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Old 04-23-2008, 11:55 PM   #1
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Please read:

Good evening, my Camaro Comrades and Firebird Friends........


Spring is here - and most of us are getting our Firebirds and Camaros out of storage .....and can hardly wait to drive them.

Unfortunately most of us want to plant the pedal to the metal --

.......................and that's fine -- provided that it's done appropriately and in the right place and time.

My concern is that some of you may get a little *too excited* and perhaps decide to do a little street racing.

Our Friend -- Jason Ory at www.z28.com started a thread on his site talking about the horrors that can result from Street Racing..........and I thank him for bringing it to my attention.


I ask you to read something I wrote a couple of years back -- it's at the end of this email.......

We had a great Camaro/Firebird Gathering in Atlanta -- and unfortunately things got out of control late at night -- and two of our Camaro Comrades died that night...............

All because of Street Racing.............

Please -- I beg you -- read the following -- and PROMISE ME -- that you will not street race -- and that you will wear your safety belts at ALL TIMES -- and that goes for all of your passengers as well.

Please share this with your friends.........put it in your newsletters.............

To some of you, I may sound like a broken record. (to you 'younguns' -- records were what preceded CDs.....) -- and I continue this rant because I care about you.



Have a great show season -- and I hope to see you at the various Camaro/Firebird shows that are planned this season!




The story:


A whole bunch of people looked forward to this past Memorial Day weekend …many of them spending it in Atlanta, as I did, with fellow Fcar enthusiasts.

A few young men I’m sure were looking forward to driving in from the Carolinas.

It was a great show….hundreds of Firebirds and Camaros lovingly maintained/restored/modified.

A great tour of GMMG........ Some great vendor displays......... A Beach Party.........

----A weekend built around a way to remember our veterans and those who gave their lives for our country.



But a tragedy happened early Sunday morning.

We (as well as most manufacturers) build performance cars. We build them with many, many safety features. We try to anticipate human error. But some things can’t be anticipated. And it’s especially hard to engineer around bad judgement on the part of the driver.

We put safety belts in all of our cars and trucks.

No…we don’t deserve a gold medal for this…it’s the law…..a GOOD law.

It’s also the law in most States and Provinces that you are supposed to put them on when you get in the vehicle. I guess we'll never know whether or not the fellows in the back seat of the Camaro SS on Windy Hill road would have survived had they had put the belts on.

Windy Hill Road in suburban Atlanta has curves and elevations. It has as I recall, a 35 mph speed limit. It was not designed for cars to travel at three times that speed. (or more)

In some ways, I guess I was fortunate. I was in my hotel room. It was late…it was a long day………I had a great time meeting a lot of great people and spending time with some old friends. So I retired around 1 am and went to sleep. I didn’t have to witness the heartbreaking catastrophe firsthand.

I wasn’t prepared to hear the news the next morning. I am, as I’m sure many others are -- still in shock. And I pray for the families and friends of all involved.

I guess at this point in time, I can only hope that amidst this terrible, terrible tragedy that perhaps those who attended the Gathering…….those of you reading this…….and those who read the newspapers/websites and watched TV will think twice before getting into a car or truck and not putting the safety belt on ---PROPERLY --- each and every time.

Second: If you want to race, take it to the track guys and gals. Or to the dyno. (the dyno doesn’t involve driver error…….)

Simply put: We know these cars are powerful. I like burnouts as much as the next guy or gal………but there is a time and place for that…..and it isn’t in a parking lot or on the street. It’s at the track under controlled conditions.

I don’t ever want to see a street race. I don’t ever want to see another burnout in a parking lot.

And I don’t EVER want to hear about one or more of my fellow enthusiasts……who I care a great deal for…….. being killed in one of our cars or trucks. Is it avoidable? I sure wish it were.

So how ‘bout we make sure we ‘stack the deck’ in our favor?

How ‘bout we make a commitment to each other RIGHT NOW…….that we pledge never to street race – EVER………… (And I don’t care HOW many other motorists are egging you on…….)

How ‘bout we make a commitment to each other RIGHT NOW that we will ALWAYS wear a safety belt…and that goes for everyone in the car or truck with us…………………..

How ‘bout we make a commitment to each other RIGHT NOW that we will tell our loved ones how much they mean to us…….and that we DEMAND that they wear a safety belt………. Every time………no excuses.

You think a safety belt is uncomfortable? Well how about this statistic: A 180 pound human being traveling in a car at 35 miles per hour that strikes a solid object will create THIRTY SIX HUNDRED POUNDS OF FORCE.

Now..........do you want that 3,600 pounds of force to be dissipated by a safety belt or do you want it dissipated by a steering wheel and windshield – or the pavement …do you still think the seatbelt is uncomfortable???

