Alfa-Porsche accident at CA Speedway 7.31 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Alfa-Porsche accident at CA Speedway 7.31

In reponse to comments on the Alfa-Porsche accident at CA Speedway, this past Saturday:

With all due respect, the accident description from the Porsche driver that hit the #21 Alfa this weekend at CA Speedway is factually wrong. I am the driver that was hit. At least a dozen eye witnesses visited me in the pits, and ALL described the incident in EXACTLY the same manner. It was not a ďracing incident.Ē It was a classic "bansai" error of the most serious and dangerous kind on the part of the Porsche driver. The following is an account from a Formula Ford driver who saw the whole thing (360-degree birds-eye view) from the bridge above where the accident occurred:

"...There were 3 cars; a Red/White/Green Alfa GTV, a Red Porsche, and a Yellow Datsun 510. The Alfa was approx 4-5 car lengths in front of the Red Porsche, entering the Turn 9 hairpin. The Datsun was right behind the red Porsche. The Datsun passed the red Porsche exiting the Turn 9 hairpin, putting himself in front of the Porsche and behind the Red/White/Green Alfa, on entry into the Turn 10-11 chicane. Exiting the Turn 11 chicane onto the midfield straightaway, the Alfa was in front, followed by the yellow Datsun, then the red Porsche. Going down the straightaway (before the Turn 12 90-degree right turn), the Datsun pulled to the far left side of the Alfa, and the Alfa held the middle, giving the Datsun room on the left as they both entered Turn 12 together (the Datsun slightly behind and to the Alfa's left). As the Alfa was apexing Turn 12, the Red Porsche was on the inside line of the straightway, going into Turn 12 really hot. He appeared to panic at not being able to stop for Turn 12 in time, then veered to the right, off the track. When he went off the track, he slid on grass in a straight line toward Turn 12, until he hit the Turn 12 curbing. When he hit the Turn 12 curbing, he seemed to launch in the air. It was at that point that he hit the Alfa, as the Alfa was apexing the Turn 12 right turn. After he hit the Alfa's front right fender, he was still carrying so much speed that he launched over the top of the Alfa and flipped, landing upside down on the top of the Alfa. But by then he still had forward momentum, so he kept on rolling and ended up on his side, on the opposite side of the exit to Turn 12..."

IN SHORT -- from the Alfa driver's viewpoint:

While exiting the Turn 12 right-hander during the early laps of Saturday morning timed practice, I was hit broadside by a red Porsche 911 who went straight, right through turn 12 and never turned at all. It was a double hit; once when he broad-sided me, the other when he flew into the air and landed upside down (his top on my top) on my car, after which he kept on rolling and ended up on his side. Pieces of his car blew into the cockpit of my car. Mickey Cohen in his yellow Datsun 510 was to my left and slightly behind me, going into Turn 12; he witnessed the whole thing. The red Porsche driver had been passed by Mickey on the exit of the Turn 9 infield hairpin. Apparently in a futile effort to catch back up with Mickey on the infield straightaway, the red Porsche failed to brake for the Turn 12 90-degree right hander. Witnesses say that he then panicked and swerved to the right onto the grass, in a last ditch attempt to avoid freight-training the Alfa and Datsun (who were both in Turn 12). The grass launched him into a high speed aquaplane-like skid that pitched him into the Turn 12 curbing. That pitched him airborne. I was on the gas out of Turn 12 when he hit my right front broadside, then bounced into the air and came down upside down on the top of my car -- then still had so much momentum that he kept rolling across the track and ended up on his side.

IMPORTANT: the Porsche and I were NOWHERE NEAR each other on entry into the Turn 12 right hander. Mickey (in his yellow Datsun 510) was close behind me, and I was leaving room for Mickey, so as not to pinch him (it was practice, and we weren't racing yet, so we both needed clear track to post solid lap times for good heat race grid position). The red Porsche came out of nowhere, and hit me AFTER I had gone through Turn 12. It was traveling at likely double the speed required to successfully negotiate Turn 12.

ONE ULTRA-CRITICAL POINT: on the prior TWO laps, a yellow flag was being waved by the course marshalls in Turn 12. The reason for this was because a cone had been hit and was lying in the middle of the track, between Turns 12 and 13. This meant that to get safely through Turn 13 (without colliding with the cone and risking a stackup) it was necessary to THREAD EITHER AN INSIDE OR OUTSIDE LINE THROUGH TURNS 12 AND 13, IN ORDER to AVERT THE CONE that was blocking the usual line from Turn 12 through 13.

