With multiple fires in recent years, a warning has been issued regarding fuel containers
On Saturday night, Rick Eckert and family unloaded at the familiar Port Royal Speedway for the ULMS show.
While fueling the car, a fire erupted in his pit area. The car was backed up to the hauler and the fire entered the rear of the hauler in the process.
Rick Eckert’s grandson Lennox was in the back of the hauler. He suffered burns and was airlifted to a burn facility where he is currently being treated.
The racing community has stepped up as a whole. Various fund raisers have taken place for Lennox.
For example, World of Outlaws driver Brad Sweet is auctioning off a racing suit to the highest bidder on Thursday night. Selinsgrove Speedway in Pennsylvania raised $5,000 for the family.
Eckert family comments
“Firstly, we are a racing family! Racing is our life and we have raced as a family since Courtney was a baby,” Kristal Eckert opened via social media.
“Last evening while we were enjoying family time at the fair and races, there was a horrible accident. Our grandson Lennox was playing with his cars in the back of the trailer like he often does.”
“As the car was being fueled, static electricity caused the fuel to catch fire and the fire went into the trailer and severely burned Lennox.”
“We was life life flighted to Lehigh Valley Burn Center where he is in serious condition in the icu. Our hearts are broken into pieces!”
“We are extremely thankful for the support of all our friends, family and racing community at this tragic time! The track personnel and everyone involved in his care were amazing!”
“Also, thanks to the teams around us quick response, the fire was put out quickly.”
“As it is hard to reply to everyone, we have read all the heartfelt messages and are so very appreciative of each of you! Please continue to pray for our sweet boy as he will recover but has a long road ahead!”
“I wanted to give everyone an update on Lennox. Words cannot express our gratitude for everyone reaching out and keeping Len in their thoughts and prayers,” Cody Mobley stated via social media.
“We are absolutely blown away by the support we are receiving both near and far, you all are truly amazing!! The power of prayer and god is truly working. We had a bit of a rough morning coming out of sedation, but the breathing tube was removed just before lunch.”
“Most of his afternoon was spent napping. This evening he has been much more active, we even managed to get a couple smiles out of him. He did get to eat two ice pops all by himself and just had a chocolate milk!! Spending the rest of the evening relaxing and watching toonies!!
Rocket Chassis issues warning on fuel containers
“After the very unfortunate incident that happened Sat night at Port Royal Speedway with my good friend Rick Eckert’s Grandson, I feel like I need to get a message out to all racers. Because we deal with so many in the racing community, I first want everyone to pray for Lennox and the entire Eckert Family. I couldn’t imagine their pain,” Rocket Chassis opened in a letter.
“The fueling of a race car or the transfer of fuel to containers is a very dangerous task and sometimes we forget we are dealing with a highly volatile substance. Over the last 6-8 years there has been quite a few incidents that we have heard of with fueling of race cars or transferring fuel product. The one common denominator is a filter of some kind in the fuel.”
“3-5 years ago, it was a mesh nylon type filter that was common and I had a number of customers that had fires. I thought everyone knew not to use a mesh type of filter because people were having fires.”
Previous racing fires
“About 2 summers ago, we had a fire here at Rocket Chassis with a customer filling a 55 gal drum and Steve Baker, my partner received some burns. When we determined the cause of the fire the customer was using a filter inside a funnel and the static electricity caused the fire. The funnel has a paper cartridge type of filter which I had never seen.”
“Last year, Chase Junghans had a fire at his shop fueling with a fuel filter. This year, racers Ryan Gustin and Jason Fager had fires with the same type of funnel, with a filter.”
Cause of racing fuel fires
“The only thing that can be happening is the filter (no matter what type) is causing the fuel to aerate (more air to fuel) and become more fume like and fumes will ignite easier than fuel.”
“Static electricity is everywhere and we as humans have static electricity in our bodies. The use of a ground will not have much effect when the bladder is made of a composite not the use of plastic containers and funnels.”
“So, that’s the answer? First, get rid of any type of filter (mesh type, steel filter or paper filter) that is in the funnel. Then, maybe we use a hose attached to the top of the 5 gal jug and eliminate the funnel completely.”
“In over 45 years of racing, I have never used any type of filter to filter the fuel going in to a car or container. I have always looked at it that the car has a large fuel filter and if you service it regularly there is no need to filter the fuel prior.”
“I don’t want to see or hear of anyone else having a fire. It’s been too many lately, one is too many and when it hits some you consider as family, it makes you want to do something in letting people know.”
“Please pray for Lennox and spread the word for all racers to remove filters on their funnels.”