Jump to content
MadCat360

Major Spoon Sports crash at Infineon

Recommended Posts

MadCat360

Did anyone see it? I caught the tail end of it from the grand stands. What I guess happened was the car had some sort of problem (suspension? Tire?) and went spearing off at turn 1. It hit the grass berm there on the outside runoff and launched into the fence just below the score tower, didn't stop and landed in the center stands there, nearly hitting a bunch of people.

 

I heard the driver was all right but they had to tear apart the car to get him out. No spectators were hurt that I could see, though the car's nose hit just one row down from one person, maybe about 3 feet.

 

We got lucky today. That crash could have easily killed 5 people. There really needs to be a tire wall there, which I think they put up when NASCAR race there. Why don't they put any walls up for club races? Why aren't they permanent anyway?

 

I'm going to send a letter to Infineon alerting them of the safety situation there and I suggest you do the same. It would just be the easiest thing to put a permanent ARMCO barrier there with some tires, and have it ready for the 2009 season start. Maybe they could start putting some gravel traps in as well. It's bothersome to haul cars out, but those traps save lots of lives and cars as well.

 

I'm normally pretty reserved about being frightened in motorsports, but that crash really made me shocked at how little there really is to stop the cars from going into the stands there. It's just a very shallow berm and a chain link fence, and if that couldn't stop a Honda touring car from going into the stands at highway speed, then it definitely won't stop a Grand Am car, or an Indy Car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Redstone

I was on track right infront of him. I had just passed him 4-5 seconds earlier. I didn't see him hit the grandstands, but i did see him fly off-track in my rearview. Im glad he's ok. Sucks about the car getting wrecked, but Spoon can easily build another. You can't replace the driver! I'm very glad Angelo wasn't injured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
andy38

Yeah - at very least, those stands should be closed during road races, perhaps some different berming would keep cars from the Dukes of Hazzard style exit this car made yesterday. Infineon typically runs a pretty top-notch show, I suspect they're already on it.

 

My spotter said there were no brake lights the entire way off the track, up the hill, and into the air. I'm trying to picture what sort of failure would lead to that - it's a fast turn but it should still be flat in a fast car. Hopefully some information will come to light that will help us all avoid such a failure in the future.

 

And very good to hear the driver's okay!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smallen

Does anyone have pictures or video of said incident?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KMW
Does anyone have pictures or video of said incident?

 

NASA_Racing_11-8-08__11-9-08_269.jpg

NASA_Racing_11-8-08__11-9-08_271.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsandin

Hello all,

 

I just wanted to update everyone on the drivers situation. Unfortunately the driver (Angelo Zucchi) did not escape completely unharmed, he suffered a shattered vertabrae in the crash and had to have surgery this moorning to repair the damage. However considering the violence of the wreck I think Angelo got away lucky, I walked around the area were his car landed today and the damage is unbelievable. I work with Angelo at the Audi Sportscar Experience and will post updates here when I get them. Please keep Angelo in your thoughts and join me in wishing him a quick recovery.

 

 

-Thanks for your concern,

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smallen

Thanks for the update!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cheap_Thrills

Wow. I was just telling my kids on Saturday how much safer the track is for spectators than years ago. Before they built the seats between T8 & T10 we used to just sit in the grass and there was nothing but a wire fence to stop the cars, I always felt like I was risking my life to sit there. So, is this the seats between turn1 and the carousel, they call SaveMart family area?

Usually, we'd all like to see more people in the stands, this time it's a blessing there was a low turnout.

 

Have a speedy recovery, Angelo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smallen

I believe you are right. It's the grand stands that face the drag strip, and are mainly used for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pooper

I am new to this forum and we were in the grandstands when the accident happened. Just wanted to know if Angelo Zucchi is the son of Arnold Zucchi and brother of Frank. I raced SCCA with them for years.

 

Pat Kaye & myself (and our MINI Cooper friends) were the first ones to get to his car after it came to rest.

 

Here is what I and one of my friends posted on another forum:

 

Here is the recap of the weekend:

 

For those of you that weren't there today and don't know what happened, during Race "A" which included the finale season race for MINI Cooper in the US Touring Car Championships, many of us MINI fans hiked up across the bridge over to the area between the carousel and the paddock where we were able to view various parts of the track and follow our MINIs and drivers around the track. While there we decided to go to the "Family Grandstands" so we could sit and view the race.

