as Fengler did with Parnelli in '63? I don't believe he would, despite the immense pressure to facilitate Patrick's giant leap for the world's oppressed.

#1065 HistoricMustang

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 20:04

Originally posted by McGuire

It would appear that on the car's initial contact with the inside wall, the bladder ruptured due to inertia. The rght side of the car struck the wall while the fuel bladder was mounted on the left side, and yet it still ruptured, throwing a sheet of fuel into the air. (Rather like placing a water balloon inside a wooden box and throwing it from the roof. The balloon will still break.) And of course this fine sheet of fuel instantly ignited, producing such an efficient burn rate that many described it as an "explosion."


A little different version was touched on in The Alternate article that was posted earlier.

Perhaps the "pop open fuel latch" was dislodged upon impact with the wall and with the bladder not being secured within the frame work fuel was pushed out of the opening. The amount ejected may have increased in size if the neck of the bladder had also been damaged. The actual massive rupture could have occured with the second impact.

Henry

#1066 Buford

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 20:40

Originally posted by McGuire


Sure. The sport was not obsessed with safety as it is today.

But IMO the advances in safety have come primarly from increased knowledge, while the increased focus on safety is the secondary influence. The 1964 crash caused a huge uproar in the sport, but the safety advances that resulted were of limited effectiveness. They did about the best they could with the knowledge base they had, which was astonishingly small by modern standards. Contrast that with the Senna and Earnhardt crashes, where the desire to improve safety was finally met with the technical capability to take significant steps.

Until relatively recently, racing's historically fatalistic approach to death and injury was largely justified. Today we wildly overestimate their capability to do anything about it. So we ask, "How could they be so blind and callous to safety?"

I don't believe the technical inspectors back then were more liable to let things slide that they knew to be unsafe. Their knowledge was so profoundly limited that it would be hard to know when that ever occurred. There is certainly no reason to believe it occurred here. With the benefit of hindsight it is all too easy to criticize.

An observation.... there is not one bit of technology in the SAFER barrier itself that did not exist decades ago. It's just some pieces of plastic foam and mild steel. The advance resulted from the ability to precisely quantify how a crash works, which did not exist until the introduction of crash data recorders.


While I agree with this assessment that they really didn't know any better, and it is true that we knew more about vehicle dynamics in the amateur ranks by the late 1970s than the top professionals had known a decade before, I might add there also was something of a "I don't want to hear about it" mentality in USAC when it came to safety. And USAC was by far the most safety conscious sanctioning organization of them all yet they still had a a see no evil speak no evil attitude when it came to obvious safety deficiencies at the tracks. They simply didn't want to hear about it with their board track racer mentalities nobody could tell them anything. Anything that would cost money to fix anyway.

When I was in college in the late 1960s I used to write for USAC News. For a couple of years they had a rather nice racing weekly newspaper that looked a lot like National Speed Sport News and was edited by yearbook publisher Carl Hungness. I wrote driver profiles and little tidbit observations that were in a "Seen at the Track" feature. Being a gung ho college student and going to a lot of races, I was often appalled at some of the things I saw in the area of safety and I was sure that other knowledgeable fans could spot obvious safety deficiencies also. So I offered to manage a survey where fans and USAC members could write in and note things they had seen at the tracks that were unsafe and should be changed. I would compile the results and print it in USAC News for the good of the sport of course. Perhaps we could save some serious injuries or even a life I thought.

This "great idea" was met with complete and total refusal. They said that was politics and they had no interest in it. In other words they weren't about to tell the tracks to spend money to fix things. That is the way it was in the 1960s. Nobody was making enough money to make it safe. Funerals weren't really all that expensive.

#1067 McGuire

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 21:08

Originally posted by Flat Black
McGuire,

I certainly don't disagree with you entirely. Or perhaps even in the main. But I do think it is a bit naive to believe that American society has not become ever more obsessed with safety (or its close concomitant, health). And it is entirely logical that this development should intrude upon auto racing.


That's just what I said. Please go back and read the first line of my post.

