Where did it all go wrong?

Interpreting rules can sometimes be an extremely complex scenario.  Reading the rules and updates can be confusing to the highly educated and mistakes can be made.

However “Seatbelt Gate” at the Sandown 500, this appears to not be the case. The rules are extremely well written and very clear.

So how did this all go so wrong for the self-proclaimed most professional touring car series in the world!

To clear up any misconceptions I’m going to show you exactly what the rules states.  

FIA Standard 8853 -2016 (Safety Harnesses) which was introduced in February 2016, applies to the Australian Supercar Series as specified in the Supercars operations manual 2017, division C 5.2.


FIA Standard 8853 -2016

DEFINITION OF A SAFETY HARNESS 3.1

An arrangement of straps with a securing buckle, adjusting devices, tongues and attachments capable of being anchored to the interior of a power driven vehicle to restrain the driver.

This is the part where it gets real juicy and where it goes all wrong for the offending teams……

STRAPS 4.2

The shoulder and pelvic straps shall not be attached to each other, but shall each be engaged in and/or released from the securing buckle by their individual tongues.

SECURING BUCKLE 4.4

The operation of the opening mechanism of the buckle shall produce, by itself alone and with a single simple movement of one hand in one direction, that each tongue is ejected or that the latching mechanism shall remain in the open position.

Standard 4.2 prevents zip tying of the shoulder and pelvic straps together.  This rule is extremely clear and easy to interpret and understand.

Standard 4.4 prevents shoulder straps being locked off in the securing buckle.  This rule is extremely clear and easy to i interpret and understand also.

As stated this rule came into effect in February 2016 and the Supercar Operations manual of 2017 section C reflects this standard.

The offending teams do not have a leg to stand on and should feel the full wrath of the FIA.

We are conducting a poll on the punishment.  Please click here to have your say.

Tampered Seatbelts Found at Sandown 500

Seatbelts from the Sandown 500 have had their FIA Certification “Cut off” under instruction from Nuno Costa, Head of Safety Equipment Homologation at the FIA because of alleged illegal product tampering.

Costa has been made aware of alleged product tampering of the Willans brand belts and made the call to CAMS Technical Manager, Scott McGrath to have the products decertified and removed from competition immediately.    It is suggested that Costa also went as far as ordering a full audit of all supercar seatbelts that competed in the event.

In Sundays race, anomalies during one of the pit stops were noticed on the Foxsports coverage.  The seatbelts in at least one multi car team were clearly connected in more than one spot.

Belt manufacturer Willans was more than forthcoming with information and stated that none of their products for saloon cars have multi connection points.
 
“Willans harnesses are offered with a choice of release box connections -  to the left lap strap, the right lap strap or to the crutch strap. We do not offer any harnesses with multiple permanent connections to the release box as this would be in violation of the FIA regulation 8853-2016.“ states Simon Perkins Managing Director.

Perkins then reported the illegal product tampering to the FIA and subsequently recalled the certification on those products.

The point of a releasing belt is so in an emergency a driver can be extricated without any obstruction.   As we saw in the Saturday race with young Todd Hazlewood ending upon his side after a massive wreck, if the cars in question were involved it would have made it dramatically harder to get the driver out safely particularly if the driver was unconscious or seriously injured.    

We all look for advantages in motorsport as that’s what makes it interesting but the allegations around altering an FIA safety device is taking it way too far to get and advantage.

Super Victorian Speedcar Season Starts this Saturday.

Huge field to kick off 2017 season at Avalon.

WOW!!! The Victorian Speedcar Drivers Association (VSDA) is kicking off the new season in a way that hasn’t been seen for many years, in fact many decades, with a huge field of nominations (25) set to open the new season at Avalon raceway this weekend (October 7th).

“I’m really excited and proud about the season ahead”, said club President and car owner Tim Fisher. “We’ve got 25 nominations for the first race and a regular base here at Avalon that I feel will only help to grow the class even more.”

Yes, that’s right, 25 nominations to open the season, and it’s an early season start which is usually not conducive to big numbers. These are the sort of numbers that haven’t been seen since the 1980’s in the days of the much lamented Melbourne Speedbowl.

