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Old 09-29-2004, 11:06 AM   #1
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Location: Lewisville,NC
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It can happen!!!

I got this off,

Convertible sports car flips during midday drive-around in non-
racing event

By MARK BARNA, Californian staff writer

Posted: Sunday September 26th, 2004, 9:30 PM
Last Updated: Sunday September 26th, 2004, 9:42 PM

Two men were killed Sunday at Buttonwillow Raceway when their
convertible sports car overturned while motoring on the track during
a non-racing event.
The driver, Ronald Burnett, 46, of Cypress, died while being
transported by helicopter to Kern Medical Center, said Kelly Cowan,
deputy coroner of the Kern County Sheriff's Department. The
passenger, Ronald Yates, 70, of Mohave Valley, Ariz., was pronounced
dead at the scene.
Both men were wearing a seat belt and helmet, Cowan said.
The accident occurred during a mid-day drive-around in which
visitors pay a fee to motor their cars on the Buttonwillow Raceway
track. Burnett was driving an Austin Healy, a convertible that
racers at the track said was a street vehicle with no roll bar or
other safety accouterments found on race cars.
Buttonwillow Raceway officials were not available late Sunday
afternoon for comment on the wreck.
Bakersfield residents Martin and Twila Willey, there to race their
Formula V car, were having lunch in the racers parking area when the
accident occurred. They were about a quarter-mile from the accident
site, which is near a remote stretch of track called Lost Hill,
known to racers as Magic Mountain.
"I just heard an ambulance and everyone started running," Twila
WIlley said.
After the rise and fall of Lost Hill, the track straightens out,
then is followed by a sharp C-turn called the Sweeper. It is this
general area where the accident occurred, Twila Willey said. Martin
Willey said he typically motors around the Sweeper at 70 mph in his
Formula V.
Willey said he feels safe on the track because his race car has roll
bars, and he wears a seat belt and a helmet. But he acknowledges
that things can go wrong quickly.
"It's a dangerous sport," he said.
John Pearson

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Old 09-30-2004, 11:26 AM   #2
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I have my roll bar in. I will have 5 point harnesses in before the March school, maybe by the Dragon in Oct. Hope to see you John at one or both events.
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Old 10-04-2004, 09:59 AM   #3
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Location: Salisbury, NC
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Another reason to NOT allow ANY open tops without a rollbar, even at reduced speed.
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Old 10-05-2004, 10:54 AM   #4
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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I used to think wrecks at the track weren't so bad. Afterall, most of the time the driver walks away and people still are seriously injured driving on public rodes (one might ask if the risk of injury is greater during daily drives). Then I witnessed a car going off at the VIR Patriot Course. Driver was OK, the car was towed away. Wrecks take on a whole different meaning when the driver is someone you were just sitting next to talking about driving.

A friend of mine had nightmares every spring as he got ready to ride his motorcycle around town. I didn't really understand it until I drove the convertible at VIR on the full course and then again at CMP. Now that I drive a convertible, I can't imagine not driving one. However I can never get rid of the thought of an ugly roll over- on track or daily driving. People have told me that they would only race in a straight line since that's safer. I have heard of experienced drivers rolling their cars at the dragstrip- it only takes a little oil left on the track.

Some might say that we get more cautious as we get older. And, yes, I'm no longer in my 20's (OK, I only have a few months of the 30's left ). But we must not forget that performance driving is a dangerous sport. I was not 100% convinced a year ago that I needed a roll bar with harnesses. There's no doubt in my mind now. Come prepared with safety in mind and enjoy.

Still, the joy of driving the Cobra around a track, tires on the edge, car at it's limits... mmm whatta ride! Sounds like I need a coupe for the track!
Marc ter Horst
99 Green Vert
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