………… some of you may say “Scott…stop with the rant…it’s inappropriate at this time.”
To you I say…” I care about you and my fellow enthusiasts and friends and loved ones. And I don’t want to attend your funeral or see you in a hospital due to an avoidable accident. So if I’m being inappropriate, it’s because I care.”

To the family and friends of those who lost their lives this weekend in Atlanta: You are in my prayers. I don’t know that I or anyone else have the words to console you other than to say how very deeply saddened and sorry I am for your loss. And many of us will be thinking of you for a lot longer than you might imagine.

To the organizers (my very dear friends) of the Atlanta Fbody Gathering: You have worked so long and so hard to put such a great event together. This was not your fault. People come from many states to enjoy the passion that these cars generate. We are indebted to you for your hard work…and we hope we’ll be invited back again next year. Thank you for your hospitality – thank you for your friendship – and thank you for all the good things you do for the F-car community.

To the Associates at the Marriott Atlanta Northwest: Thank you for your kind understanding and for all you did to help everyone through this weekend. You are truly a class act.

In closing, Everyone:
Wear your safety belts.
No more street racing.
Put the cell phone down when behind the wheel.
Practice safe driving habits.
If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. No one should lose his or her life needlessly.

And remember….every time you get behind the wheel…..YOU are in charge. Don’t turn your vehicle into a lethal weapon.

Spread the word.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:09 AM   #2
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Thanks Scott...Althought I don't drag my H2...I do drive over the speed limit from time to time. Considering the size and weight of the H2's 8500lbs (yikes) I could seriously hurt someone if i ran into them...This is also a great reminder to drive carefully all the time. But when I do buy my NEW camaro I'll drive it respectfully! Autocross ...here i come!
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:20 AM   #3
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You know its sad that people tell others not street race and wear their seatbelts and they dont really pay attention until something bad happens. We know you care and thanks for the post Mr. Settlemire.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:28 AM   #4
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Great post. This will be a chain e-mail that I actually send on to people. I drive safely everyday and only plan to let loose on the track as it's not illegal.

Seatbelts are your get out of heaven free card 99% of the time. If you can't use the card, you were driving too recklessly anyways and deserve it. With great power comes great responsibility.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:27 AM   #5
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Exclamation

Wear your belts. Resist temptation. Drive Smart.

Do not be one that ends up on:

http://www.wreckedexotics.com/

or any other "OOPS" forums.

Not real enough? Try this:
http://www.wreckedexotics.com/newpho...0210_002.shtml

http://www.wreckedexotics.com/newpho...d/bad839.shtml

http://www.wreckedexotics.com/newpho...d/bad833.shtml

http://www.wreckedexotics.com/newpho...d/bad821.shtml

Enuff Said?????????
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:49 AM   #6
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Any time the seatbelt discussion comes up, I have to post this. I can't stress using belts enough. Thanks, Scott.

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Old 04-24-2008, 03:58 AM   #7
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I sympathize with the family and friends of the deceased, but we all know that a segment of the V8 Camaro demographic will partake in street racing. The best we can hope for is that this segment will wear their seat belts and be thoughtful about when, where and what conditions they race in. Don't push your car near its handling limits if the area surrounding the road isn't safe (e.g. trees, steep slopes, other cars around, etc). This is where wisdom (and age) often come into play. As an 18 yr old driving a Firebird Formula I had the typical indestructible teen mindset that lead to dangerous driving habits. Now I'm in my mid-30s, married with 2 kids, and I wouldn't dream of such recklessness... but I would still occasionally line up against other cars in the right conditions.

Obviously the track is the best place to push your car to the limit, but not everyone has a drag stip or race track nearby and many can't afford the fees associated with track racing.

I'm confident that GM is doing their part in terms of safety features... air bags, pre-tensioned seat belts, crumple zones, strengthened structure in doors and framing around passenger area, and accelerometers tied to the On-Star system. Handling and braking performance will also improve your odds in crash avoidance maneuvers. GM will do what they can short of creating an overweight, overly expensive, and poorly performing tank.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:29 AM   #8
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:30 AM   #9
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Stick to driving your car as is appropriate to its capabilities and be safe.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:41 AM   #10
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I swear on my Camaro - I have not, do not, and will not street race.


It's more fun at the track, anyways....
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:40 AM   #11
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We have our fair share of this activity in my area and I know people who participate. Call me a jerk, but I don't feel bad for the results of their irresponsibility; I do, however, feel awful for those those actions effect. I won't lie and say that I try to do my part to discourage these activities to these friends, mostly because they won't listen and don't care, and only want to live in the moment, but I DO just pray that nothing bad happens.

This is a great topic Father and you are quite a gentleman to post something like this up.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:00 AM   #12
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Scott, if I ever have the pleasure of meeting you, I would definitely like to shake your hand.

