Vehicle Dynamics & Handling Seminar

Sponsored by: Boster, Kobayashi & Associates

August 10, 2007

Jim Russell Racing School
Infinion Raceway, Sonoma


Guest Speaker: Mark Wolocatiuk
Chief Instructor, Jim Russell Racing School and Mazda Pro Series Champion

View seminar photos

Seminar Report
By Stewart M. Tabak

On Friday, August 10th, an enthusiastic and dedicated group of CAOC members gathered together at the beautiful Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for an invigorating day of learning. The experience was enjoyed by all, judging from the ear-to-ear smiles on the attendees’ faces at the end of a terrific day.

As has been the case on previous occasions for this seminar, we were fortunate enough to have the Boster, Kobayashi & Associates consulting firm in Livermore as our sponsor for the event. CAOC joined with the Russell Racing School to make sure that the day-long experience was both safe as well as rewarding.

The morning classroom session included presentations which covered different aspects of vehicle cases and various types of problems encountered in auto products cases. Chris Spagnoli from Santa Monica spoke about challenging obstacles encountered in complex auto design and other products cases against car manufacturers, with an informative use of specific case examples and demonstrative evidence. Her topics included tire separation cases as well as vehicle rollovers, including 15-passenger vans, and other auto defect litigation.

Miles Cooper from San Francisco gave an informative presentation which focused on the use of biomechanics in auto litigation, and the particular problems encountered when dealing with these issues and the experts used for these issues. His PowerPoint presentation included different case examples which covered the range of various biomechanical issues which tend to confront the practitioner and useful ways to both avoid as well as deal with these problems.

Tom Boster from Livermore presented a wide array of case examples on the topic of accident reconstruction, giving the attendees an entertaining as well as informative overview of various case examples. His work as an expert witness in different aspects of auto cases has provided him with an abundance of highlights, videos and case studies which provided the group with a great overview of the reconstruction field.

Mark Wolocatiuk, the chief driving instructor with the Russell Racing School, drew on his vast experience in all different aspects of driving. From racing to commercials, Mark understands the practical aspects of vehicle dynamics and shared his knowledge with us while covering topics which included rollovers, ABS braking systems, tire failure, and others.

Following a catered lunch we took to the practical classroom in the paddock area of the raceway. Everyone (except for Dr. Boster, who only participated in the classroom portion) took turns strapping into Russell street cars for various exercises: performing reverse-180 turns, a.k.a. "Rockford" maneuvers; threshold braking; a slalom course; driving a "skid car" equipped with pontoons; and a timed event which included different drills and skills learned throughout the afternoon. It was both exciting and informative.

The day concluded with a few "hot laps" around the 2.5 mile road course with trained Russell race drivers, with the helmeted attendees holding their collective breath and trying to recall the limit of traction for the specially prepared Cobra Mustangs. It was a great day and a terrific way to earn 6 MCLE credits. Anyone interested in participating next year should contact Lori Sarracino ( or 916-442-6902 ext 108) to get on the mailing list; it is an experience that should not be missed.


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