Added to the burgeoning cast of the fast is a handful of rookies that bring undoubted family racing genetics and history and continue the stunning multi-generational family that is the VSDA.

18 year-old Dillon Ghent will follow his Sister, Father and Grandfather into the ranks behind the wheel of the family’s V27 Spike powered by Paul Jordan’s’ Mopar engine.

25 year-old Chris Nankiville is similarly a 3rd generation racer with an outstanding pedigree and he will debut behind a similar Spike/Mopar wearing number 20 for his family owned team.

Andrew Lardner will take the wheel of the ubiquitous #5 to keep the family connection alive while Daniel Timberlake continues a strong family speedway heritage with a difference.

Timberlake is not young, being 42 years old, and similarly bucking the rookie trend he, his father and brothers speedway racing careers have all been conducted with a roof over their heads.

With a background in Modified Production Sedans, V8 Dirt Models and Late Model Sedans, Timberlake explained that he surprisingly “has always loved and wanted a Speedcar.”

“It’s the different combinations of cars and engines and the ingenuity and engineering in them and the history behind them that I love.” stated the Bannockburn resident.

These rookies will need to learn fast but will have the combined talents of some of Australia’s best to help them along the way with guns, Travis Mills, Ashley Booker, Domain Ramsey, Kaidon Brown, Joe Lostitch, Glen Shaw, Nick Parker and many others to regularly show them the fast way around.

Adding to the class will be Sydney’s Matt Jackson who has taken up the seat in Fishers renumbered V23 while Luke Bowey will head east from his South Australian base to get an early hit out ahead of his home state holding this years’ National Championship.

Other exciting news for the VSDA includes a long awaited return to Ballarat’s Redline Raceway on March 24th for the Bill Evans Classic. Speedcars were once the premier class at the regional venue with brilliant fields of cageless cars and National superstars contesting the hallowed Craven Mild series and other major events.

The club is also pleased to be taking the 73rd Victorian Speedcar Championship back to the Premier Speedway high banks on January 7th.

Two other significant events will be held at Avalon being the Beasley Memorial (Nov 25th) and Skips Race (Mar 17th).

With events at Darlington, Portland, Laang, Bairnsdale and Wangaratta as well as the previously mentioned venues the 84 year-old club is looking forward to one of their best seasons ever.

VSDA 2017/18 race calendar (subject to change)

October              

7              Avalon – Round 1 Track Championship
21            Darlington – Mid Western Raceway.

November         

11           To Be Confirmed
25           Avalon – Beasley Memorial/Rd 2 Track Championship

December          

9             Avalon - Round 3 Track Championship
16           Portland
28           Laang

January               

7             Warrnambool – 73rd Victorian Speedcar Championship   
13           Avalon  - G-Town Rumble/Rd 4 Track Championship

February            

9/10       Murray Bridge SA – Australian Speedcar Championship
24           Bairnsdale

March                

17           Avalon – Skips Race/Rd 5 Track Championship.
24           Redline – Bill Evans Classic

April                  

7             Wangaratta
21           Avalon – Round 6 Track Championship.

Further details and a complete list of nominations can be found on the VSDA facebook page.

Davenport Wins World 100

Jonathan Davenport led flag-to-flag to claim his second career World 100 victory at Eldora Speedway. His No. 49 machine pulled out of the Ohio dirt track and headed back to Blairsville, GA with a $50,000 check and a prestigious globe trophy tucked away inside.

Although six cautions fell among the 100-lap race, Davenport was never seriously challenged for his lead position. Davenport started third in the feature quickly securing the front spot and never looking back. Gregg Satterlee finished where he started the crown jewel event in second and Mike Marlar rounded out the podium.

In just 17 laps, Brandon Overton charged to fifth from his 17th starting position. He continued to wheel his way through the field and found himself with a solid second place run until lap 90 when we got into the wall and quickly fell back to seventh. By the time the checkers had fallen, Overton had fallen back to 11th. An additional hard charger was Dale McDowell who started 25th in the feature and finished an impressive fourth.

