(Photo by CompetitionPlus.com) – Former NMCA racer Barbara Nesbitt is suing a host of people in conjunction with injuries she sustained during a 2010 incident at zMax Raceway. In the incident, the driveshaft in her car broke, entered the cockpit and caused her severe trauma in the arm and upper body area. In her suit, Nesbitt is arguing that her car did not have a “drivetrain cover” as specified by the rules of the class. She is suing the NMCA who put on the race, the NHRA apparently because their rules didn’t have this requirement in them, ProMedia (owners of NMCA), Skinny Kid Race Cars who built her car, and a person listed as “NHRA employee” Ted Peters. We suspect that Peters was the tech inspector who looked at and signed off on the car as being ready to race. She is arguing that her car was not ready for racing and was not safe due to the lack of a “drivetrain cover”. This is a case that could have obvious implications for drag strips across the country. It would open them up to lots of litigation based on the rules cars race under and the inspections performed by their employees.
We can remember when this incident happened back in 2010 and we also remember a fantastic piece of reporting that CompetitionPlus.com did on the whole scene. (READ THE COMPETITIONPLUS PIECE BY CLICKING HERE) The piece on CompPlus details what happened, who responded, and how the whole situation unfolded. There are some very interesting quotes in that story from the first people who made it to the car. One quote in particular from Chuck Demory stands out to us. Here it is:
“[Nostalgia Pro Street] It’s pretty close to the Top Sportsman NHRA safety rules,” Demory said. “They [NMCA tech] go over the cars pretty well. You have to have a front hoop and back hoop; so that if it does get loose hopefully it stays contained in the two hoops. It doesn’t require a tunnel like in Pro Stock. Maybe they should look at that. That’s not an expensive item to put in a car.”
Demory was racing in the same class as Nesbitt at that time and we can assume that he was pretty familiar with the rules. Could a change have been made after the accident with Nesbitt? Sure. If we believe Demory’s quote above, a protective tunnel was not mandatory equipment at the time of this incident.
We’re sure you have some strong feelings on this. Is Nesbitt right to file this suit? Will it have a big effect on drag racing going forward? Was the tunnel mandatory at the time as she asserts or was it not mandatory as Demory says in the CompPlus story?
Thanks to Mark for the tip.