I never let anyone into my car without putting on a seatbelt. Especially when we drive on the Long Island Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Grand Central, or....heck, any road in NYC!!! It's a jungle out here!
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:31 AM   #13
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Scott, if I ever have the pleasure of meeting you, I would definitely like to shake your hand.
I never let anyone into my car without putting on a seatbelt.
You have my word Scott, I shall not street race.

I'll just take the challenges to the track. Seat belts have been hard-coded in me since I was a teen driver. I do not move the car till the passenger has their seat belt on. Should they say they don't wear one, I remind them, then they don't drive with me.

I hope the young kids can see, with great power comes great responsiblity (sorry Uncle Ben, stole his line!).
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:30 PM   #14
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I only take it to the track, and if I see prey on the boulevard maybe
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:03 PM   #15
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Scott, if I ever have the pleasure of meeting you, I would definitely like to shake your hand.

I never let anyone into my car without putting on a seatbelt. Especially when we drive on the Long Island Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Grand Central, or....heck, any road in NYC!!! It's a jungle out here!
Don't I know it!

I lived in Port Jefferson for some time in 1991-1993.........

I remember hitting a rather large 'dip' on 495 close to the Midtown tunnel one night very late.........and I really think I left the ground..........

(from Kennedy Airport tower: "Roger Camaro Convertible -- you are NOT cleared for takeoff!!!)
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:01 PM   #16
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Having once been younger and having the imagined "invincibility", I had to learn the hard way one night....

I totalled a '96 Camaro because I lost control through a corner rated at 35 (while doing 95). I was really fortunate that I didn't get hurt beyond a couple of bruises and a couple scratches. The car, and more importantly the seatbelt, did their jobs. I walked away from the wreckage of my Camaro and was fortunate enough to be able to afford a '99 Camaro as soon as I finished paying off what was left of my '96. Have I been sucked into a moment or two of spirited driving since? Of course! I'm only human (AND I had the fortune to be stationed in Germany for 3 years! VIVA AUTOBAHN!!!!). But in less than a second, I went from invincible to completely vulnerable and insanely LUCKY and that night has stuck with me since. I was one of the lucky ones....

Be safe and be smart. Listen to the Fbod Father!
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:15 AM   #17
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most people can't drive to the cars capabilities. they exceed their own capabilities. and end up killing someone or getting really hurt because they are stupid. go to the track and use the proper safety equipment.

we have plenty of people here in fayetteville that race. and quite a few of them street race. as is the drivers around here suck and I wouldn't much less drive a motorcycle around town here. street racing is just absurd to think about here. but it happens. and then they go to the track and not even use the proper safety equipment. oh well some people never learn.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:28 AM   #18
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I guess we'll never know whether or not the fellows in the back seat of the Camaro SS on Windy Hill road would have survived had they had put the belts on.

Windy Hill Road in suburban Atlanta has curves and elevations. It has as I recall, a 35 mph speed limit. It was not designed for cars to travel at three times that speed. (or more)
WINDY HILL, in Marrietta? WOW... my old base is off windy hill across from the golf course. Parts of Windy Hill will seriously challenge you to say in between the lines at 35mph. People loved to race down that hill though. That really sux. wow... wow. Well, thanks for posting this. It needed to be said.

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Old 04-25-2008, 04:26 AM   #19
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Is street racing that common in the US? It certainly isn't here - in fact I've not once, ever, seen two cars racing on the street. Ever. Then again, our roads are barely wide enough for one of todays sized cars let alone two.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:41 AM   #20
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Having raced on the street for the vast majority of my years (not something I'm proud of) since getting a driver's licence m-a-n-y years ago and having dedicated a whole whack of my time lately trying to make people aware of all consequences of street racing, I've concluded the following:
1) those who wish to street race will do so.
2) those who street race have absolutely no difficulty whatsoever rationalizing or justifying their decision and can rarely be persuaded to change their outlook - that is until something drastic happens to them (and then it's a whole 'nuther story!).
3) virtually without exception, the people who street race, and are then forced to deal with the negative consequences of their actions (getting caught, being involved in an accident etc.) wish they could take back their decision, if they are still alive to do so. Unfortunately, it is usually too late by then to reverse their decisions and/or change the circumstances they find themselves in as a result.
4) street racers as a group seem to generally accept the concept that "it won't happen to me". I'd like to point out that virtually everyone involved in life-changing consequences of their actions felt similarly before the incident happened - because if for 1 second they thought that it could happen to them, I can't understand how they could choose to participate.

