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      03-27-2012, 12:29 PM   #1
von_zoom
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Red Flag at NASA VIR Race

My friend was racing this past week end at a VIR NASA Event, and shares this video of a second lap Red Flag - accident after turn 3 (NASCAR), red flag clearly displayed at turn bucket prior to turn 3. Watch the video twice, first time through the windshield, and the second time, watch his rear view mirror.

vz

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      03-27-2012, 12:51 PM   #2
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What were the safety vehicles doing out on the track before they had all the cars under control?Really bad situational awareness from the racers behind your friend!Not a very good situation at all.
I have had the same thing happen at night in a 24 hour under a yellow which did produce a lot more damage than the cause of the yellow.
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      03-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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that sucks i would be pissed.
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      03-27-2012, 01:06 PM   #4
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It seems like he stopped right in the middle of the track at turn 3 exit. I was always told to pull off on a safe shoulder out of the way of traffic. Granted, the miatas should have seen the red flag before the turn, but their path was blocked and almost resulted in a multi-car pileup. Not good, for sure.
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      03-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper519 View Post
It seems like he stopped right in the middle of the track at turn 3 exit. I was always told to pull off on a safe shoulder out of the way of traffic. Granted, the miatas should have seen the red flag before the turn, but their path was blocked and almost resulted in a multi-car pileup. Not good, for sure.
+1

Didn't pass the common sense test for me. Red flag doesn't mean freeze. It means pull off in a safe (level so you don't have to be on your brakes) spot so emergency vehicles can get through. At least that's what I was taught in the classroom.
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      03-27-2012, 01:38 PM   #6
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I'm not sure who's video that is, but whoever is taking the video, they are in the wrong I suspect. Red flag means pull off the road in sight of the next flag station (so you can see when to go again from the corner worker), and that is quite possibly what the other cars were doing. Second, as others have mentioned, what the hell was that person doing stopping almost right in the middle of the track, where the emergency vehicles couldn't hardly get through?
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      03-27-2012, 07:35 PM   #7
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Why did he stop on track? WTF
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      03-27-2012, 07:49 PM   #8
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We were taught to pull up to next flag station if possible or at least get off of the "line"
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      03-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #9
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Red flags are tricky business that's why you'll rarely see one at well-run events and IMO they are "track blocked and everyone working the incident will die if we don't get everyone stopped right the hell now" flags ONLY, not for any garden variety crash which this appeared to be, because of exactly this situation. Your friend did the textbook right thing which almost resulted in lots of bodywork for lots of people, which means the textbook is wrong or the red flag call was wrong or both

Red flag in my experience does not mean stop no matter what, it means stop in a safe and controlled manner off the racing line if possible. Stopping and blocking the track in front of a whole field of close racing is not stopping in a safe and controlled manner. Your friend appears fast running where he was running, and noticing the flag and reacting is commendable, but stopping there was a rookie move IMO, the 3 cars in front of him did a much better job

I've led spec miata fields much bigger than that and I can tell you for sure that if I see a red flag and I'm in the top 5 cars or so, I ain't stopping for at least 1/4-1/2 mile unless the track is blocked. I've never seen a red flag for an incident like that either and certainly not seen one thrown on a big track like that when the field is bearing down on the incident, double yellow to slow the field, THEN red. Not sure why red was thrown there with 2/3 of the track open at the incident. Been in that position before and never have I felt that I was safer stopped than moving, ultimately no matter what flag the stewards decide to throw your safety is your responsibility, if you can see clear track, it's probably not going to open up and swallow you whole even if there is a red flag out
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      03-27-2012, 09:00 PM   #10
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why would anyone stop there!!!!!???? maybe the dumbest thing ive seen in years... just shows that" Racers " may not have there heads in the game all the time..
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      03-27-2012, 09:17 PM   #11
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That looks real scary! I've had one red flag situation and agree with others that you drive until its safe, not stop!! It's the same shit on the road these days, a minor fender bender and everybody freezes, traffic gets blocked and nobody knows what to do... Get the fuck out of the way. As a society we are slowing giving up common sense for a rule/law driven society and this is what you get. How about less rules/laws and an actual intelligent populace instead? But then again, look at the money involved in the legal bureaucracy vs. the education system and you get a pretty clear picture of where we're going...
Off my soap box now.
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      03-27-2012, 11:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richbot View Post
Your friend did the textbook right thing which almost resulted in lots of bodywork for lots of people, which means the textbook is wrong or the red flag call was wrong or both
I raced open wheel for a few years and never heard of anything like this. Per IMSA (which sanctioned my series for a couple of years):