However, while we would like to credit our more highly evolved morals (ha) for all the safety improvements in racing today, to me that is a naive view. The real advances are primarily due to improvements in technology. It's easy to effect positive change when you have the tools, but when you don't have the tools it is generally impossible. At some point somebody actually has to do something, and it actually needs to work. Simply caring is not nearly enough.

That is why I tend to despise safety discussions on message boards, especially those that instantly (and predictably) sprout up just after a tragedy on the track. They typically begin by claiming a position of moral superiority over the authorities viewed as responsible for the event. In all the world is there anything cheaper than talk?

#1068 McGuire

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 21:12

Originally posted by Buford


While I agree with this assessment that they really didn't know any better, and it is true that we knew more about vehicle dynamics in the amateur ranks by the late 1970s than the top professionals had known a decade before, I might add there also was something of a "I don't want to hear about it" mentality in USAC when it came to safety. And USAC was by far the most safety conscious sanctioning organization of them all yet they still had a a see no evil speak no evil attitude when it came to obvious safety deficiencies at the tracks. They simply didn't want to hear about it with their board track racer mentalities nobody could tell them anything. Anything that would cost money to fix anyway.

When I was in college in the late 1960s I used to write for USAC News. For a couple of years they had a rather nice racing weekly newspaper that looked a lot like National Speed Sport News and was edited by yearbook publisher Carl Hungness. I wrote driver profiles and little tidbit observations that were in a "Seen at the Track" feature. Being a gung ho college student and going to a lot of races, I was often appalled at some of the things I saw in the area of safety and I was sure that other knowledgeable fans could spot obvious safety deficiencies also. So I offered to manage a survey where fans and USAC members could write in and note things they had seen at the tracks that were unsafe and should be changed. I would compile the results and print it in USAC News for the good of the sport of course. Perhaps we could save some serious injuries or even a life I thought.

This "great idea" was met with complete and total refusal. They said that was politics and they had no interest in it. In other words they weren't about to tell the tracks to spend money to fix things. That is the way it was in the 1960s. Nobody was making enough money to make it safe. Funerals weren't really all that expensive.


I can't disagree with anything you say. The key word is money. Money = technology and resources. When racing couldn't afford safety, technical progress was slow. When the money came so did the wherewithal to improve safety. Safety is good business.

#1069 fines

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 22:14

Originally posted by Flat Black
Would the chief steward at the 2009 Indy 500 allow Danica Patrick to continue leading the race if she were obviously putting a stream of oil on the track as Fengler did with Parnelli in '63? I don't believe he would, despite the immense pressure to facilitate Patrick's giant leap for the world's oppressed.

I do understand and sympathise with your views, but perhaps you're not giving enough credit: today's chief stewards have a gazillion monitors to chose from, enabling them to observe every millimeter of track surface, and more. Fengler had a binocular, and a couple of seconds to look at the car every other minute. Also, the oil spray was diminishing from lap to lap, now go and make a decision that will cost a fortune for the guy next to you, whose blood pressure is nearing boiling point. It's up to you alone, with half a million eyes fixed upon you... :)

#1070 Bob Riebe

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 22:39

Originally posted by Flat Black


I suspect standards for what constituted "dangerous" were considerably lower than they are today. Or somewhat differently, I imagine the stewards let far more slide, even stuff they considered dangerous, than they would today.

Do not EVER forget in a matter of less than fiftey years we had come out of WW I, WW II, and Korea with x million dead people world wide and x thousand here in the US, death was NOT CONSIDERED abnormal, but was part of life.

My parents attitude toward death would seem absolutely horrendously calloused by todays standards.

Bob

#1071 Flat Black

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 23:33

McGuire,

I don't consider our cossetted society morally superior. While its attitudes may save a life or two, they also reduce our freedoms dramatically and infantilize all of us. That said, and as Bob just noted, our attitudes toward death and danger are today far more affronted than they were in the old days.