Two records were set on Saturday night: A record crowd was in attendance at the historical Eldora Speedway and a record payout for the 50/50 drawing which paid $38,135.

The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series had five full-time drivers in attendance for the 47th annual World 100 three-day event. After a successful Thursday  and Friday for the Outlaw drivers, all five wheeled their way into the crown jewel event. Out of 30 cars in the crown jewel event, Brandon Sheppard started ninth, Chris Madden started 11, Frank Heckenast Jr. started 18, Shane Clanton started 20, and Devin Moran started 24.

Madden tied his career best finish for the World 100 with a sixth-place run. His previous sixth place finish was in 2011.

On lap 59 under a caution for Bobby Pierce, Sheppard pulled into the pits and received two new tires on the right side of his car. After starting from the tail of the field of 24 cars remaining, Sheppard was able to grab a top-10 finish.

Young gun, Moran was able to crack the top-10 on lap 67 of the 100-lapper but was unable to hold onto the position. Moran got shifted back one spot behind Heckenast Jr. The pair finished 15th and 16th.  

Clanton retired from the race on lap 37. He pulled into the pits under a green flag, never to return to the half-mile track.

Eldora Speedway Abbreviated Results:

Feature – (100 Laps) 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[3] ; 2. 22S-Gregg Satterlee[2] ; 3. 157-Mike Marlar[4] ; 4. 17M-Dale McDowell[25] ; 5. 14-Darrell Lanigan[6] ; 6. 44-Chris Madden[11] ; 7. 17D-Zack Dohm[14] ; 8. 21-Billy Moyer[15] ; 9. 32S-Chris Simpson[27] ; 10. 1-Brandon Sheppard[9] ; 11. 116-Brandon Overton[17] ; 12. 39-Tim McCreadie[10] ; 13. 1P-Earl Pearson Jr.[8] ; 14. 20-Jimmy Owens[21] ; 15. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr. [18] ; 16. 9-Devin Moran[24] ; 17. 28-Dennis Erb Jr. [16] ; 18. 71-Hudson O’Neal[1] ; 19. 7R-Kent Robinson[22] ; 20. 15H-Jon Henry[23] ; 21. 83-Scott James[30] ; 22. 32P-Bobby Pierce[7] ; 23. 55-Jeep VanWormer[26] ; 24. 0-Scott Bloomquist[13] ; 25. 28M-Jimmy Mars[12] ; 26. 1R-Josh Richards[19] ; 27. 25-Jason Feger[29] ; 28. 25C-Shane Clanton[20] ; 29. 40B-Kyle Bronson[28] ; 30. 5-Don O’Neal[5]

CAMS, Supercars investigating seatbelt safety after TMC broke story

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and Supercars are working with the FIA on an investigation into seatbelts used in the category following the recent Wilson Security Sandown 500.

The issue has been raised following the event after television footage appeared to show at least one harness that had been modified from its homologated state.

CAMS and Supercars have both confirmed via statements that an investigation is taking place in conjunction with the FIA.

“CAMS is currently looking into the issue, working closely with the FIA, Supercars and the relevant manufacturers,” said a CAMS statement.

Supercars’ sporting and technical director David Stuart stressed the category’s dedication to safety standards.

“We are working in conjunction with CAMS on this particular area with the safety of drivers always our highest priority,” he said.

“Accordingly, we will work with CAMS and the FIA and we are seeking clarity in regard to their requirements.

“If a rule needs to be modified to ensure compliance then that will be implemented.”

While no teams have been officially named, the Fox Sports broadcast appeared to show an anomaly with the belts on the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Shane van Gisbergen/Matt Campbell entry.

It appears in the footage that the car’s left lap belt and shoulder belt were permanently connected to the five-point harness’ release box, rather than the single point that is homologated.

Such a move would simplify the process of doing up the belt in a driver change, but potentially make it more difficult to extract the driver from the car in an accident.

Red Bull HRT manager Mark Dutton told Supercars.com he does not believe any of his team’s cars were running with two permanent pins in the latch.

He did, however, stress that the team has long used cable-ties to keep the lap and shoulder belts connected, making them easier to reach when unbuckled in a stop.