Well into the race one of the Accura's got a "little crossed up" just after the start/finish straight and going into turn 1. This is a very fast portion of the track with speeds well over 100MPH. In any case, the Accura driver tried to correct and "exited" the track on the outside of turn 1. We were all sitting in the grandstands directly ahead and above. The Accura "shot" across the dirt and up the hill towards where we were. This all happened sooo fast!!! I watched as the car hit a bump and became airborne with the front going straight up. The car was "vertical" as hit almost clear the cyclone fence, but the left rear wheel caught the fence and the car abruptly too a nose dive after clearing the fence. I stood there on both tip-toes wondering which way to dive to get out of the way. The car hit hard into the grandstands and kicked up a bunch of dirt, then rolled over down the steps before coming to a stop, only feet from where we were.

Pat Kaye, Rob Cerno, myself and others rushed over to see if the driver was OK. Pat began to ask the driver questions to see if he was conscious. He replied to Pat's questions and we approached the car to try to help him out. I could see the emergency vehicles with lights flashing approaching from below and I heard one of the turn-workers yelling .."Get Back! Get Back!" We could see steam/clouds coming from under the hood of the car and only hoped it was a coolant leak and not a fuel leak. We were all concerned that it might burst into flames at any time. Once we saw the the driver was moving and the safety and fire crews were approaching, we did begin to step back.

Soon the emergency crews swarmed the area and we all got clear. Because they had no equipment to remove the car from its resting place where no car had ever gone, they decided to cut the car to remove the driver. I think they were worried and being caucious in case he had damage to his spine or neck or a concusion. It took over an hour to get him free and into an ambulance. We are all saying a prayer for him. He did look OK and hopefully he will be fine.

So to say the least, it was a exciting day at Infineon. Jerry Bradbury held on to win "Rookie of the Year" honors. Rich Peterson, the other MINI Cooper driver, dropped out early with mechanical problems, leaving Jerry to carry the MINI Banner.

All in all it was a memorable weekend. Jerry Bradbury, Rich Peterson, Vince Parker, Micky, Dave, Mark Molina and may others represented MINI well. They are a great bunch of guys, very generous, and accomodating, and very grateful to have corral full of Mini enthusiasts rooting them on. Let's continue to support these guys and their great efforts.

 

Here is Pat Kaye's recap:

 

Norm described the incident pretty accuarately and it was indeed pretty scary. I was down a few rows from the rest of the REME group and over toward the middle taking photos of the cars driving past down the back chute and at us up the main straight. We saw the driver of the blue and yellow car go straight off the corner at Turn 1 seemingly out of control and approach the hill where he went out of sight. Suddenly we heard the rev of the motor as the car catapulted up through the small cyclone fence and then dive into the stands nose first. It all happened so quickly and all of us realized he was coming right toward us and finally coming to rest on the same level of the "stands" that I was in.

 

I wasn't really thinking of getting the driver out as much as trying to see if he was able to communicate back. He was a bit dazed but he did lift his face shield and say "Yes, I'm OK". I then told him to stay still as help was on the way and we reassured him that the car was not on fire. As Norm states, the corner workers and emergency crews are really a long way away from where this car landed and everyone was lucky it wasn't a major spectator event (like NASCAR) where there would easily have been many casualties in the stands.

 

When the first emergency worker arrived at the bottom the "Family Grandstand" area, he was screaming at the driver to get his attention. The worker was so far away the driver couldn't hear him but he could hear me as I had only backed up about a row or two (after the screaming corner worker got our attention and told us to "GET AWAY FROM THE CAR!". I can understand her concerns but both Norm & I have a background in racing as Norm used to drive in the SCCA & I used to wrench for an AMA Pro motorcycle roadracer so we knew what were were doing).

 

By this time the driver had removed his helmet and was just staring out the windshield. I got his attention and got him to look down at the emergency worker who was trying to get a quick idea of his condition. He asked "What is your name?" The driver responded "Angelo ...." Then he was asked, "Where are you right now?" The driver said "Infineon Raceway". The next question was interesting as the worker asked "Are you upset about what just happened?" The driver looked at him, turned back away while at the same time removing his Nomex hood and pulling out his earplugs and tossed them in disgust, then said "I can't hear you!" (Obviously he wasn't too happy about the situation where he was somehow looking back at the main straightaway at about a 45 degree angle, from the top of the hill he had run into!).

 

At this point, ALL of the spectators in the area were told to clear the area and go back across the bridge to the main paddock area. As we (Litabelle & Robcerno + their kids, Norm, Checkers, Hans, another MINI owner, and me) quickly walked back toward the bridge I did hear one corner worker yell at a spectator who had rushed over to the scene and was taking photos, to "DELETE THOSE PHOTOS NOW!" Not sure what that was all about but I just put my camera away. When we got to the bottom of the hill Norm asked me if I got a pic of the car and I said yes.