Now Michael has partially shot down the Fengler/Parnelli example, as I knew he would. :lol: So let's try a few more. The 1919 Indy 500 where LeCocq and Bandini burned to death as the race went on its not so merry way. Or perhaps the O'Conner fatality where Elisian was chastised by the car owner for pulling over and trying to save his friend and idol. Or the story from the Autosport front page where some GP outfit is appalled by a few injuries and wants to reduce cornering speed. Or even the crash that serves as the raison d'etre of this thread. Would a modern 500 even continue if, God forbid, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay were burned alive on the front stretch?

I submit that in all the examples cited above, the response of the Powers today would be drastically different than in ye olden tymes, and it is because of altered mores far more than improved technology and the money that makes it possible.

#1072 TrackDog

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 00:16

Originally posted by Flat Black
McGuire,

I don't consider our cossetted society morally superior. While its attitudes may save a life or two, they also reduce our freedoms dramatically and infantilize all of us. That said, and as Bob just noted, our attitudes toward death and danger are today far more affronted than they were in the old days.

Now Michael has partially shot down the Fengler/Parnelli example, as I knew he would. :lol: So let's try a few more. The 1919 Indy 500 where LeCocq and Bandini burned to death as the race went on its not so merry way. Or perhaps the O'Conner fatality where Elisian was chastised by the car owner for pulling over and trying to save his friend and idol. Or the story from the Autosport front page where some GP outfit is appalled by a few injuries and wants to reduce cornering speed. Or even the crash that serves as the raison d'etre of this thread. Would a modern 500 even continue if, God forbid, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay were burned alive on the front stretch?

I submit that in all the examples cited above, the response of the Powers today would be drastically different than in ye olden tymes, and it is because of altered mores far more than improved technology and the money that makes it possible.



I think a possible reason for a shift toward a more cosseted society today is the advent of television...a significantly larger portion of the American public owned television sets in the mid 1960's than in years past, and everybody was watching the news and saw the crash footage.

For the first time, children could see horrible things happenning without their parents in the room with them. The world was becoming much smaller and much more violent at the same time. Viet Nam, Selma, Birmingham...and Indy; all horrible, all just a glance away. Parents became more protective, and the values stuck with us...

As for the attitude of racing fans towaerd stopping a race after a tragedy, I can only offer my own experience. In the late 1980's I was attending a NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway when , during a late-race caution, the whole field came into the pits. In the hectic and crowded moments that followed, a crewman spilled fuel just as the can was about to touch the receptacle on the car; and also at that precise moment, a ball of flame from a cracked exhaust header ignited the raw fuel. The catch can man was engulfed in flames, his left arm ablaze, with flames licking at the side of his face. He wasn't wearing a firesuit, because thay weren't mandatory. We were all screaming in the main grandstand, "...He's on fire! He's on fire!"...but it took an agonizingly long time to put out the flames around the car and then reach the crewman. I'll never forget the sight of him running around the pit, trying to get attention and all the time burning, possibly to death. After the race, nobody said very much, but we were all sick to our stomachs. It was a horrible sight, and we all felt guilty for supporting such an activity that could end up in a tragedy such as the one we witnessed, or maybe even worse. Buit none of us even considered leaving the track early...nobody said, "I'll never come back...". We all felt even closer to the sport after all was said and done.

Dan

#1073 Henri Greuter

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:00

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Bob Riebe
From the page listed above, and everything I have ever read, a small block Chevy, when both engines are constructed of similar material, is (or was back then) apprx. 100lbs. heavier that a Ford small block; therefore a alloy Chevy should have weighed in at about 460lbs.
As a cast iron Chevy is listed at 575 lbs. and a ZL-1 was quoted as being 20lbs. lighter, at 550lbs., than a ferrous small-block, 460lbs. could be a bit on the light side, but either way the SB Chevy is at least 50lbs. heavier than a SB Ford.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Originally posted by McGuire


A circa-1970 ZL1 weighs more than 550 lbs, of that I am certain.

Quoting and comparing engine weights is always fraught due to differences in dress. Does the figure include the starter, flywheel, generator/alternator, water pump, air cleaner, exhaust manifolds, etc? There's easily 100+ lbs right there. Also, all the above, some, or none? And *which* flywheel? Which starter? Also, when comparing weights we need to know what year. A 1955 Chevy V8 weighs 560 lbs in production dress, but by 1985 it was well under 500 lbs due to lighter block and head castings, tubular manifolds, aluminum intake etc.

