Molson Indy will have better fences this year
Feb. 20, 1997
TORONTO (AP) _ Ontario's chief coroner has recommended improvements to track fences following a 1996 crash during the Molson Indy that killed a race driver and an official.
Dr. Robert Huxter called for changes to track barriers and protective fencing in a report of 20 recommendations released Thursday.
``The barrier behind which workers were operating was supposed to protect them from crashes,'' Huxter said. ``They just didn't know this type of incident would occur.''
Rookie driver Jeff Krosnoff of La Canada, Calif., and track marshal Gary Avrin of Calgary were killed last July 14 when Krosnoff's car touched tires with another car toward the end of the race on a high-speed section of track.
Krosnoff's car became airborne, flew over a retaining wall less than a yard high and struck two marshals before hitting a tree and a cement light post.
Avrin was killed immediately and Barbara Johnston received minor injuries. Krosnoff, whose car disintegrated on impact, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Following the accident, there were questions about the safety of temporary tracks like those in Toronto and Vancouver, where a worker was killed in 1990.
However, Kirk Russell, vice-president of Championship Auto Racing Teams, said Thursday that track standards in Toronto are superior to others around the world.
``Street circuits are not compromised circuits. The safety activities, the barriers and fencing, in most cases often exceed other circuits.''
However, the coroner's report recommended fencing be added to the top of concrete barriers and along pit areas to protect track officials and keep race cars from coming in contact with such objects as light posts.
The five-month investigation, which also reviewed medical response to the accident, concluded that critical minutes can be saved in the future by integrating race response teams with local ambulance service.
``The Molson Indy fully concurs with the report and has already begun implementation of the recommendations for the 1997 event,'' said Michael Smith, the race's general manager.
The coroner announced there won't be an investigation into the death of the two men.
Officials agreed the crash was an accident that was part of the risk of car racing.
``Racing at speeds in excess of 180 miles an hour is, of course, very exciting. ... Inherent, however, in the activity is the potential for tragic consequences,'' said Andrew Craig, CART president.
``We believe that the findings outlined here will be extremely helpful as we race into 1997.''