IMSA Race Refueling Accident

Pocono, PA

Background: During an IMSA race pit stop, the quick-release refueling rig failed to detach from the race car as the driver was waived onto the track and attempted to leave the pits. As the car pulled away, the fueling hose ruptured, spilling gasoline onto the hot exhaust of the car and igniting a conflagration in the car pit area.

What We Did: To analyze the accident, an exemplar fueling rig was purchased and modified. A Plexiglas car fitting (the so-called “plug”) was machined in the MRE shop to allow inspection of the connecting device of the rig while it was operating. The rig showed that there was a defect in the fuel nozzle, causing the sticking of the release mechanism and the accident.

Overview of model components.
Plug mount.
Plexiglass plug mount.
Overview of filler nozzle.