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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 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. 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 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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Wear your belts. Resist temptation. Drive Smart.

Do not be one that ends up on:

or any other "OOPS" forums.

Not real enough? Try this:

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.

Last edited by 2xtrbo; 04-24-2008 at 10:24 AM.
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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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Originally Posted by Croathlete View Post
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

The first rule of modding something that's not American is to not try to compete with modded V8 cars that are American. Really, they can run insane power with little investment. It's not even a fair fight.
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