That procedure has been accepted in the past and is widely used throughout the field, but is also outside the seatbelt’s FIA homologation and may be outlawed following the current investigation.

“I need to check that one hasn’t slipped past the post, but our standard procedure forever has been cable-tying them,” said Dutton.

“We started doing that in the earlier days with Jamie [Whincup], spending a lot of time and effort on the belts, elastics and cable-ties.

“My understanding is that’s what we’ve always done and I haven’t seen otherwise in the car.

“I’m looking forward to a clarification (on the rules) because it means we can lock down exactly what we’re doing (from Bathurst onwards).

“We’ve done what’s been acceptable in the past, but if a clarification comes through to say it’s not acceptable anymore, we’re not going to argue with that.”

Seatbelt rules had also been tweaked before the PIRTEK Enduro Cup last year, when the FIA banned attaching elastic straps to the shoulder belts.

World 100, One Night To Go

A record setting crowd congregated at Eldora Speedway on Thursday and Friday night for the 47th annual World 100. Only one day remains of the three-day crown jewel event but more fans are sure to flood to the Rossburg, Ohio dirt track to witness history in the making.

Friday’s program mirrored the schedule of one night prior with a full show complete with twin 25-lap features paying $10,000-to-win. Clint Bowyer Racing teammates, Don O’Neal and Darrell Lanigan, swept the night each winning their feature event.

O’Neal won the Odd Feature after a dominating performance of leading flag-to-flag over Tim McCreadie. Both drivers had a relatively easy stroll to the podium after starting on the front line of the feature event, never truly being challenged for their positions. On the other hand, Gregg Satterlee started seventh and fought his way to the podium battling against Mike Marlar and Shane Clanton in the process.

During the Even Feature, Lanigan made the pass for the lead by race long leader, Josh Richards on lap 18. Jimmy Owens was next to find his way past Richards on lap 21 but he was unsuccessful in his efforts to reel in Lanigan. Richards settled for a third-place finish. Lanigan has been unstoppable during the back-to-back nights of preliminary action, winning two out of two 25-lap features. He now has his eyes set on the larger prize, the World 100 on Saturday.

After the feature event, the big Eldora wheel was spun to set the inversion for the 100-main event. The wheel landed on zero which means O’Neal and Lanigan will start side-by-side for the finale.

The biggest winner of Friday evening was surprisingly not a driver but one lucky fan who received $25,412.50 from the 50/50 drawing.

Outlaws at the World:

Shane Clanton

Shane Clanton’s solid Thursday night was backed up with an even better Friday night of preliminary action for the World 100. Clanton held the fifth fastest time during hot laps before winding up 33rd quick during qualifying. The track then went through an unexpected change as a rain shower added moisture to the surface and a short delay to the event. Once action resumed, Clanton started on the pole for his heat and wheeled his Capital Racecar straight to the checkers in front of a hard charging Satterlee. Clanton’s heat win placed him with a fourth place start for the feature. He ran third for most of the event but fell back to fifth in the last few laps.

Frank Heckenast Jr.

Frank Heckenast Jr. hustled his way through Friday’s preliminary races. Heckenast was placed on the pole for the Last Chance Showdown after finishing one spot shy of transferring into the feature from his heat race. The driver from Frankfort, Ill. went on to win the Last Chance Showdown by making a last lap, turn four, pass by Chris Simpson. His Last Chance Showdown win placed him in the 21st position to start the feature. Heckenast rebounded from his starting position to finish among the top-10 with an impressive eighth-place run where he was able to pass 12 cars in 25-laps.

Chris Madden

Chris “Smokey” Madden headed into Friday’s preliminary action ranked fifth in World 100 points out of 104 cars entered. Madden claimed 11th quick during qualifying and went on to finish second in his heat race behind Jacob Hawkins. Madden started sixth in the 25-lap feature but slowly fell back to finish 11th. Madden and his team will be busy tweaking the No. 44 for the World 100 finale on Saturday.

