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Old 05-27-2008, 03:51 AM   #1
SubyFi
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Unhappy Tragic Accident at Willow Springs Raceway (Big Willow)

There was a tragic accident on turn 9 on Big Willow at the NASA Pro Racing HPDE on May 24. My condolences go out to Joe Drey's family.

Here is a photo of Joe Drey I got from his rotary club website.


Services Friday for Former Capistrano Commissioner

Quote:
May 27, 2008


By Jonathan Volzke, The Capistrano Dispatch

Waves of shock and sadness rolled through San Juan Capistrano Monday as word spread about a weekend auto-racing accident that claimed the life of former Planning Commissioner and Rotarian Joe Drey.

Drey, 75, died after an accident Saturday at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park in Kern County, where he was driving his 2002 Mini Cooper.

“His passing has broken our hearts,” his family said in a statement. “We are most grateful for having surprised him this past February with a family gathering in Healdsburg California, celebrating his 75th birthday. Joe said it was the best gift he could ever have had.”

His wife, Valerie, said Joe died doing something he loved. “What more could anyone hope to have,” she said. “We will never get over his day to day absence from our lives but we are ever so grateful we had him at all.”

A Rosary for Drey was scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mission Basilica, where a funeral Mass was scheduled for noon on Friday, May 30. He was to be buried immediately afterward at Ascension Cemetery, 24754 Trabuco Road in Lake Forest.

Drey was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2004. On his commission application, he noted that he had served on the Westminster Planning Commission and had been a vice president of two companies. He earned his bachelor of arts from Loyola University and, like Valerie, was also a licensed real estate broker.

“Joe did his homework and he loved San Juan Capistrano,” said Sheldon Cohen, a longtime member of the Planning Commission who served with Drey. “He was a good guy. A great guy. I got sick to my stomach when I heard what happened.”

An avid driver, Drey stepped down from Rotary and the Planning Commission in 2007 to spend more time with his family, and on the track. As he told The Dispatch then: “I'm finally totally retired and can spend all the time I want with Valerie, family and my grandkids in Walnut Creek, [as well as] spending fun time on racetracks with my modified Mini ... plus not having interruptions to our beloved three-week trips to Italy.”
Joe Drey was also a wine connoisseur. He and Valerie are members of Mission Parish Church and were supporters of the old Mission.

Drey recruited Capistrano resident Larry Kramer to join Rotary shortly after meeting in a coffee shop. Kramer went on to be president of the local club, again at Drey’s recommendation.

“I am very sad to hear of the passing of Joe Drey,” Kramer said. “Joe was my sponsor and mentor in Rotary … At some point later Joe resigned from Rotary to devote time, as he said, to racing and travel. Again, Joe realized his interests now were elsewhere and rather than go a something half-hearted, he wanted to give it his full attention.

“He was a great friend and Rotarian. Whenever I saw him, he lit up when he talked about Italy and racing his Mini-Cooper. I will always remember Joe.”

Willow Springs is in the Rosamond area of Kern County, about 140 miles north of San Juan Capistrano. Willow Springs is actually made up of six race courses, but the main track is a 2.5 road course with nine turns that the Willow Springs Web site describes as “super fast.” According to the Web site, the course is unchanged from when it opened in 1953, and allows speeds between 70 mph and 170 mph in the corners and up to 200 mph possible on the straightaway.

Drey’s Mini-Cooper S crashed in turn nine, the last before the finish line/pit stop area. The weekend’s events were sponsored by the National Auto Sports Association, an amateur racing group. Details were sketchy, but Drey was airlifted from the track to a hospital. He died Sunday after undergoing several surgeries.

He is survived by his wife Valerie, four children and seven grandchildren, his sister Edda, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. His family includes daughter Christina Aliseo, son-in-law William Ray and grandson Tyler Witte; daughter Lisa Crist, son-in-law Bob Crist, granddaughter Stephanie Crist and grandson Bryan Crist. He also leaves behind a son, Kurt Michael Drey, daughter-in-law Audrey Darlene Drey, granddaughter Sunflower Camille Drey and grandson Kai Indigo Drey; another son, Kristopher Drey, daughter-in-law Ellen Drey, grandson Jack Drey and granddaughter Livia Drey.

The family asks that donations be made to the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Fund in lieu of flowers. Donations can be made at www.missionsjc.com/donations.html
http://www.nasaproracing.com/news/20...ces-pas-1.html
Quote:
NASA regretfully announces passing of Joe Drey
Posted May 27, 2008

The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) regretfully announces that Joe Drey of San Juan Capistrano, CA has succumbed to injuries suffered in an accident on May 24, 2008 at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. Joe was participating in a NASA event behind the wheel of his beloved Mini Cooper S and despite the best efforts of the rescue team onsite and the medical teams at the hospital, he has now left us.

