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Next, itll be catalytic converters.



January 20, 2006

Petty: Drivers, crews worry about lead exposure
By DINAH VOYLES PULVER
Staff Writer

http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/Headlines/frtHEAD02NEXT012006.htm

Anybody who's ever worked on a car knows how easy it is to get really irritated, but a new medical study shows NASCAR mechanics and drivers may have more reason than most -- the lead in their racing fuel.

That's one reason NASCAR will use unleaded fuel for its racecars and trucks beginning in 2008, making the switch from the high-octane leaded fuel that it has used for decades, according to a report in The New York Times.

The fuel, Sunoco 260 GTX, will be used in NASCAR's three main racing series -- Nextel Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck. It was already being used in the Grand American road racing series.

Although NASCAR has not mandated that teams wear protective gloves or use air filters when working with leaded fuel or near exhaust fumes, at least one team has opted to make those changes. Penske Racing South employees were tested late last year and some lead exposure was detected, so protective gear was added, The Times report said.

"It's about time," Penske Racing South's president, Don Miller, said of the switch to unleaded fuel. "I know that they had been looking at it for a long time."

Leaded fuel had been a concern for Kyle Petty, the third generation of a legendary auto racing family.

"You got to be worried about it. You should be worried about it," said Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises Inc. and driver of the No. 45 Dodge. "I think anybody should be worried about it."

Especially the guys who work on the engines, Petty said Thursday. "They're running engines, working with carburetors, being around fuel all the time."

When the rest of the U.S. had to give up leaded gas under a federal ban in 1986, the racing and airline industries were exempted. Since then, national studies have shown that the level of lead in humans has plummeted.

But tests by a pair of doctors at the Indiana University School of Medicine showed that after a November 2004 race the members of one NASCAR racing team had overall lead levels nearly 10 times higher than the average adult in one national study.

The doctors, Joseph O'Neil and Gregory Steele, said they found elevated levels of lead in 40 percent or 19 of the 47 members of the team. Privacy laws won't allow the doctors to identify the team.

The doctors were looking for a connection between what team members do and the level of lead in their blood. And they say they found it.

Crew members working on engines, brakes and at the rear of the car while it's running in the pits had higher levels of lead than those who didn't, the doctors said during a telephone interview Thursday.

And the crew members with higher lead levels had symptoms consistent with that lead exposure -- weakness in their hands, feet and wrists, irritability, headaches and concentration problems.

The doctors stress their study is too small to draw specific conclusions and that more study is needed. They hope to study other teams and NASCAR officials and are trying to get grant money to pay for it. They've heard other teams are interested.

"It's important for other crews, other drivers and NASCAR officials in the pits to be looked at to see what their lead levels are," Dr. Steele said.

The study did not include any other testing, including soil and air tests at a track, but the doctors said such tests would be useful. The doctors did say it's unlikely fans in the stands or crew members who don't work on cars would be exposed to worrisome levels of lead.

But a draft EPA report published online in December expressed concern about crew members and fans being exposed to lead.

NASCAR approached the EPA in 2001 to talk about a partnership to eliminate lead in racing fuel within three to five years, an agency spokeswoman said this week.

The simplest steps that team members can do are the same things anyone can do when they're exposed to harmful substances, the doctors said.

Wear latex gloves when they're using solvents, wash their hands thoroughly after working with solvents and change their clothes as soon as they're done at the end of the day. For engine builders who touch lead on the valves, Dr. O'Neil said a simple glove can minimize exposure almost completely.

Crew members who breathe exhaust fumes could reduce their exposure by using breathing filtration systems, the doctors said. The Petty team has taken steps to limit its exposure, Petty said.

Fuel is stored outside the shop in a different building. They use only the fuel needed to test engines and all the fuel is emptied out when the cars are put on the truck.

Ultimately though, Petty said he's more worried about radiation from all the X-rays he gets after wrecks than he is about lead.

It was a different concern of NASCAR drivers that first got the Indiana doctors interested in a study.

They read news reports on the drivers' concerns about carbon monoxide poisoning and learned that NASCAR uses leaded racing fuels. "If they're being exposed to carbon monoxide," Steele said, "they're also being exposed to lead."

The doctors said the last study they could find on lead exposure in the racing industry was in 1968. Besides NASCAR, leaded fuel also is used at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville.
 

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.... I wonder if that is why I can be so incredibly irritable ... :dontknow: :(
 

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wallcrawlr said:
Next, itll be catalytic converters.
I think their cars should be fitted with airbags, especially side curtain ones. :smile:
 

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Maybe they should go back to actually racing factory modified cars.. instead of tube-frame, fiberglass-bodied racing tanks with engines that bear zero resemblence to the makes/models they claim to represent.
 

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maybe they should just junk the whole series and piss off 200 million ********.
 
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meh i say stick with carbs too much electircal crap,..... i can not believe there going to use unleaded, you just helped me realize when im going to stop watching nascar,.. 2008... uh thats stupid. whats next? outfit the cars with tractoin control? put on a even smaller diameter restrictor plate for superspeedways?? uh,... nascar is turning into a panzy sport..... ran by people who only care about the green as in $$$

Maybe they should go back to actually racing factory modified cars.. instead of tube-frame, fiberglass-bodied racing tanks with engines that bear zero resemblence to the makes/models they claim to represent.
then it would be boring,.. im pressuming the cars wouldnt be as aero efficent as they are now... they do go to wind tunnels you know... there not just scrap metal welded togeather to kinda sorta resemble something.
 
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4 spd manual actually... you know they use a huge hurst shifter,. pretty hard to miss...
 
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OH NO!!!

UNLEADED GAS WILL SURELY EFFECT THEIR LEFT TURNING CAPABILITY!

f'n hillbillies... thought of the day... if every nascar fan died tommorow, the nations average IQ would double!
 

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Whats the big deal with unleaded? :dontknow: I don't get the big fuss. So what. Didn't the rest of the world start using unleaded sometime in the last century.

They make unleaded race fuel.

It's a motor. Who cares what it runs on? As long as everyone is using the same stuff then it's still racing.
 

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Yup. Racing is racing, even if NASCAR doesn't interest me unless they're road racing. Just the same, I'd give Seth's left testicle to ride in one.
 

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They wont get any more power with FI. Drivability could be made better. But WOT would not be any better.
The cars can already do 200+mph.. why do you need to go faster?
Also using FI opens up a completely new way of cheating. Anyone remmebr showroom stock racing in the 1980s? Corvette and the secret radio reprogramming?

Has anyone noticed the huge defection of engineers from european racing, like F1 to NASCAR?
 

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that... is... so... cool. Amazing. In car video would prevent that now-a-days.

When Mark martin went to change the station on his radio, despite his car not having speakers, people might question it on the video.
 

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shimric said:
meh i say stick with carbs too much electircal crap,..... i can not believe there going to use unleaded, you just helped me realize when im going to stop watching nascar,.. 2008... uh thats stupid. whats next? outfit the cars with tractoin control? put on a even smaller diameter restrictor plate for superspeedways?? uh,... nascar is turning into a panzy sport..... ran by people who only care about the green as in $$$



then it would be boring,.. im pressuming the cars wouldnt be as aero efficent as they are now... they do go to wind tunnels you know... there not just scrap metal welded togeather to kinda sorta resemble something.
Watch some SCCA or ALMS or European touring road racing sometime and then try to tell me that it's boring.. Yeah, none of those are showroom stock, but they're a lot more similar to a car you can actually buy than anything in Nascar since the 70s.
 
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