After viewing such a horrific collision, with a broken neck injury, human nature is to assign culpability to someone; someone must “take the blame”. In the case of this crash, it was determined that the driver of the Maxima was 100% to blame and was issued a life-time ban to ever participate in a Lemons event again.
The crash was certainly quite frightening and the injuries serious. In defense of Tyler’s pass attempt, he could not have reached the group of cars at a better spot – exiting a corner going into a short straight – with greater speed. He analyzed the track position of the cars and determined that his closing speed was fast enough and the gap wide enough to successfully pass all the 3 cars by T11. This was nowhere near reckless, not overly aggressive and not an unreasonable pass actually (IMHO)
Rick, (driver of car #44) on the other hand made the wide somewhat outside line to leave plenty of room from the car he was passing on the right. Then by what Rick told me, the Hooked On Driving course taught him (rightfully) to always look up the track, which is what he was doing. Tyler probably assumed Rick was so wide left because he was leaving room for him to pass, when in fact he was just leaving plenty of room from the car Rick was passing. I told Rick that in order to avoid possible contact with a car under braking, “offset” your car slightly from the car in front when entering a braking zone, that way there is more room to maneuver , swerve or take evasion action, should the situation arise, than if you’re lined-up directly behind the car in-front when you start your braking. After the nice wide pass of the car on his right, Rick started to smoothly and gradually move to the right so he wouldn’t be directly behind the Miata when entering the T11 braking area.
Now this is something Tyler did not know, namely that Rick was going to move to his right to position himself to be “offset” from the Miata in front of him. Rick did not check his mirrors to see where the Cavalier was, he was looking up the track and at the Miata, so as he moved over to his right, he was shutting the door right as Tyler was making his pass. Clearly the Cavalier was passed Rick on drivers right, but since Rick was looking so far up the track, Rick told me that it seemed as though the Cavalier appeared “out of nowhere” and by the time he saw Tyler, it somewhat surprised him and they touched before he could move slightly to the left (or stop moving to his right).
Perhaps I’m a bit predisposed because Rick is a good friend but I can’t see that this tragic accident is nothing more than a racing incident. In other words no one driver is 100% culpable for this accident –there is enough to go around. It was a racing accident, without malice or intent on anyone’s part.
Tyler, my hopes, wishes and prayers are for fast and full recovery.