Joe started racing at 15 enjoying street drags with his friends. He got into formal track racing with an early 60's Corvette when he was in his early 20's. He eventually transitioned into Porsches, owning several over 3 decades and racing them all over California with a trailer and his own crew consisting of his two sons. As he got older he pulled away from the sport and it wasn't until the new Mini came out and he got the 9th one off the boat that his passion welled up in him again. He began immediately modifying the car and loading up on gear while frequenting his favorite track Willow Springs and taking courses including two trainings with Bob Bondurant.

Joe's family has asked that donations be made to the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Fund in lieu of flowers. Donations can be made at http://www.missionsjc.com/donations.html
Official statement from NASA released 5/28/08:

nasaforums.com • View topic - Willow Accident- Statement of Facts

Quote:
Dear NASA members and racing community,

A tragic accident occurred at Willow Springs Raceway on May 24th which resulted in life threatening injuries to one of our members. Due to the number of erroneous accounts posted on the internet including supposed “first hand reports” which we know are false, we are publishing this statement of facts in hopes that the racing community will be respectful of the family and refrain from further uninformed speculation.

At 11:30am Joseph Drey was driving his 2002 Mini Cooper S in NASA’s High Performance Driving Experience when the vehicle left the racing surface at the exit of Turn 9 and subsequently turned back across the track. While sliding across the infield dirt, the vehicle rolled an unknown number of times, landing upright but causing the driver to be partially ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle sustained the most significant damage located in the right rear, with additional damage extending to all remaining portions of the vehicle. The left front wheel assembly was separated from the vehicle while the other wheel assemblies remained attached. A fixed back racing seat was properly installed and remains securely attached he the vehicle. A DOT approved 4 point harness restraint system was being utilized. Rescue teams were performing lifesaving measures within 1 minute from when the car stopped rolling and immediate medical aid was administered by NASA Safety, paramedics, and 2 physicians. The patient was transported to the hospital via air ambulance where further medical treatment occurred.

It is with great regret we must recount this tragedy and all information from this event will be analyzed by experts and/or manufacturers. Should anything be learned which could improve the environment for our drivers, changes will be reflected in the NASA Club Codes and Regulations.

Sincerely,


Ryan Flaherty
National Chairman
National Auto Sport Association
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Last edited by SubyFi; 05-29-2008 at 02:08 PM. Reason: For people who do not read the whole thread.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:25 AM   #2
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RIP Joe.

At least he went with his driving gloves on. There are worse ways to go.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:53 AM   #3
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Went out doing what he loved! Too bad he had to be taken too soon though. Do you think this will impact the track in any way?
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:21 PM   #4
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My condolences to the family.

What happened?
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:48 PM   #5
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Found this on the net:

Quote:
speedform from SoCalEvo posted: "NASA has been trying to keep a tight lip on the incident but from the reports we got from the safety crew on sight, the MINI went air-born and rolled multiple times. The car did not have a rollbar but the driver was wearing a 4 point harness (the smaller 2" kind from what we heard). After that the details become sketchy. Some were saying that his seat collapsed (which if you saw the car could easily understand how that would have happened), that the driver was partially ejected and a few other items that are a little to gruesome to discuss here. Again, how much of this is true or just rumor I cannot say. I did see the car later that day and from some angles was nearly impossible to tell what it was. A truly horrific crash.
RIP Mr. Drey."
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:30 PM   #6
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thats really sad.

RIP
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:05 PM   #7
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Wow!!! My prayers go out to his family!!!
That is ssssooooo sad!!!
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:09 PM   #8
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Hoping this doesn't turn out to be a harness + no bar = bad idea case.

RIP.

I'd rather go doing something I love for what its worth.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:15 PM   #9
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i was running hdpe this weekend and saw the accident. he was wearing that smaller 4 point harness on a stock seat and no roll bar. the seat collapsed and the shoulder harness fell to the side. he ended up in the passenger seat partially out of the car.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:20 PM   #10
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Did you witness the actual crash? I read that he lost it in turn 9 and then tried to save it. But ended up skidding into a ditch which caused the car to roll.

edit:
he posts here.
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...2&postcount=99

Last edited by SubyFi; 05-27-2008 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plzhelpmegrow View Post
i was running hdpe this weekend and saw the accident. he was wearing that smaller 4 point harness on a stock seat and no roll bar. the seat collapsed and the shoulder harness fell to the side. he ended up in the passenger seat partially out of the car.
Ok. I didn't know if he his injuries were a result of the roof coming down and him remaining vertical because of the harness (primarily why you shouldn't wear a harness without a bar).