Would you believe that a ZZ4 350 crate engine is actually lighter than an all-aluminum 2008 LS7? True, as I recently learned. The dry sump system and EFI harness and components add weight. Meanwhile, SBC iron block castings are considerably lighter than they used to be.

There are lists circulating the Internet and elsewhere purporting to show the weights of various popular engines. Some of the numbers look very dubious to me. All sorts of numbers from all sorts of sources with all sorts of purposes on one list.

In my view, a 1963-style aluminum SBC as used by Thompson would weigh in the neighborhood of 400 lbs, right in the range claimed by Ford for the DOHC Indy V8. Their weights would be very similar IMO.



Bob, McGuire,

Thanks for filling in the details and weights.
I've looked in my own library for data but haven't found anything on the engine weight of the 1962 and 1963 Thompson's.
Didn't Thompson use aluminum versions of the engines? His cars were so light that I can't imagine that he used a near 500 lbs engine and still got such a lightweight car.
But I can get along with the conclusion that the engine weight between the different engines was much less of a factor that I believed it to be. Leaves only some thoughts about the GC's and their efffects.
My thanks to you gentlemen.

Henri

#1074 Henri Greuter

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 07:23

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


Henry,

My instincts on matters like this, seeing an DOHC Ford Quadcam and a BuickChevy in pictures etc, I would say that it must be possible. The Ford has much more hardware mounted above the crankcase/cylinderblock.
In fact, the example I listed about the 1994 Penske comes close to the approval that it is indeed possible. The weight difference between Mercedes 500I and IlmorD was minimal. But the Mercedes had the higher CG, enough difference in CG heights to be a point of concern and allegedly a factor within the track behaviour of the car.
And if the 500I was indeed the lighter of the two: then you have the approval beyond doubt.

Henri



I did find some data on the two 1994 Ilmor engines used by Penske, published in the book "Prime Movers" by our fellow member Karl Ludvigsen.

1994 IlmorD (2.65 L quadcam), LxBxH 561x555x566 mm, weight: 273.4 pounds or 124.0 kgs.
1994 IlmorE (3.4 L M-B 500I) , LxBxH 561x510x654 mm, weight: 273.4 pounds or 123 kgs

Mind you, I have reproduced these from the book, so I can't help the fact that both engines were listed to weight the same in pounds, but different in kgs.

Seems that I still can't answer the fact that a lighter, comparable size engine can have a higher GC beyond doubts after all.

Henri

#1075 McGuire

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 14:12

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


Didn't Thompson use aluminum versions of the engines?
Henri


Yes -- according to contemporary reports, they were from the same batch of blocks and heads cast for the Corvette Grand Sport program.

By all appearances, these parts were cast on the (iron) standard production tooling. This was typically done by hand-scraping the sand cores to give the casting a thicker cross-section in the appropriate areas, which is required due to aluminum's lower strength.

This approach will generally produce a casting that is lighter and weaker than a standard iron component, while heavier and weaker than components produced from patterns designed for casting in aluminum. So I would expect these parts to be somewhat heavier than the brand-new aluminum blocks and heads for the SBC that are available today. And also of relatively poor quality and durability by today's standards.

#1076 McGuire

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 14:23

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



I did find some data on the two 1994 Ilmor engines used by Penske, published in the book "Prime Movers" by our fellow member Karl Ludvigsen.

1994 IlmorD (2.65 L quadcam), LxBxH 561x555x566 mm, weight: 273.4 pounds or 124.0 kgs.
1994 IlmorE (3.4 L M-B 500I) , LxBxH 561x510x654 mm, weight: 273.4 pounds or 123 kgs

Mind you, I have reproduced these from the book, so I can't help the fact that both engines were listed to weight the same in pounds, but different in kgs.

Seems that I still can't answer the fact that a lighter, comparable size engine can have a higher GC beyond doubts after all.

