Innovative new system is proven to improve driver safety. MARNE, MI -- Berlin Raceway is on the cutting edge of technology with the implementation of a new driver safety system for the 2003 season, which begins Saturday. The Audible Alert...
Innovative new system is proven to improve driver safety.
MARNE, MI -- Berlin Raceway is on the cutting edge of technology with the implementation of a new driver safety system for the 2003 season, which begins Saturday.
The Audible Alert Track Warning System, developed by Invader Technologies founder Dave Skeen, is the first ever sound-based track warning system. It sends a short audible tone to notify every driver at exactly the same time when there is a caution on the track. While it cannot eliminate the primary accident, it is very possible with the Audible Alert system to drastically reduce dangerous multiple-car accidents that occur when one driver reacts to a caution while the car behind is still racing at full speed. With the audible alert tone, the entire field can slow down and make evasive maneuvers knowing that the car behind them is fully aware of the caution on the track. This not only makes racing safer for the drivers, but also reduces costs for the race teams. Car counts are increased and the race is quicker, delivering a better racing product for the fans.
Drivers also receive an alert tone when the track goes green. Using the green tone makes the starts and re-starts much cleaner since every driver knows at the same instant when the track goes green instead of relying on the action of the car in front of him.
Berlin Raceway Director of Racing Operations Joe Sack said that driver safety was the main reason the track is implementing the new system.
"We're definitely at the forefront of safety in short track racing," Sack said. "In the interest of our competitors, we feel we need to help them with safety while at the same time saving them money. The number one benefit of this system is less driver deaths or injuries; but the most evident by-product of the system will be the thousands of dollars the racers will save in not having to fix or replace equipment wrecked in secondary accidents."
The system has been tested extensively at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, CO during the last two years. In 2001 the system was run in the Super Stock division at Colorado, an entry-level division with a large variance in experience levels and a history of having many large accidents. In 2000 without the Audible Alert, the Colorado National Speedway Super Stock division was the worst division for accident rates (many of which were large secondary wrecks that wiped out many cars); had several accidents during re-starts; had the lowest rate of finishing within allotted time limit with many races called off after 10-12 laps in an hour; and had decreased car counts during the season due to cars being knocked out from accidents.
In 2001 using the Audible Alert system, Colorado National Speedway's Super Stock division was the best division with the lowest accident rates; no large secondary wrecks; no wrecks during re-starts; all races were completed within the time limit including several that finished in less than 15 minutes; and had the highest car counts of any division with over 40 cars showing up to qualify for 28 spots.
Berlin Raceway is one of the first tracks in the country to implement the system for all divisions. The system has also been tested by NASCAR Winston Cup series officials, who are considering implementation of it in the near future after positive test results at Homestead.