The Porsche driver:
1. Failed to brake in time for Turn 12.
2. Failed to exhibit extra entry-to-12 caution by anticipating the cone between Turns 12 and 13, that all the drivers on the course KNEW was present, due to the yellow flag warning that had been shown at that turn on the prior lap.

Had I not have had a superior NASCAR-style cage in my car, this accident could have been deadly serious.

#21 Alfa -- Jake Grubb
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 03:18 PM
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It sucks to hear about the accident Jake!

By looking at all of the pictures I'm glad you both came out of the accident in one piece.

Simon Mestas
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 04:37 PM
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reply to accident


Like I said on the Porsche Board, I am glad you are OK.

Yet again, How can someone say he pannicked? no one was in the car with him.

The ultra Critical point you mention abnout the cone: That just means the 510 had no reason passing you on the outside as well.

Last edited by Vintage911racer; 08-03-2004 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Enough has been said
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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The yellow Datsun was close on my rear, and to the left (on the extreme outside left edge of the track) going into Turn 12. He wasn't passing me at that point -- but it was logical that if he entered Turn 12 on the extreme outside (and might possibly try to establish an overlap on me), that I had three options:

1. Beat him through the turn
2. Give him room
3. Block him

I elected to do BOTH #'s 1 and 2: Beat him through Turns 12, 13, 14, etc., BUT ALSO leave him room, in case he could clearly demonstrate a fair pass.
The same thing had just happened between you and me, the lap before, in Turn 3. You out-braked me, I took the inside and gave you room. You passed me in the chute between 3 and 4.

In the case of Turn 12 with Mickey (and J.P. in pursuit), , I was already positioned at track-middle and slightly inside at that point (a position that works well, for the way my car handles) -- and we were in a timed practice session, not a race -- so I elected to give Mickey room.

Result -- I took the inside line into Turn 12, he took the outside line. All very clean. Also -- in this particular case it was essential to decisively select either the inside or outside line, because the usually-effective middle "stuff-it-in" line from Turn 12-to-13 wouldn't work, due to the orange cone lying on its side in the middle of track there.

If J.P. had been able to slow his car down to the speed necessary to make the Turn-12 sharp right turn, he could've easily tracked in behind me (on the inside line) or Mickey Cohen (on the outside line) -- but because he couldn't stop his car down, he took radical evasive action. Entering Turn 12, J.P.'s car was simply carrying extreme speed -- WAY, WAY too much speed to allow for his Porsche to execute a right turn. The massive impact into my car (which had already apexed Turn 12), and the extreme forward momentum of J.P.'s car (neither the curbing nor my car was enough to stop the straight line forward movement of J.P.'s car) proves this.

Due to J.P.'s speed and trajectory, J.P. would've collided with anything, or anybody that was positioned in Turn 12.

Had there been NO CAR (or cars) in Turn 12, J.P. could have done what we've all done -- simply elected not to turn right at Turn 12, and gone straight through the cones into the runoff area on the opposite side of Turn 12. But that popular aversion method was unavailable in this case, because there was a car IN Turn 12 (me), and another car ENTERING Turn 12 (Mickey Cohen).

Consequently, J.P. averted off-track to the right, onto the grass, which compounded his error. I have an opinion about this particular aversion tactic on this specific turn -- something that I was taught at this track by Skip Barber instructors (maybe a coffee talk sometime).

In any case, while I haven't been running vintage (and VARA) as long as some folks, I've been running California Speedway for seven consecutive years. Four years with Skip Barber, and the last three years with both VARA and HSR. In the case of Skip Barber, every driver's performance (and errors) are scrutinized by a group of instructors FOR EVERY TURN. So -- they've kicked my *** over how to drive, manage, and avert on every corner of that track.

J.P. is one heck of a nice guy, and a competent driver. But the gravity of his error in this particular case -- while committed not on purpose -- is, nevertheless, huge. I believe it needs to be replayed, diagrammed, and ever-so-carefully self-examined.


Last edited by jakegrubb; 08-03-2004 at 06:33 PM.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 05:13 PM
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a point in fact to remember in any case: at the driver's meeting on saturday morning it was stated and reiterated that the overtaking driver is the one who is fully responsible for any contact. this was a reversion back to a rule from several years ago. it was made extremly clear in the meeting.

couldn't be clearer.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 07:37 PM
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And this is PRACTICE for a VINTAGE race, not the last lap of a Speedvision race for the championship. Didn't see it and not taking sides, just speaking to overly aggressive attitudes at a vintage event. If someone's that serious, this is the wrong venue.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 01:25 PM
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Agreesive Driving

Will (anyone),

have any of you ever spun out in your car?

The reason I ask is simple.

If the answer is yes, What caused it?