Devin Moran

Devin Moran struggled to recover during Friday’s preliminary event after getting into the wall during qualifying. Moran finished 7th in his heat sending him into the Last Chance Showdown. Despite the young driver’s best efforts, he finished fifth which ultimately ended his night early. Moran will seek the help of his father and brothers to get the No. 9 machine back in pristine condition for Saturday’s crown jewel.

Brandon Sheppard

Brandon Sheppard and his Rocket 1 Racing team put in a lot of work on Friday afternoon in hopes to better their finishes from Thursday. The team succeeded in their efforts as Sheppard finished third quick during qualifying. He then finished fourth in his heat which transferred him into the feature where he would start from position 17. The young aggressive driver wheeled his way past ten cars to finish seventh after 25-laps.

Eldora Speedway Abbreviated Results:

Twin-25 Feature 1 (Even) – (25 Laps)
1. 14-Darrell Lanigan[6] ; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens[4] ; 3. 1R-Josh Richards[1] ; 4. 71-Hudson O’Neal[3] ; 5. 32P-Bobby Pierce[10] ; 6. 15H-Jon Henry[12] ; 7. 0-Scott Bloomquist[16] ; 8. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr. [21] ; 9. 55-Jeep VanWormer[5] ; 10. 17D-Zack Dohm[22] ; 11. 32S-Chris Simpson[23] ; 12. 28M-Jimmy Mars[19] ; 13. 101-Casey Roberts[11] ; 14. 3s-Brian Shirley[7] ; 15. 10-Eddie Carrier Jr. [15] ; 16. 18B-Shannon Babb[9] ; 17. 25-Jason Feger[17] ; 18. 18K-Brandon Kinzer[8] ; 19. 56-Tony Jackson Jr[18] ; 20. B1-Brent Larson[24] ; 21. 5N-Dustin Nobbe[2] ; 22. 72-Mike Norris[14] ; 23. 15-Steve Francis[20] ; 24. 1GK-Ryan King[13]

Twin-25 Feature 2  (Odd) – (25 Laps)
1. 5-Don O’Neal[1] ; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie[2] ; 3. 22S-Gregg Satterlee[7] ; 4. 157-Mike Marlar[8] ; 5. 25C-Shane Clanton[4] ; 6. 40B-Kyle Bronson[10] ; 7. 1-Brandon Sheppard[17] ; 8. 49-Jonathan Davenport[21] ; 9. 17M-Dale McDowell[16] ; 10. H1-Jared Miley[3] ; 11. 44-Chris Madden[6] ; 12. 22-Chris Ferguson[14] ; 13. 7R-Kent Robinson[12] ; 14. 21-Billy Moyer[19] ; 15. 50-Shanon Buckingham[15] ; 16. 1P-Earl Pearson Jr.[9] ; 17. C8-Timothy Culp[23] ; 18. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[24] ; 19. 20H-Jacob Hawkins[5] ; 20. 7B-Jeff Babcock[13] ; 21. 11R-James Rice[20]; 22. 77B-Adam Bowman[22] ; 23. 00-Connor Meade[18] ; 24. 12-Jason Jameson[11]

