Wow, received a telephone call today about a conversation being held at Motorsports KC. It seems there was a person in the store blaming me for Lakeside’s failure because in 2006 we implemented the head and neck restraint rule. Wow, really, 10 years later, and let’s consider how many people have been saved by this rule. Personally, while drivers did not like it at first after hitting the wall at Lakeside they have come to me and thanked me. They were sore but at least they were not broke, in the hospital, or worse.
First and foremost Lakeside has not failed. Last I knew the final steps in Marrs assuming complete ownership control was in the works. Secondly, while there Lakeside Speedway and their safety crew were known as one of the best in the business. We had meetings and discussions before the season ever started. We worked together to ensure we all were on the same page during crisis management, that includes the police officers, the fire crew, the officials, and the office staff. We had an emergency management book explaining who did what and when.
Lest people forget, let’s replay the story of how we came to require the head and neck restraint. It all starts on February 18, 2001 the day the racing world was shocked with the death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. at Daytona International Speedway. Then on the season ending MLRA Late Model and Modified race then pace truck driver Mark Silvey pointed me out to Randy Lajoie. Randy came up and introduced himself and then asked why as he walked through the pits he had not seen one head and neck restraint system. He pointed out that he was close friends with Dale Earnhardt and he lost a great friend on that day. He made me promise we would look into implementing head and neck restraints.
I went to Marc Olson and informed him of this conversation. We decided to give our drivers a year’s notice and make it effective in 2006. Has it saved lives, don’t know, but I do know it has saved injuries. Taking blame for a safety rule being implemented okay then blame me. This being the tenth year for this rule I highly think any failure would be going away from this rule, especially with the wall surrounding the track. Track management is responsible for working towards safety for both the competitors and the fans. Does that mean sometimes you have to be the leader and take the heat, sure it does, but blaming someone and suggesting failure because of safety, well that is just plain ridiculous!