Henri


If the two engines are of identical (or nearly identical) weight and overall dimensions, I would expect the pushrod version to have a lower center of mass. It has one camshaft low in the block while the D engine has four camshafts atop the cylinder heads. Also, the pushrod version has 16 valves, springs, followers, etc, while the D engine has 32 of everything in the valvetrain department. Finally, the pushrod engine has a 3.4 liter bottom end/reciprocating assembly, while the D engine's is 2.65 liters.

It hardly seems possible that the pushrod engine would have a higher CG. That the two engines are of very similar weight suggests that the more elaborate valvetrain gear of the D engine is very closely offset by the 500I engine's larger reciprocating assembly. Since the valvetrain goes at the top of the engine while the reciprocating assembly goes at the bottom, ergo: the pushrod engine would have more mass at the bottom.

#1077 ZOOOM

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 01:55

Hi guys.... It's me again...
i just had a thought (i know...) about the accident again...
McDonald was a pretty savey driver. He was used to hanging the back end out, throughout his career. We really havn't talked about the TIRES....
The car was said to be an evil handling bitch from the start.
The team had practised several times with the tank (singular) full...
After weeks of practise, the car seemed to be acceptable to McDonald.
Lots of cars in those days had pecularities...
What we havn't discussed, thoroughly.... were the tires...
Goodyear (not withstanding the Brickyard this year) had several years of experience with racing tires.
Ditto for Firestone (of course).
The new guys on the block were Allstate. They had NEVER ( to my recollection) been racing before.
How could a company that had never before been in racing, come upwith a tire good enough for the 500 miles of Indy?
What's the hook?
In practise, the drivers would warm up the tires for two or three laps before they really pressed them.
McDonald had one or two slow laps before he really got on the throttle at the start.
Were the tires warm enough?
Had they taken a "set" for the race?
Did the right rear give out just when Dave "leaned on it" on the second lap comming out of four?

Was the cause of the whole accident, the "newness" of the AllState tires?
The cars had been around for three years.
Mickey Thompson was excentric but a pretty proven engineer.
The drivers were VERY well qualified.
The cars had completed the race before with no trouble.
(granted the switch to 15 inch tires is the red herring here...)
The only real difference in the equasion was the TIRES....

Are THEY the reason?

DISCUSS........
ZOOOM

#1078 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 03:58

Weren't the Allstates just rebranded Firestones? It's discussed in the thread.

#1079 HistoricMustang

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:08

Originally posted by OfficeLinebacker
Weren't the Allstates just rebranded Firestones?


Yes, I think we pretty well rode this horse (along with a few others) 'till it dropped.

Unless something new has come forth.

Henry

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#1080 Henri Greuter

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 09:44

Originally posted by McGuire


If the two engines are of identical (or nearly identical) weight and overall dimensions, I would expect the pushrod version to have a lower center of mass. It has one camshaft low in the block while the D engine has four camshafts atop the cylinder heads. Also, the pushrod version has 16 valves, springs, followers, etc, while the D engine has 32 of everything in the valvetrain department. Finally, the pushrod engine has a 3.4 liter bottom end/reciprocating assembly, while the D engine's is 2.65 liters.

It hardly seems possible that the pushrod engine would have a higher CG. That the two engines are of very similar weight suggests that the more elaborate valvetrain gear of the D engine is very closely offset by the 500I engine's larger reciprocating assembly. Since the valvetrain goes at the top of the engine while the reciprocating assembly goes at the bottom, ergo: the pushrod engine would have more mass at the bottom.


McGuire,

Thank you so much for taking this piece of discussion serious. And I enjoy it to discuss matters like this and the effects it has on the chassis in question.
I entirely agree with you on the fact that normally, the pushrod engine would have a lower GC compared with a Quadcam version. In fact that is why I still believe that, despite the fact that the Quadcam Ford was lighter, I still think the GC could be higher. Think, I won't say it is but It could be.