Qualifying: 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport, 15.222; 2. 14-Darrell Lanigan, 15.364; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 15.374; 4. r1-Riley Hickman, 15.383; 5. 157-Mike Marlar, 15.394; 6. 71-Hudson O'Neal, 15.424; 7. 21-Billy Moyer, 15.430; 8. 72-Mike Norris, 15.450; 9. 5-Don O'Neal, 15.472; 10. 32P-Bobby Pierce, 15.486; 11. 44-Chris Madden, 15.502; 12. 0- Scott Bloomquist, 15.530; 13. 22S-Gregg Satterlee, 15.544; 14. 25-Jason Feger, 15.571; 15. 00- Connor Meade, 15.575; 16. 1GK-Ryan King, 15.608; 17. 1P-Earl Pearson Jr.,15.601; 18. 28M-Jimmy Mars, 15.617; 19. 18-Chase Junghans, 15.633 20. 10-Eddie Carrier Jr., 15.637; 21. 20H-Jacob Hawkins, 15.638; 22. 101-Casey Roberts, 15.642; 23. 7R-Kent Robinson, 15.644; 24. 3s-Brian Shirley, 15.651; 25. 7B-Jeff Babcock, 15.655; 26. 18K-Brandon Kinzer, 15.671; 27. 22-Chris Ferguson, 15.675; 28. 18b-Shannon Baab, 15.678; 29. c8-Timothy Culp, 15.690; 30. 33m-Tim Manville, 15.695; 31. 83-Scott James, 15.712; 32. 55-Jeep Vanwormer, 15.736; 33. 25c-Shane Clanton, 15.737; 34. 20-Jimmy Owens, 15.740; 35. h1-Jared Miley, 15.748; 36. 56-Tony Jackson Jr., 15.749; 37. 39-Tim McCreadie, 15.757; 38. 5n-Dustin Nobbe, 15.761; 39. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 15.771; 40. 1r-Josh Richards, 15.781; 41. 17m-Dale McDowell, 15.791; 42. 99jr-Frank Heckenast Jr., 15.793; 43. 77b-Adam Bowman, 15.800; 44. 15H-Jon Henry, 15.805; 45. 4-Cody Mahoney, 15.806; 46. 88-Andrew Reaume, 15.814; 47. c9-Steve Casebolt, 15.829; 48. 7m-Donald McIntosh, 15.863; 49. 50-Shannon Buckingham, 15.865; 50. 9r-Curtis Roberts, 15.873; 51. 25z-Mason Ziegler, 15.883; 52. 111-Steven Roberts, 15.588; 53. 9-Devin Moran, 15.891; 54. 17-Shannon Thornsberry, 15.899; 55. 12m-Raymond Merrill, 15.901; 56. 32s-Chris Simpson, 15.905; 57. 240-Doug Drown, 15.932; 58. 1m-Mike Mataragas, 15.935; 59. 48- Tim Lance, 15.939; 60. 15-Steve Francis, 15.957; 61. C02-Mike Whitener, 15.989; 62. 2-Nick Hoffman, 16.002; 63. 11g-Gordy Gundaker, 16.034; 64. 17D-Zack Dohm, 16.042; 65. 33-Jesse James Lay, 16.044; 66. 144-Chris Barton, 16.055; 67. 20C-Duane Chamberlain, 16.119; 68. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr, 16.126; 69. 11R-James Rice, 16.137; 70. 95J-Jerry Bowersock, 16.150; 71. 4B-Jackie Boggs, 16.168; 72. 4BG-Bob Gardner, 16.245; 73. 2TS-Travis Stemler, 16.262; 74. 48L-Steve Lane, 16.307; 75. 1N-Casey Noonan, 16.307; 76. 2C-Joey Coulter, 16.328; 77. 51-Joey Moriarty, 16.358; 78. 32-Chad Stapleton, 16.427; 79. 39T-Rob Toland, 16.428; 80. 28-Dennis Erb Jr., 16.440; 81. 18x-Michael Page, 16.456; 82. 116-Brandon Overton, 16.460; 83. 93-Jay Johnson, 16.504; 84. 89-Dustin Mitchell, 16. 524; 85. 31AUS-Paul Stubber, 16.531; 86. b1-Brent Larson, 16.541; 87. 58-Jeremiah Hurst, 16.581; 88. 69-Johnny Huck, 16.584; 89. 79-Bryant Dickinson, 16.586; 90. 45H-Don Hammer, 16.618; 91. 12-Jason Jameson, 16.720; 92. 17E-Lance Elson, 16.802; 93. 6-Blake Spencer, 16.807; 94. 128-Jeff Alsip, 16.817; 95. 97M-Brett Miller, 16.822; 96. 1V-Vic Hill, 16.828; 97. 97-Michael Chilton, 16.859; 98. 34-Chase Porter, 17.164; 99. 79W-Troy Worrick, 17.199; 100. 45DH- Doug Hammer, 17.382; 101. 22f-Nicholas Fenner, 18.271; 102. 87-Walker Arthur, NT; 103. 28x-Drake Meeks, NT; 104. 31-Nick Latham, NT; 105. 96-Tanner English, NT