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Aug 25, 2001

Pocono Haybale Placement In Lopez Crash Not My Fault, Pro-Motion's Goldman Says

Team Pro-Motion's Glenn Goldman said Friday that it wasn't his fault that Grant Lopez hit a row of haybales placed in a run-off area during the Pro-Motion track day at Pocono International Raceway on Tuesday, and that he had nothing to do with the placement of the haybales.<BR><BR>Formula USA officials said Wednesday that they could see no reason for the haybales to be placed at that location. The haybales were removed for the start of practice on Thursday.<BR><BR>A post on identified Lopez's crash as occuring during the Pro Motion track day and, based on reports from his mechanic, Todd Fenton, stated that Lopez ran off the track and hit the inexplicably-placed row of haybales. On Friday, Team Pro Motion instructor Mike Himmelsbach said that he saw the incident and in fact Lopez crashed and then slid into the haybales.<BR><BR>Whatever happened, it resulted in Lopez hitting the row of haybales, being knocked out and suffering a concussion and being airlifted to an area hospital. Lopez was conscious prior to arrival of the helicopter, but Fenton was told that it was standard procedure for an airlift to be summoned if a rider is unconcious, and that once the helicopter took off it was too late to call off the airlift.<BR><BR>Complaining about the post on Lopez's crash, Goldman said "Pocono Raceway runs the safety aspects of the track during my club days. Pro-Motion has rider's meetings, control riders, and cornerworkers but the track controls haybale placement and issues related to safety." Goldman added that when Lopez fell Tuesday that he was not allowed near the crash scene by Pocono officials.<BR><BR>"I feel that I run a safe environment at my Pro-Motion club days," continued Goldman. "I average about one hospital transport out of every six of my track riding days. I only have about three crashes at each day total. That's a lot less than some other clubs that run track days at Pocono." <BR><BR>Goldman said that he limits his track days to 160 riders divided into four groups of 40 and says that other organizations have no limits for their days or for track density.<BR><BR>One track official, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Goldman's Pro-Motion days are probably as safe if not safer than any of the motorcycle track riding clubs that offer track time at Pocono. That same official said that the decision to airlift Lopez from the track was made by a paramedic on the scene that was following set procedures based on Lopez's symptoms of unconsciousness, labored breathing and gurgling sounds. The track official also added that if the medical staff did make an error in judgement that they erred on the side of safety and precaution.<BR><BR>The paramedics absolutely shredded Lopez's Kushitani leathers--with multiple cuts up the chest, each in the middle of a panel instead of even attempting to cut near seams, a typical practice of paramedics familiar with motorcycle racing and which would have allowed the suit to be repaired. The paramedics also cut off Lopez's inner suit and even cut the belt of his back protector instead of unfastening the plastic buckle.