As for the Mercedes 500I vs the regular IlmorD. I go along with your thinking. But the explanation is rather simple.
Both engines were turbocharged. And due to the larger cylinders, the pushrod 500I gained more power with a longer inlet manifold trajectory than the shorter stroke quadcam engine. As a result, the inlet tubes were much longer than on the quadcam D and the inlet plenum that distributed the charge over the 8 inlet tubes sta much higher above the engine than on the D. It was about 3.5 Inch, that's why the height of the 500I was much higher than that of the Quadcam D. And this inlet plenum was a rather large box, a rather heavy part of the engine. And that raised the GC of the entire engine quite abit after all, raising it above that of the Quadcam IlmorD.
Had both engines been atmospheric then the lower GC would have been for the 500I. Bit this plenum box structure 3.5 Inch higher up, that made the difference.

I hope this explains the situation.
Thanks again!

Henri

#1081 McGuire

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:53

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


McGuire,

Thank you so much for taking this piece of discussion serious. And I enjoy it to discuss matters like this and the effects it has on the chassis in question.
I entirely agree with you on the fact that normally, the pushrod engine would have a lower GC compared with a Quadcam version. In fact that is why I still believe that, despite the fact that the Quadcam Ford was lighter, I still think the GC could be higher. Think, I won't say it is but It could be.

As for the Mercedes 500I vs the regular IlmorD. I go along with your thinking. But the explanation is rather simple.
Both engines were turbocharged. And due to the larger cylinders, the pushrod 500I gained more power with a longer inlet manifold trajectory than the shorter stroke quadcam engine. As a result, the inlet tubes were much longer than on the quadcam D and the inlet plenum that distributed the charge over the 8 inlet tubes sta much higher above the engine than on the D. It was about 3.5 Inch, that's why the height of the 500I was much higher than that of the Quadcam D. And this inlet plenum was a rather large box, a rather heavy part of the engine. And that raised the GC of the entire engine quite abit after all, raising it above that of the Quadcam IlmorD.
Had both engines been atmospheric then the lower GC would have been for the 500I. Bit this plenum box structure 3.5 Inch higher up, that made the difference.

I hope this explains the situation.
Thanks again!

Henri


The intake plenum is mainly space while the rest is thinwall cast aluminum or magnesium (nowadays, carbon fiber). Compare that to a crankshaft.

#1082 McGuire

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 13:15

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


Both engines were turbocharged. And due to the larger cylinders, the pushrod 500I gained more power with a longer inlet manifold trajectory than the shorter stroke quadcam engine.


I would expect a longer inlet tract length on the 500I engine; however, not due to the larger displacement but to the lower operating range -- enforced by the pushrod valvetrain layout and two-valve heads. In rough terms, the longer the intake runner the lower the output curves.

#1083 Henri Greuter

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 14:42

Originally posted by McGuire


I would expect a longer inlet tract length on the 500I engine; however, not due to the larger displacement but to the lower operating range -- enforced by the pushrod valvetrain layout and two-valve heads. In rough terms, the longer the intake runner the lower the output curves.


The info I got was that it was related with the larger cylinder capacity. But maybe that was a very simple explanation for the more detailed explanation you gave? I must admit that I don't know exactly when a longer inlet tract is preferable but I instantly accept your info as being correct and you more knowledgeable in this kind of more detailed matters.
I do know about the valve train restricting the rpm range for the engine. I suspect that the more heavy pistons, cranckshaft (and maybe the connection rods as well??) are another influence.

As for your theory on the crankshaft vs inlet plenum weight difference. It definitely is quite a difference! But 3.5 inch is quite a difference too.
Maybe another fact which raised the GC compared with the D is that the V angle of the D was 80 degrees while the 500I-E had a V angle of 72 degrees. And the narrower the V angle, the higher the GC for the block itself. And all cylinder heads also are located a bit higher because of that as well.

Thanks,

Henri

#1084 HistoricMustang

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 22:11

Bare with me gentlemen as I am NOT an engineer.

What about the transaxle used in the Thompson cars? Was the same one used for the Buick, Chevy and Ford set ups or different types? I am also wondering about the engine mounting points on the blocks. Is the Chevy/Buick that much higher or lower than the Ford SB?

Just curious as this would also possibly have some effect on the center of gravity if the chassis was not modified.