6.1.8 RED FLAG (see also IMSA CODE Art. 6.18 )

a. This flag is used exclusively at the discretion of the Race Director to stop practice, qualifying or the race and is displayed by the Official Starter a nd all corner stations.

b. When the red flag is shown, Drivers will decelerate to a slow speed and be prepared to stop at any time. Drivers should use caution and be aware that rescue vehicles may be using the track; the track may be totally blocked; or weather conditions may have made the circuit un -drivable at racing speeds. No passing. Unless otherwise directed by the Race Director or marshals, they will proceed in a line, slowly and carefully around the circuit to the pit entrance where they will be directed further."


Effectively the same rules for FIA sanctioned races I did in Europe/UK. Stopping like that is nuts...
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      03-28-2012, 04:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signes View Post
Stopping like that is nuts...
+1 that was a hugely dangerous move by coming to a complete stop in the middle of a medium speed corner (or its exit) in a race class where several cars are running nose to tail!
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      03-28-2012, 05:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signes View Post
I raced open wheel for a few years and never heard of anything like this. Per IMSA (which sanctioned my series for a couple of years):

6.1.8 RED FLAG (see also IMSA CODE Art. 6.18 )

a. This flag is used exclusively at the discretion of the Race Director to stop practice, qualifying or the race and is displayed by the Official Starter a nd all corner stations.

b. When the red flag is shown, Drivers will decelerate to a slow speed and be prepared to stop at any time. Drivers should use caution and be aware that rescue vehicles may be using the track; the track may be totally blocked; or weather conditions may have made the circuit un -drivable at racing speeds. No passing. Unless otherwise directed by the Race Director or marshals, they will proceed in a line, slowly and carefully around the circuit to the pit entrance where they will be directed further."


Effectively the same rules for FIA sanctioned races I did in Europe/UK. Stopping like that is nuts...
NASA Red Flag Rule:
Quote:
7.9 Red Flag
Emergency. Come to an immediate and controlled stop on the side of the track, in a safe location. All manned flag stations around the course may display a Red Flag. This means that the session has been stopped. No passing is allowed. As soon as all drivers have come to a stop in a safe area, all of the flag stations should drop their Red Flags and one of the following should take place:
1) All flag stations will motion to the drivers to continue. All drivers shall proceed to the starting line using extreme caution, being prepared to stop if necessary. Drivers should remain in their cars and prepare for the session to resume.
2) All flag stations will display double yellow flags indicating that the drivers should continue on course until a green flag is displayed.
3) All flag stations will display a black flag indicating that the remainder of the session has been canceled and the drivers should exit the track.
Note- The local Yellow Flags should still be in effect where hazards exist. Drivers must remain in their cars and stay prepared to restart. Drivers that enter the pit lane during a red flag will be sent out at the end of pack during a restart.
Note: The Red Flag is meant to be displayed “Standing” (motionless), however it may be waved at the drivers to indicate urgency.
The red flag can only be ordered by the Event Director or by the Operating Steward in the absence of the Event Director.
Looks like he was 1/3 correct!

If you also look carefully, when he pulls up, he "parallel parks" beside a yellow miata on his right (at the side of the track)
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      03-28-2012, 09:37 AM   #15
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Admittedly not a racing situation, but I've had situations where someone is spinning on the track in front of me, and usually you just get the wildly waving yellow. That IMSA rule looks strange -- for that situation in all the BMWCCA events (slowly proceed to the pits so the course can be cleaned up), they throw a full course black flag, not red (red works like the NASA rule).
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      03-28-2012, 09:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzentruber View Post
Admittedly not a racing situation, but I've had situations where someone is spinning on the track in front of me, and usually you just get the wildly waving yellow. That IMSA rule looks strange -- for that situation in all the BMWCCA events (slowly proceed to the pits so the course can be cleaned up), they throw a full course black flag, not red (red works like the NASA rule).
I nearly got rammed by a Mazda Miata at a track day at NHMS last year. A f**kwit testing an open wheel racer decided to stop on a waved yellow at the entrance to turn 3. He then stalled in the middle of the track. I slowed and turned to the left...as I checked my rear view, I saw a Miata driver's eyes get very large in my rear view mirror with quite spectacular smoke plumes eminating from the brakes. The driver's view of the flag station was obstructed by my car. After the session he said "Thank God you went left!"