 

Actually, down at the awards ceremony, all of the crashed driver's friends and team members were trying to figure out what had happened so Norm & I shared what we had witnessed and I showed them the photo of the car with the worker trying to help. I mentioned to them that the emergency crews had told everyone to delete their photos and they all asked me NOT to delete this one as Angelo might want to see it someday.

 

We were all thankful that none of the spectators were hurt as all of us were showered with the dirt that "exploded" off the top of the hill when the car blasted up through the small cyclone fence. It was like we were in one of those "worst crash" videos you see on TV and as the car slammed into the cinderblock stands, nose down and kept sliding toward us taking out the small handrails in the process. It then spun around and rolled over once and came to an abrupt stop, with suspension pieces laying all over the area, the left wheel imbedded in the cinderblock at the point of impact, and the complete exhaust system within about 30 ft of us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pooper

Here is another angle

100_3256.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsandin

Hello again,

 

Just wanted to give eveyone another update on Angelo's condition. He did not end up having the surgery I mentioned in the last post, the doctors took another MRI of his spine and decided that it would be best to put him in a brace and let the vertebrae begin to heal, they will monitor the healing progress and if they dont like what they see they may still need to operate. Apart from the drowsiness brought about by pain killers he is doing ok and was able to talk with the people who visited him yesterday. I will continue to post updates as I get them.

 

-Nick

 

P.S.- For the person who asked, yes Angelo is the son of Arnold and the brother of Frank Zucchi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
andy38

Nick - thanks for the update - please send along our good wishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
justint5387

Hope the driver get well soon, it was a scary crash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MadCat360

I've been in contact with Jerry Kunzman (NorCal Regional Director) and John Cardinale (Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Infineon Raceway), and the outcome of those conversations appears to be positive.

 

According to John, the stands will be blocked off until some type of barrier can be erected in the turn 1 runoff area. There isn't any timeframe that he's aware of.

 

I wish Angelo a speedy and painless recovery. I hope he will be in good enough shape to drive again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tigermack

Hey guys.

 

I have few more pictures, I am not sure if I should share them? The guy at the pit told me they don't want anymore pics taken...

 

Hope the driver in a quick recovery... I watched the car all the way through from turn #11 down it til land.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pooper

Nick,

 

Thanks for the update. I was the one that asked about Angelo's family. My name is Norm Nelson. I used to race with Arnold and Frank in SCCA. Mamma Zucchi always tried to keep us starving race drivers fed with plenty of her great pasta and bread. A wonderful and dedicated family.

 

If you are in contact with them please give them my best and let them know that Angelo is in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsandin

Hi Norm,

 

I have not been in direct contact with Angelo's family since the accident, but I will certainly pass on the word to them when I do get in touch that you send your best wishes.

 

-Thanks for your support,

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wrecksimple03

Hey Nick,

 

Looks like a bad wreck, definitely could have been worse. I'm glad Zucchi is okay, if you talk to him send him my regards and i hope hes back in Italian action ASAP.

 

-Tim Whitteridge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Siddhartha

Angelo had just passed me when he went airborne. I have it on video. Very scary. I'll get it up on YouTube today and come back here and post the link.

 

Best wishes to Angelo for a speedy recovery.

 

Jerry Bradbury

USTCC #37 Mini Cooper S

 

Here's the

to the video. I was farther back than I thought but you can see the trail of dust and the car spinning in the air if you play it full screen. Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsandin

Hello again,

 

The latest on Angelo is that they have transported him to Oakland Kaiser Hospital, they are once again considering the option of surgery, I have not yet heard if they are going ahead with the surgery. I will let you know when I hear more.

 

-Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsandin

Hello again,

 

I just wanted to post this to clear up any confusion anyone may have about the wreck.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=315131&d=1226635307

 

-Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fzracing

Thank you all for your info on my brothers crash if you have any pictures please send them to me @ [email protected]. My brother is now out of ICU and is in a great deal of pain and we hope his back will recover with out sugerey at this point he has a special back brace made to hold him as still as possible, if all goes well they might try to get him on his feet tomorrow.

 

Thank you all for your support

 

Frank Zucchi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Speedtoys

"Are you upset about what just happened?"

---

 

Oddball question is used to determine HOW lucid someone is. He could have answered "Thursday"..ya never know.

 

It helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsandin

Hello again,

 

Just wanted to give another update, as of today they are hoping to get Angelo out of the hospital sometime this coming week. He will begin the process of physical therapy shortly, which will no doubt be a long process, but he will hopefully be able to regain more range of motion than if he had the surgery. Thank you all for the support.

 

-Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...