Thanks,
Henry

#1085 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 22:41

Originally posted by Flat Black
Or perhaps the O'Conner fatality where Elisian was chastised by the car owner for pulling over and trying to save his friend and idol.

FB, you're combining two different incidents there. Elisian pulled over and stopped at the Vukovich accident in 1955 and was singled out (IMO, quite unfairly so) for blame in triggering the accident that Pat O'Connor died in on the opening lap in 1958.

Which, BTW, I've got some more info to pass along in the Elisian thread when time permits.

#1086 Flat Black

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 14:38

Correct, Jimbo. My fingers often function much faster than my brain. Which is saying very little.

:lol:

#1087 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 01:30

After some digging, I found in Van Valkenburgh's "Chevrolet - Racing", that the aluminum Chevy small block that Penske got from GM in 1963 for his Cooper Monaco weighed 350 pounds. Without getting into the fine points of what was included, or not, in this weight compared to the Ford DOHC, the Ford would have added 50 pounds to the weight of the 1964 Thompson cars, all at the rear and high up.

#1088 TrackDog

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 03:17

Originally posted by Jim Thurman

FB, you're combining two different incidents there. Elisian pulled over and stopped at the Vukovich accident in 1955 and was singled out (IMO, quite unfairly so) for blame in triggering the accident that Pat O'Connor died in on the opening lap in 1958.

Which, BTW, I've got some more info to pass along in the Elisian thread when time permits.


Jimmy Reece played a big part in the O'Conner tragedy.


Dan

#1089 TrackDog

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 03:39

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
After some digging, I found in Van Valkenburgh's "Chevrolet - Racing", that the aluminum Chevy small block that Penske got from GM in 1963 for his Cooper Monaco weighed 350 pounds. Without getting into the fine points of what was included, or not, in this weight compared to the Ford DOHC, the Ford would have added 50 pounds to the weight of the 1964 Thompson cars, all at the rear and high up.



The width and height of the Ford DOHC are readily apparent in the images of the Shrike that I've seen...it seemed to dwarf everything else in the car, including the driver. And, if you include the transaxle into the mix, the drivetrain easily accounted for half the dry weight of the vehicle. And, even more interesting to me is the fact that the fuel load the car was carrying in race trim almost equalled the weight of the engine; and the loss of that weight over the course of a fuel run had to be compensated for.

I would assume that the weight of the Thompson car was similar to the weight of the Shrike...both were little more than engine and fuel tanks.

And Bobby Unser's Novi weighed more empty than the Shrike and Thompson did full of fuel...



Dan

#1090 Buford

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:42

Originally posted by TrackDog


Jimmy Reece played a big part in the O'Conner tragedy.


Dan


Don't know what you are talking about. If Elisian hadn't spun in front of the whole pack it wouldn't have happened. It is never the fault of the people who have to dodge somebody else's accident.

#1091 TrackDog

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 07:02

Originally posted by Buford


Don't know what you are talking about. If Elisian hadn't spun in front of the whole pack it wouldn't have happened. It is never the fault of the people who have to dodge somebody else's accident.


It was the opinion of many, including Ray Nichels, Pat O'Connor's chief mechanic, that Jimmy Reece made a mistake by hitting his brakes when he saw Rathman and Elisian spinning. They were locked together and were headed toward the outside wall in turn 3. Reece was in the middle of the groove in 3 when he checked up enough for Bob Veith to hit him. O'Connor ran over Veith and Reece and the rest is history.


Elisian and Rathman were out of everybody's way, and a lot of people thought Reece overreacted. Of course, it was a split-second decision in the heat of a hotly contested opening lap[there were rumors that Rathman and Elisian had as much as 10,000 dollars riding on who would end up leading the lap...]; and I really didn't mean to blame Jimmy for anything...I just wanted to point out that if he'd kept his foot in the throttle, it would have been a 2 car wreck.


Also, Rathman was right beside Elisian, and the two of them seemed to be playing a huge game of chicken. If Elisian hadn't spun first, would Rathman have done so a fraction of a second later? Elisian estimated they were both doing 160 through the turn.