The same open wheel race cost me a lost reflector, scraped bumper and cracked oil cooler scoop when I hit a cone avoiding a conga line suddenly created by the guy's awful driving through Turn 1!

WOW!
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      03-28-2012, 09:58 AM   #17
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Limey and Signes pointed out exactly what I mean, IMSA has a better rule in the book but NASA book says stop immediately at the side of the track which the driver did do to some degree, he sure wasn't dead center.

So there are rulebooks saying different things, there are instructors out there teaching others, there are different sanctioning bodies flagging differently, and experience tells you yet another thing. Just more proof that red flags in general are an option of last resort and responding to them should be an exercise in common sense instead of blind obedience to something somebody said at a driver's school years ago.

Red flag = instant clusterF, 90% of the time, and 99% of the time a double yellow will do the same job more safely
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      03-28-2012, 10:04 AM   #18
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^^^ Well said. I don't understand that NASA rule. A line of cars comes over a blind brow and the guy in front sees a red and slams on the binders just in time for the guy behind to ram him up the ass or go off track trying to avoid him. Either way, high probability of creating a second shunt. Makes sense...
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      03-28-2012, 12:39 PM   #19
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Maybe the guy who wrote the NASA rule owns a body shop...
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      03-28-2012, 12:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Richbot View Post
Maybe the guy who wrote the NASA rule owns a body shop...
[golfclap]

Well played, sir

[/golfclap]
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      03-28-2012, 01:01 PM   #21
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The red flag is normally displayed when the on track situation is deemed serious, often personal injury and the need for emergency equipment is necessary. This is to stop all trafic on the track so the equipment needed has immediate and complete access to the scene. It is completely different from any presentation of yellow or black. These two flags do not require on track stoppage.

Proceedure for the track driver after seeing the Red flag is to FIRST - check your mirror before applying any brakes. Brakes are applied slowly in order that the driver(s) behind you can react to your car should they not have seen the red. If possible and with out interfearing with workers or the incident, pull over to the RIGHT side of the track, and STOP on the track in view of a corner station. Do not get out of your car (unless it is on fire), and await instructions from a corner worker.

The driver in the video did exactly as proceedure calls for. His braking was slow and deliberate, the car following him had no problem, and his stopping on the left was to stay away from the equipment and incident. The problem occured because of a pack of cars following did not see the flag - plain and simple.
vz
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      03-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by von_zoom View Post
The red flag is normally displayed when the on track situation is deemed serious, often personal injury and the need for emergency equipment is necessary. This is to stop all trafic on the track so the equipment needed has immediate and complete access to the scene. It is completely different from any presentation of yellow or black. These two flags do not require on track stoppage.

Proceedure for the track driver after seeing the Red flag is to FIRST - check your mirror before applying any brakes. Brakes are applied slowly in order that the driver(s) behind you can react to your car should they not have seen the red. If possible and with out interfearing with workers or the incident, pull over to the RIGHT side of the track, and STOP on the track in view of a corner station. Do not get out of your car (unless it is on fire), and await instructions from a corner worker.

The driver in the video did exactly as proceedure calls for. His braking was slow and deliberate, the car following him had no problem, and his stopping on the left was to stay away from the equipment and incident. The problem occured because of a pack of cars following did not see the flag - plain and simple.
vz
Agreed. And when the pack started locking up brakes creating smoke it compounded the problem. Luck nobody got hurt. The driver did what he was supposed to do given a red flag.

Another thing - the pack was coming out of a hot corner bumper to bumper - it may be that the first thing noticed was standing cars and that may have distracted from seeing the red at the corner station. For all the driver of the front of the pack knew - the stopped miata could have been standing as a result of a spin or even impact from the car facing the other direct. AND he knew there is a string of miatas on his butt whilst coming hot out of a corner.
In situations like this there are so many things going on - if the driver simply was not on full alert he could miss one of many details.

again - luck nobody got hurt - could have been much worse. There were emergency crew working the track while this all happened!
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