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Track Rescue in the Media

  Track Rescue Keeps Hooters ProCup Safe


HARRISBURG, N.C. - With driver safety as a top priority, United Speed Alliance Racing, partnered with Track Rescue Fire Department , has brought an added safety assurance on race day for the last two years.

USAR Hooters ProCup Series hired TRACK RESCUE to be a traveling safety team in August 1999 out of concern for driver safety. Since, the department has sent crews to most of the series races.

"We needed the consistency of a safety team", said Gene Cox, president of USAR Hooters ProCup Series. "Some facilities just weren't up to our standards."

USAR's standards may be higher than most. According to Tony Cox, director of series development, the series is the only short-track touring division with a traveling safety team.

On race day, the primary function of
TRACK RESCUE's two-to-three person teams is ensuring safety. They provide many services, one of which is information.

While the staff, prepared with medical equipment, assists emergency personnel when needed, members most often intervene with information, said Chief Craig Clarke owner and operator of

TRACK RESCUE maintains the medical records for all active Hooters ProCup drivers, about 117 in 2001, Tony Cox said.

Clarke, who established
TRACK RESCUE in 1982 after realizing the need for a safety team to protect race car drivers, said collecting the records was well worth the effort because having the information on hand saves time. Knowing a drivers surgical history, allergies and medical conditions helps workers tailor their treatments to provide the best possible care.

Also, the team is ready to pass on records to hospitals if a driver needs to be transported. Though safety team members are certified Emergency Medical Technicians,
TRACK RESCUE requires at least one ambulance be on track grounds during events.

"Having the records available and working with the drivers every week makes for a certain comfort level", said Clarke, a veteran firefighter and EMT.

"They know us and we know their ins and outs", he said. Jon Kinder, driver of the #08 Mims Chevrolet, agreed. "When they come to your window, if they have to, its a familiar face", Kinder said. "It helps keep you calm because you know youre in good hands. (
TRACK RESCUE) knows the measures to take and has the right people there to get the job done."

TRACK RESCUE also provides extrication and fire rescue services on race day. G. Cox said many short tracks on the circuit have minimal, if any, tools to cut drivers from wrecked cars. "Its good to have people with the right equipment who are familiar with our car", he said. "(Track Rescue) trains with our car and practices different emergency scenarios."

Kinder said the fact that the team members are specialists is reassuring. "They specialize in removing people from race cars, not regular cars", Kinder said, "and they know where to go when there is a fire, what parts of the car."

"Fire is a number one concern", Clarke said. "Some tracks arent very well-equipped and we supplement with what we have."

His trucks are equipped with 100-150 gallons of water, fire suppressants as well as large chemical systems. "The services provided are and added insurance", T. Cox said, "and something other series may look to in the future."

"With the deaths of race car drivers making national headlines, motorsports safety is resurfacing in the forefront of peoples minds", Clarke said. "The (Dale) Earnhardt incident alone jolted everybody into consciousness".

Kinder said the realization is a long time coming. "Its a dangerous sport and we dont want to see anyone get hurt." Though minimum standards may be on the horizon, most short tracks do not have set rescue crew requirements and race series officials are not committing to funding safety teams.

G. Cox said decisions boil down to economics and cost might keep other series from following in USARs footsteps. However, Clarke asks, "What price can you put on someones safety", noting his biggest frustration is dealing with people who refuse to listen.

Currently, USAR pays for
TRACK RESCUE's services completely out-of-pocket, which G. Cox said is well worth the money and money well spent. "The series is working to find sponsorship for the safety team to help supplement the cost", T. Cox said. USAR is also working to tackle the issue of driver safety from different fronts. Though the series leads the way in terms of onsite safety and remains a step ahead of other series, G. Cox said there is still more to be done. "USARs next plan of attack is to have a physician trained in trauma on site at every race", he said. "We're trying to make sure everythings in place so were prepared if something were ever to happen. Gene Cox said. Safety is our primary concern."

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