I'm not a driver, and I wasn't there...all I know is what I've read, and a lot of people who were there said that Reece didn't have to hit his brakes...there was nothing in his way to dodge. He just didn't realize it.


Dan

#1092 HistoricMustang

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 09:04

Originally posted by Buford

It is never the fault of the people who have to dodge somebody else's accident.


:rolleyes: I think some might disagree with use of the word "never". I expressed this possibility earlier in the thread at hand concerning Dave and Eddie's accident.

Henry

#1093 MPea3

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 18:01

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


:rolleyes: I think some might disagree with use of the word "never". I expressed this possibility earlier in the thread at hand concerning Dave and Eddie's accident.

Henry


Not speaking to Dave and Eddie specifically, when do you feel that a wreck IS the responsibility of those who are caught up in trying to avoid a car in front of them which has already lost control and suffered an accident?

#1094 McGuire

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 18:24

Originally posted by Buford


It is never the fault of the people who have to dodge somebody else's accident.


I don't know about that. In nearly every ARCA superspeedway race there is someone aiming the car with the hood ornament instead of looking down the track and drives straight into a crash a half-lap in front of him.

#1095 Buford

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 19:23

Well true let me modify that to say never the fault of those in the immediate area in the first few seconds while the initial accident is still happening and/or the pieces are still bouncing and everyone is being forced to take evasive action and the final path and location of the perpetrator is unknown.

True if they drive half a lap past yellow lights, or like Alonso did at Brazil, blast through 3 yellow stations without lifting and run into wreckage from 30 seconds before, then they are at fault themselves. But I was thinking of a situation like Sachs or Reese where the initial accident is still happening and unpredictable where the mess is going or will end up.

#1096 HistoricMustang

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 19:43

Originally posted by MPea3


Not speaking to Dave and Eddie specifically, when do you feel that a wreck IS the responsibility of those who are caught up in trying to avoid a car in front of them which has already lost control and suffered an accident?


Drivers are human, that is all I am saying. And, humans make mistakes. I touched on that possibility at the 1964 Indy.

There were several inexperienced drivers (at Indy) around the area of the accident. I did not say a wreck or the wreck, I said a second wreck. Just MY opinion.

We have all taken risks and made bad judgements in a race car, that is the nature of the sport.

Henry

#1097 Russ Snyder

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 20:18

We could add Al Keller's name to this discussion, because it appears in the 1955 Dynamic film, that he over reacts with his hand brake and sails a hard right into J Boyd, whom then "pushes" Vuky over the wall....and to his death.

That said....Thinking along those lines, its very hard to second guess those whom only have a few seconds from disaster.

Jerry Reece's tire is what O'cConner flipped upon in that horrific pileup to in turn 3 of the 1958 Indy....tires touching is all it took...and then it was all over for Pat. RIP...

#1098 MPea3

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 21:26

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Drivers are human, that is all I am saying. And, humans make mistakes. I touched on that possibility at the 1964 Indy.

There were several inexperienced drivers (at Indy) around the area of the accident. I did not say a wreck or the wreck, I said a second wreck. Just MY opinion.

We have all taken risks and made bad judgements in a race car, that is the nature of the sport.

Henry


I understand your position on what happened at Indy, I was questioning your disagreement with Buford. Other than as totally boneheaded moves, I agree with Buford that when all hell breaks loose, it's not the drivers which follow who are at fault in an accident. You disagreed, and I'd simply like to know what you feel such an example would be.

#1099 E.B.

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 23:08

Originally posted by Buford


Don't know what you are talking about. If Elisian hadn't spun in front of the whole pack it wouldn't have happened. It is never the fault of the people who have to dodge somebody else's accident.


I think Donald Davidson has said that Reece blamed himself for O'Connor's death to the extent that it contributed to him NOT hitting the brakes so hard (if at all) at Trenton some months later, the inference being that the Indy crash therefore ultimately led to Reece's own death.

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#1100 Buford

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 04:27

Well he may have had a sense of personal guilt which would be a normal human reaction but in reality in my opinion he was too hard on himself if that is true. He wouldn't have had to make that choice if Elisian hadn't spun in front of everybody.