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MRTI: TJ Fischer joins Team Pelfrey USF2000 lineup

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TJ Fischer joins the previously announced Robert Megennis and Jordan Cane with Team Pelfrey’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda program for the 2016 season, with the 21-year-old announced on Thursday.

The full release is below:

Team Pelfrey announced today that TJ Fischer will sign with Team Pelfrey for the 2016 season in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Fischer, 21, arrives at Team Pelfrey after competing in Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS during the 2015 season where the Vacaville, C.A. native raced on world class circuits throughout Europe and managed a career-best 5th place finish at Monza and a 7th place finish at GP de Pau. Fischer claimed 8th place overall in the championship, the highest finishing rookie.

“I’m stoked to be joining Team Pelfrey’s organization under their USF2000 program. The team as a whole is very professional and goes about racing in a methodical manner that has results to back-up what they’re doing,” said Fischer.

Fischer will pilot the No. 82 Rathbun Associates-sponsored Team Pelfrey Mazda when the green flag waves in St. Petersburg, Fla. On March 11, 2016.

“I’m excited to have Rathbun Associates onboard for this season as the title sponsor. As always, results aren’t the only incentive for sponsors and it’s as much to do with how I’m able to deliver for them off the track that makes the difference. Also, a big thanks to our associate sponsors which include Kunshan Haixin Precision Hardware and Electronics, XComGlobal, MeUndies, ONNIT Supplements, Molecule, Adidas Motorsport and Bell Helmets. We’re excited to continue our brand building with our friends and supporters to date as well as bringing onboard our new partners. We’re still working with a few more partners that we hope to announce soon.”

Fischer’s love for motorsports began when he was ten years old racing karts in Northern California. In 2013, he captured the Formula Car Challenge National Championship, the SCCA Majors Western Conference Championship, and the Formula Car Challenge Western Conference Championship. In 2014, Fischer raced for Cliff Dempsey Racing Team in BARC Protyre Formula Renault Series where he finished the season with six top-5 finishes and in 6th place in the overall season championship.

“Honestly, I’m excited to head into the 2016 season with the confidence of a solid team capable of winning behind me, as well as a really well thought out testing plan to get myself gelled with the car and team. New year, new team, new continent of racing circuits. Time to get to business.”

Fischer’s teammates are Mazda Road to Indy newcomers, Robert Megennis and Jordan Cane. The 2016 season will see Team Pelfrey become the only team to operate at every level of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, as well as the F1600 Formula F Championship Series.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

James Black/IndyCar
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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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