Many spins happen when you are all alone on the track. You maybe drove in too deep, forgot to brake at the markers, gave it too much gas on exit, were not fast enough at the wheel to counter steer and save it. Who knows....

Where you to agressive???? Maybe.....Maybe not.... Maybe you just messed up.... Maybe you were trying to avoid something or someone.

We all have made mistakes....

For most of us our mistakes do not happen during a SPEEDVISION race, they most likely happen during a WARM UP or PRACTICE session of a VINTAGE RACE WEEKEND.

So I guess that would make us all Overly agreesive drivers and we should find somewhere else to race....

Is that what you are trying to say Will?
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 04:57 PM
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I haven't raced in many years. In the late 60s I raced in SCCA D-Sedan (under 1 liter) and in a couple of events where C and D sedans actually raced with the Trans-Am under 2 liter cars.

Anything is possible during racing. People make mistakes. Unless it can be proven that the other guy intentionally ran into you, the results are just part of the cost of racing.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dretceterini
Anything is possible during racing. People make mistakes. Unless it can be proven that the other guy intentionally ran into you, the results are just part of the cost of racing.
What happens on the track stays on the track ... and that is how it needs to stay. Otherwise nobody will race due to legal reasons.

BUT there are ways to slap a drivers wrist, ie. remove his racing license for some period.

My father was hit by a Jaguar once that had a rush of blood and went of the race track and up the inside of the corner and smashed straight into my fathers car. Cost my father plenty and he was not a happy chappie ... and I thought he was going to nail the other driver .

In the end the Jag guy did not race much more and realised that he was not in the right sport.

I will only ever race in a 100% full on race meeting, where everybody is serious. I do not know what this event was but if it was a 'play' day, then you will not see me on the track.

New drivers to racing need to understand how to control adrenilin (sp?) and to calm down and focus, etc., and for that reason the first race of the season is always a dangerous meeting (even experienced drivers forget or get too excited).

Sorry to hear (read) about the damage, but if you are not prepared for this possibility then don't take her on the track ... because I for one will be very much against you if you start a legal presidence and thus kill our sport. We have enough so called do gooders killing the sport ... I definitely would never run an event anymore ... could end up being charged with manslaughter!


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 11:07 PM
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I have to agree with Will.....nobody can win a practice session. Evidentally, several people were trying in this case. I wasn't there, but this sounds like it didn't need to happen, and "all involved" could have taken measures to avoid it. If someone behind you needs to drive like mad, or you need to defend a a practice session.....maybe "all involved" should consider SCCA instead of vintage racing. I think that it's unfortunate that "all involved" can't be "gentlemen" and resolve this privately, instead of airing their dirty laundry on a chat forum.

Let's define "vintage racing", and why those who participate enjoy it. In my mind, I think of commerades and enthusiasts sharing a mutual passion like sportsmen........not condemning someone on a chat board. Jake, I understand your frustration, but will you really feel better if you get a consenus from those who weren't there?

I'm not pointing any fingers here......just wondering why this is happening publicly.

Bradley Gray
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 11:34 PM
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To be fair to all parties involved, I didn't see the accident. However, I was driving a car that was on the scene very soon after the incident.

One thing to keep in mind, this wasn't just a Sunday morning warm-up. This was a Qualifying practice. The times from this session were used to grid the cars in the following Saturday Race.

This in no means give anyone the right to do bonzai moves into corners. However, it does mean we are all INCLUDING VINTAGE911RACER were very aggressive during this session.

All I know is that the Datson/Alfa/Formula Ford Driver/Corner workers all had similar stories while the Porsche driver (perhaps in an effort to save his @$$) said something much different. Why change a story if you aren't at fault. What are you trying to hide. I am not an organizer or a steward to judge such a matter, but I will give the said Porsche driver more room the next time a pass him.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 11:45 PM
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I guess vintage racing ain't what it used to be....

I always thought that "vintage" didn't mean cut-throat qualifying/practice sessions.

I thought it was for enthusiass with pretty cars, and in the old days, we used discretion, and good sportsmanship.

I guess that has all changed.....too bad.

Bradley Gray
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2004, 09:57 AM
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I believe at the Monterey Historics, ALL parties involved in an accident of ANY kind can't race for a year. Maybe a policy such as this with the Alfa club will help change people's driving styles to being less cut throat.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-19-2004, 08:48 PM
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Hey.....VARA here....

This was not an Alfa Club event. It was a VARA event, and I think they do have a 13/13 policy.

Bradley Gray
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-20-2004, 11:45 AM
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VARA has a very strange way of assessing penalties sometimes. It is not consistant, nor is it right, in many cases.
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