Sounds horrific. His lap belt, stock or with the harness presumably would have resisted displacement like that.

Sad sad stuff...
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:22 PM   #12
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Man that sucks...

I guess we finally have first hand proof that you either run all stock, or all modified safety equipment.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue blurr View Post
Man that sucks...

I guess we finally have first hand proof that you either run all stock, or all modified safety equipment.

Has anyone pointed to anything indicating the harness caused harm? If it wasn't an injury in compression, the only other thing might be that a diagonal shoulder belt would have stayed higher on his chest than the fallen shoulder straps. That could be the case, but its hard to know that for sure.

There are plenty of first hand instances of the wrong combination of aftermarket and stock causing harm...
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX8 View Post
Hoping this doesn't turn out to be a harness + no bar = bad idea case.
There is definitely some validity to that idea. Street cars and their safety equipment are not designed for the violence of the incidents that can occur on the racetrack.

It's important that people understand the risks that are inherent even in HPDE. Motorsports are dangerous. It's up to the individual to accept the risks associated with the safety gear they choose to use.

HPDE has become so popular and widespread that I think some may not understand the risks involved.


Gary Sheehan
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www.garysheehan.com
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:30 PM   #15
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Here is a photo of Joe Drey I got from his rotary club website.



http://www.nasaproracing.com/news/20...ces-pas-1.html
Quote:
NASA regretfully announces passing of Joe Drey
Posted May 27, 2008

The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) regretfully announces that Joe Drey of San Juan Capistrano, CA has succumbed to injuries suffered in an accident on May 24, 2008 at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. Joe was participating in a NASA event behind the wheel of his beloved Mini Cooper S and despite the best efforts of the rescue team onsite and the medical teams at the hospital, he has now left us.

Joe started racing at 15 enjoying street drags with his friends. He got into formal track racing with an early 60's Corvette when he was in his early 20's. He eventually transitioned into Porsches, owning several over 3 decades and racing them all over California with a trailer and his own crew consisting of his two sons. As he got older he pulled away from the sport and it wasn't until the new Mini came out and he got the 9th one off the boat that his passion welled up in him again. He began immediately modifying the car and loading up on gear while frequenting his favorite track Willow Springs and taking courses including two trainings with Bob Bondurant.

Joe's family has asked that donations be made to the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Fund in lieu of flowers. Donations can be made at http://www.missionsjc.com/donations.html

Last edited by SubyFi; 05-27-2008 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:35 PM   #16
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I thought there was another incident with an STI that crashed where they got two wheels into the dirt and got back on the track and then lost it and crashed into one of the few barriers on the course. perhaps I'm thinking of another track. It sounds like this is another case of where the driver should just be both feet in.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:41 PM   #17
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That may have been Streets of Willow, another track inside Willow Springs Raceway. There was a white STi that hit a green wall in the inside of the front straight going clockwise. http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...eets+of+willow

I agree with both feet in. I never try to save it and rather just go straight off and stop safely.

Last edited by SubyFi; 05-27-2008 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:52 PM   #18
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RIP, my prayers will be with him and his family.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:56 PM   #19
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If the seat collapsed it probably wouldn't have mattered what type of belt he had.

Very sad.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea View Post
If the seat collapsed it probably wouldn't have mattered what type of belt he had.

Absolutely correct.

Very unfortunate.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:01 PM   #21
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** Speculation

From the posts, it sounds like he flipped the car and that caused the seat to collapse. In that case, it wouldn't have mattered if he wore a standard belt IMO. If I go to an HDPE I plan to get at least a half cage and 5 pt harness. I save my Scroth rallye harnesses for AX.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:57 AM   #22
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Photos removed.

http://www.northamericanmotoring.com...5&postcount=29

Quote:
Furthermore, we were asked that no graphic pictures of the wrecked MINI be posted. Therefore, existing ones on NAM have been removed - they have only served to upset the crash victim's family.

I am passing along the request of the family that posters maintain respect and decorum when discussing this tragedy.

Last edited by SubyFi; 05-29-2008 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:58 AM   #23
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Rip. =(
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:21 AM   #24
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This is very unfortunate to read about. From the pics, It does appear that he did have an aftermarket driving seat.
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:28 AM   #25
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really sucks

someone died at the Altamont 24 hours of Lemons recently also

RIP man! you lived your life well!
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