As I say, I'm not innocent... however I do feel extremely fortunate to have made it to this ripe old age without ever having had to deal with any of the negative consequences of my actions. I've seen enough carnage to know how lucky I really am to have escaped unharmed or unaffected. I'll never forget the night I found myself at a stoplight on a 4-lane arterial road just north of Toronto. In the other 3 lanes were a Dodge Stealth, a slammed Civic and an Integra. The 2 guys beside me were revvin' their engines and making hand gestures at me to go when the light turned green. I just smiled and waved goodbye to them. The light turned green and off they went, squealing rubber down the road. A couple of minutes later, I rounded a bend and I couldn't believe the scene in front of me... the Stealth had jumped the median and was on the other side of the road, minus its front and rear bumber caps, the Civic was on its roof on my side of the road, the Integra had escaped unscathed and had turned around at the intersection, I guess coming back to help. And there was some poor innocent guy and his wife in a black Grand Cherokee who had ended up being run off the road, I guess, ending up 1/2 way up an embankment. It didn't take me very long to realize that if I had chosen to accept the challenge, I would certainly have been involved in that mess, with who knows what result?!?

My street racing days have been over now for about 7 years and I've become a certified track junkie. This has proven to be a whole lot more satisfying and rewarding, and as others have said, it's the only way to go!
Sure, people are constantly trying to goad me into races at stoplights etc, but I feel I've graduated to the point where I can easily ignore those challenges - it's pretty easy after the experience I just described!

I kind of draw a parallel here to winning big at Vegas... I figure I've been really lucky and just won the jackpot... and I'm takin' my winnings and gettin' outta Dodge.

Best regardSS,

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Old 04-25-2008, 07:44 AM   #21
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Is street racing that common in the US? It certainly isn't here - in fact I've not once, ever, seen two cars racing on the street. Ever. Then again, our roads are barely wide enough for one of todays sized cars let alone two.
I know it's really common by me. Where 495 starts going Eastbound out of the Midtown Tunnel in Queens is a very common "starting point" for street racers. There really no spots for cops to hide for a couple of miles (raised highway) and is usually empty late at night.

It also doesn't help that in my area, there seems to be a lot of parents that buy their young kids very fancy cars they don't know how to properly drive. They still think they're invincible, which is unfortunate because it usually takes an incident for them to change their mindsets.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:03 AM   #22
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Here comes the unpopular statement.

Very common in the U.S. Every city has a scene. Highway "roll" racing is pretty prevalent in Ohio...40 to 140...sometimes another 50mph is added to that even. A constant influx of new blood (kids growing up) and the "old timers" growing up for their kids and family.

Fbod father, I appreciate your sentiment, but I think 95% of car people would be hypocritical to take such an oath. For those of us who do take the oath, it's likely because we're old and have families that we're responsible to...we've had our fun already and don't need to prove ourselves anymore.

Now for the rest of us who sin from time to time. We've done it and will probably do it again under the right circumstances. Pride and dignity can be bad things. If the opponent is inexperienced and outclassed, you've got an out. If the driver is experienced, you've got a choice again...try to schedule a Wednesday of Friday night. If that's "just not going to happen" you still have a choice. No spectators, No traffic, No poles, no ditches, no idiots.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:14 AM   #23
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Just thought of something else.

We shouldn't let our friends drive our new 400 horse Camaros without supervision. They WILL wreck them.

For those of us with Kids. My son is 4. I'm not sure if he's going to be like me or not, but I'm not going to try and get him into racing on my account. If he DOES get into racing...that kid is going to be saddled with a big heavy slow car (with only enough room for two somehow) for as long as I have a say about it. He can drive my car at the track only.

You're going to think this is a bit crazy, but it's only about $1800 bucks to have a 6 point cage and a couple harnesses installed. Yes my kid is going to get one along with a circuit that won't let the car start unless the belts are together. I don't care how crazy it looks. The kids going to have to do something AWFULLY stupid to get killed with that stuff in place. Ever try sitting on a cam-lock? very uncomfortable. Yes, I'm getting a GPS nanny installed in his car without him knowing about it. My family is not a democracy.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:19 AM   #24
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Fbod father, I appreciate your sentiment, but I think 95% of car people would be hypocritical to take such an oath. For those of us who do take the oath, it's likely because we're old and have families that we're responsible to...
Young people can be responsible too, just as those old people you were talking about can be irresponsible, I've seen a lot of dads zooming through traffic, no turn signal, in their mini-vans, with kids in the back.


Idiocy has no age requirements.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:10 AM   #25
briannutter
 
Drives: C4Vette,C5-Z06,Cherokee
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cleveland
Posts: 43
While that's true...there are lame...oops sorry-responsible young people; I can assure you I was the looniest of the loonies at age 16 and I get more mellow (read lame) every year. I may be 36 on the outside, but I'm about 24 on the inside. The only thing that's helped slow me down was being responsible to others. Same goes for most people if they're honest with themselves.
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