Autocrosser Joseph Minnehan RIP. - Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
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Autocrosser Joseph Minnehan RIP.

Something horrible happened on the last PCA event at Farmington, NM. i post this here so that you guy can be aware of the dangerous of autocross. Note that it was aberrantly a sticky throttle issue.

RIP Joseph Minnehan


on Sep 24, 2006 Joe Minnehan died after he took a run at a PCA event in Farmington. Here is what is posted in the SCCA email list:

"I was just able to speak to Mark Durnil about yesterday. Holding back some emotion Mark and I discussed the details and I will do my best to repeat them to you now. I ask that after this we move forward with discuss of how we best remember Joe and suggestions of how we can contribute to his loved ones...

Joe was taking a time-trial style run at the Training track during a PCA event in Farmington, smiling the way I'm sure most of you picture Joe as he talked about or drove his car. Mark painted a familiar image describing the last time he saw Joe alive - all smiles. Joe made his run and when he crossed the finish line, apparently he was still at significant throttle.
Soon after his throttle was heard to shift from almost full to completely wide open throttle as he entered the grassy section past the finish line.
Witnesses reported seeing the front wheels locked but the rear tires shooting rooster tails of dirt, preventing the car from decelerating. A symptom of a stuck throttle but we can only speculate. From there the car continued at roughly 50mph into a shallow arroyo where it instantly came to a stop, apparently sideways although that detail was hard to recall during the conversation with Mark. The fiberglass bodywork shattered into thousands of pieces. The doors, hood, etc were instantly gone. When workers arrived to the car, Joe was still strapped in but thrown sideways in the seat with his arms and legs outside of the foot tunnel of the car. His lifeless expression was enough to know he was already gone.

To me, Joe was an instant legend from the day I met him. Outgoing, selfless, cheeful and willing to enthusiastically discuss cars with anyone that remotely expressed an interest - no one was having more fun at an autocross than him. Willing to help out anyone and help the greater good of the club without a second thought. In the less than two years have known him, it was like he had always been there, with that smile that refused to let anyone around him not have a good time. He epitomized the personality that makes me love Motorsports, that twinkle in the eye spirit and flash of his smile that just made you want to have as much fun as this guy was having. I find it difficult to speak of someone as wonderful as Joe in the past tense. People often speak of the departed in a sense to ignore their flaws as a courtesy to their passing. With Joe, I knew no such flaws - I enjoyed his personality and his genuine spirit. It is a great loss not just to our club, but to humanity. If you did not have the privilege of knowing him, picture your brother in racing, and realizing you will not longer be able to look forward to seeing him at the next event. I'll miss him dearly and my sympathy goes out his family.

Rest in peace Cobra Joe,


this pic was taken before he died

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Old 09-26-2006, 11:33 AM   #2
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A tragedy for sure. We sometimes forget what we are dealing with, especially with cars as fast and powerful as something like a Cobra. These vehicles and events must be treated with the utmost respect and safety in mind. Anytime anybody has ever been annoyed at us slowing down a dangerous section or being so serious about our safety rules I make sure that they know we are not dealing with toys here.

This is also something that scares me about home and kit-built cars. We may all pine for the days when the average car could be 2000 pounds and wasn't loaded down with so much regulated safety equipment, but these are the things that may turn a fatal accident into simply an insurance claim. I don't know if he had door bars, or if they would have helped, but I have seen more than a few racing specials that don't pay as much attention as they should to safety.

I can only hope that his friends and family will be alright, and hope that this sort of tragedy remains as rare an occurence as possible.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:54 PM   #3
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This is so tragic, he was such a nice guy, at the last event he was having engine troubles, but despite that he still had a smile on his face and was happy to tell me about the car and give me some auto-x tips. I'm so sad to see him go
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:01 PM   #4
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That bites.

Carrera26 couldn't have said it better.
In fact, that's part of the reason I'm now a SSS (Solo Safety Steward).
I saw a few too many dangerous courses, but no longer.
If they don't get my approval prior to the one runs.
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Old 10-04-2006, 07:42 PM   #5
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Just came back in to read the article a with a little more critical eye, since I finally found the time.

What I didn't notice before, (sheesh, right in the first paragraph)
is this was a PCA (Porsche Club of America) event, not an SCCA sanctioned AutoCross.
There's a HUGE difference between the two, and unfortunatley this isn't the first incident at a PCA event whatsoever.

Hopefully the "powers at be" will make some changes to their rules to prevent this from ever happening again.
One can only hope, but I doubt that will make any of the involved families feel any better.
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:11 PM   #6
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Wow, so sad. Never knew the guy but anyone who smiles non-stop is a someone no one wants to lose. Atleast he went doing what he loves. RIP Cobra Joe.
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