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  • Another Fontana Tragedy

    Sadly, it appears an experience of a lifetime turned out very badly this afternoon. From the AP via NYTimes:

    FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — A woman crashed a replica Indy race car into a wall at a high rate of speed and died while taking part in the Mario Andretti Driving Experience at a Southern California motor speedway.
    The San Bernardino County coroner's office says 24-year-old Ashley Phalen of Los Angeles was killed early Friday when her vehicle slammed into a wall and overturned at the Auto Club Motor Speedway in Fontana. She died at a nearby hospital.
    Phalen was participating in what is described on andrettiracing.com as the "World's Fastest Racing Experience." The website says people can drive a race car with 600 horsepower for an eight-minute session and reach speeds up to 160 mph.

  • #2
    I'm at full pucker every time I go throught T2 there. The place is scary.

    Hopefully she rests in peace. She got to go while having a good time. We should all be so lucky. Prayers for her and her family.
    Last edited by Sybil D. Sobydianz; 10-16-2010, 07:53 AM.

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    • #3
      Just another example of why that place shouldn't be on the schedule next year...RIP and God Bless her family.
      I am a fan of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Formula 1, and AMA Supercross. Go Oriol, Seabass, RHR, and J.R.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by No_Fenders View Post
        Signed up for the Mario Andretti experience and got the Greg Moore experience instead.
        um......ok. I guess its not too soon since its been over a decade but for whatever reason that made me squirm. No worries though.
        The Original Fan of Kimi "The Iceman" Raikkonen 2007 World Driving Champion: 21 Wins---102 Podiums---18 Pole Positions---43 Fastest Laps ---1 Gorilla Suit

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        • #5
          Originally posted by numetalbizkit View Post
          Just another example of why that place shouldn't be on the schedule next year...RIP and God Bless her family.
          Because an amateur driver was killed that's somehow proof that the series shouldn't run there? Ridiculous. Would you like a list of pro drivers killed at other circuits - IMS for example? Should their deaths be cause for the series to not race at those tracks?

          I think it is rather sad that you (and the poster before you) viewed the unfortunate death of this young woman as an opportunity to make some rather regrettable statements.
          "I would really like to go to NASCAR. I really enjoy NASCAR and if I could be there in a couple of years that's where I'd want to be." - Jeff Gordon (after testing a Formula Super Vee)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by aaron5572 View Post
            um......ok. I guess its not too soon since its been over a decade but for whatever reason that made me squirm. No worries though.
            It made me squirm to say it. I didn't intend it to be comical, if that's how you read it.

            I was right there in the infield where he crashed. Try living with that memory...

            As far as the series not racing there - that's poppycock. That track was built for Indycars. Accidents happen, and drivers have been killed at many tracks, especially Indy as Spike said.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by No_Fenders View Post
              It made me squirm to say it. I didn't intend it to be comical, if that's how you read it.

              I was right there in the infield where he crashed. Try living with that memory...

              As far as the series not racing there - that's poppycock. That track was built for Indycars. Accidents happen, and drivers have been killed at many tracks, especially Indy as Spike said.
              Its completely cool dude, I know you wouldn't do something like that to be mean . No worries, hat you said is true, it just still sounds weird I guess.

              As to racing I agree with you, there were some good CART races there, I just don't know if we should have 2 races within 25 miles of each other.
              The Original Fan of Kimi "The Iceman" Raikkonen 2007 World Driving Champion: 21 Wins---102 Podiums---18 Pole Positions---43 Fastest Laps ---1 Gorilla Suit

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              • #8
                if places will be closed because of fatalities in cars,, there s goes the highways and streets,
                I love the sport more than I hate the past,

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                • #9
                  boy you gotta wonder what exactly wrong for her to get killed at such a reduced speed- I saw many huge wrecks at that place during the years when they were hitting 240 mph and almost everyone walked away- supposedly this girl was limited to 160 mph- wonder if it had anything to do with her not being fitted into the seat as well as they do with the pros- do they wear HANS at these deals?

                  my guess is she somehow went head-on into the wall at a terrible angle but it's just a guess

                  I drove in one of those deals in a replica Cup car at Fontana- of course it was a big thrill and I learned a ton about what it's really like to race on one of those tracks- we were limited to 150 mph and I was able to keep it wide open the last couple of laps - what I remember thinking at the time was "yeh, I'm all strapped into this safety cage, but if I turned hard right in the middle of the turn, it would hurt!"

                  such a sad deal to hear about this - something similar happened IIRC to someone else a few years back (at some fan experience)
                  "Charging a man with murder here was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."- Capt. Willard, Apocolypse Now
                  "Ain't nuthin' like [being with a woman], 'cept maybe the Indy 500."- Bunny, Platoon
                  "To alcohol! The cause of- and solution to- all of life's problems."- Homer J. Simpson

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                  • #10
                    I did the Andretti experience @ Kentucky in Aug. The Indy style cars can get up to the 170's. (I did 176). That being said all you had to do was turn left. Car was stuck like glue. One speed gearing, either in gear or out of gear.

                    In addition they had a rev limiter that they would change remotely while you were running. After having done this I can't imagine how this happened, unless there was a steering failure or a immediate flat. The car is tube frame so hitting the wall @ those speeds wouldn't be good.
                    Terrible moderators can destroy great forums

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                    • #11
                      Unfortunate to be sure. Pretty sure that will be the end of that program. No reflection on the track though.

                      Porscheman
                      @porscheman121 on Twitter #+200HP!
                      237.498/241.428/242.333 Speeds from the olden days!

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                      • #12
                        It said she hit the wall and flipped upside down. I am guessing she did something to upset the car and spun hitting the wall at an odd angle where the wheels climbed the wall or something. Sad either way.
                        Skypigeon "If you're not on the bus, don't whine about the direction it's going."

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                        • #13
                          Well THAT put a serious dent in what was a good morning.


                          ...---...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by porscheman View Post
                            Unfortunate to be sure. Pretty sure that will be the end of that program. No reflection on the track though.

                            Porscheman
                            Maybe. But the Richard Petty Driving Experience has had a couple of fatalities and several other amateurs have been killed (at least a couple at Fontana) on various open track days and those programs continue. The truth is that you are pretty much on your own when you get into one of these racing rental programs. It's potentially dangerous and everyone involved knows it. Everybody seems to think that there is some kind of huge lawsuit everytime a driver is killed but that's just not the case. For the most part it is no different than being killed in a traffic accident except that you (and your family) have virtually no legal recourse due to the nature of what you have agreed to before you ever sat in the car.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
                              Maybe. But the Richard Petty Driving Experience has had a couple of fatalities and several other amateurs have been killed (at least a couple at Fontana) on various open track days and those programs continue. The truth is that you are pretty much on your own when you get into one of these racing rental programs. It's potentially dangerous and everyone involved knows it. Everybody seems to think that there is some kind of huge lawsuit everytime a driver is killed but that's just not the case. For the most part it is no different than being killed in a traffic accident except that you (and your family) have virtually no legal recourse due to the nature of what you have agreed to before you ever sat in the car.
                              Ditto.
                              Fontana, Andretti, Petty etc no doubt had a roomful of lawyers make up many docs every guest needs to sign in triplicate before they even walk into the changing room to get a helmet and firesuit.

                              I would guess they are very well insualted from any lawsuits that may arise from an incident like this. They pretty much have to assume someone will crash sooner or later.

                              Some states have laws on the books that make it impossible to sue Ski resorts if you get hurt while on the slopes.

                              I wonder if they dont have some similar type of legal protection.
                              Live like Dave

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