It's a given that drivers risk their lives in
motorsports. What fans do not expect, and cannot accept, is that their own
lives might be in danger from the race cars. Recent incidents by Kenny
Brack and Tony Renna remind us of the potential for death to drivers, but
to spectators as well.
Soft Walls, soft cars
coming to NASCAR
By Stan Creekmore
this year, a routine test of a SAFER wall designed for tight radius
turns like those at New Hampshire Int’l Speedway and Richmond Int’l
Raceway went awry in the final twenty feet, delaying eventual
implementation of the system by at least 30 days. A No. 5
Kellogg’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo piloted by computer was heading for a
routine impact with a SAFER wall when something went awry. The car
went off course and hit a pole, which launched it into the air as it
hurtled toward the SAFER barrier. In the blink of an eye, NASCAR had a
completely new set of possibilities to consider. Meanwhile,
NASCAR took AR1's groundbreaking 2001 story and is designing "Soft
Cars" for 2005 and beyond. Story
There's more than handwriting on the
by Mark Cipolloni and
Steven N. Levinson
article represents an exhaustive study of all the injuries and
fatalities in CART and the IRL since 1996, and the results are
alarming. Based on the statistics, it's not
inconceivable that the US Surgeon General might declare
"WARNING, The Surgeon General has determined that Indy Car
oval racing is VERY hazardous to your health."
The Fear With
by Adam Sewell
NASCAR has seen their share of spectacular crashes.
Two weeks ago at Bristol, Mike Harmon suffered what had to be
one of the most horrible, and yet miraculous accidents in
motor racing history. Story
Is the SAFER Wall
I might be the only one in all of auto racing -- fans,
writers, racers, owners and promoters -- who is willing to go
public with these thoughts, who is willing to call a spade a
spade on this subject. However, after three wrecks into the
"soft walls" at Indy I can't stay quiet anymore.
SAFER Wall passes
involved with the new SAFER barrier project at the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway was pleased with the performance
of the energy-absorbing barrier after it took its first hit
May 5 during Opening Day of the 86th Indianapolis 500.
But perhaps no one was happier with the function of the
barrier than Robby McGehee. Story
SAFER barrier to
debut at Indy
history will be made this May when the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway will be the first superspeedway to use an
energy-absorbing barrier in its turns during competition. The
SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier is in place
for practice which begins Sunday, May 5th. Story
How the HANS Device
has run numerous articles on the HANS Device. These and
other safety articles can be found on our Racing Safety page.
In this latest article, new graphics are presented that
explain how the HANS Device works, a must for every driver. Story
in F1 1963 to 2000
article takes a look at Grand Prix crashes and safety upgrades
that have been done in F1 between the years 1963 and 2000. Analysis
Inventors of HANS® Device WIN
The 35th annual Louis Schwitzer Award was awarded May 18 to Dr. Robert Hubbard and James Downing, inventors of the HANS® Device.
The safety device is designed to reduce the occurrence of basilar skull fractures experienced by racing drivers during high-speed crashes.
Crumple Zone - The Humpy Bumper
In the aftermath following the tragic on-track deaths of drivers Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and Dale Earnhardt, many questions have been raised concerning improving the driver safety in motorsports.
Lowes Motor Speedway President and General Manager H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler has been one of many people leading the way in developing new ways to improve driver safety. Last year, Lowes Motor Speedway was one of the first to explore the effectiveness of new "soft wall" technology.
Zones - NASCAR update
to think that our
article that we posted right after Dale Earnhardt was
killed regarding the lack of crumple Zones in Winston Cup cars
has touched off the latest testing being done, or so we are
told. This article
by Ed Hinton talks about the very idea we proposed back on
February 26th of this year, a Crumple Zone in the nose of a
Winston Cup car. By the sounds of Hinton's article, they
are on the right track.
Soft Cars and Soft Walls saved my life
While browsing through different pages
on Autoracing1.com I ran across your article dated Feb. 26 Soft Walls vs. Soft
cars. The article was very informative and most probably quite accurate.
While racing at Lancaster, I hit the wall, full speed at
almost 125 MPH and at a 90 angle to the wall. Not 20 or 30 degrees but
90 degrees, and I lived to tell this story! Story
report on Dale Earnhardt death
Barry Myers, M.D., Ph.D Duke University Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy
has issued his independent findings of
the Dale Earnhardt accident. He concludes that the broken seat belt
was not a factor in Earnhardt's death. He died from a Basilar Skull
Fracture, plain and simple. Would the HANS Device have saved his
life? Probably, as that is exactly what it was designed to
prevent. You draw your own conclusions from Dr.
Meyers report. We call upon NASCAR to mandate the HANS Device as
soon as possible just as CART has. Five NASCAR drivers deaths in 11
months, all from the same injury, is five deaths too many, especially when
there is an effective remedy available. And we also advocate the
introduction of Crumble Zones in all NASCAR cars as outlined in this
Stricklin impressed with the HANS Device
If there has been any debate to the functionality and merits of the HANS device, one need to look no further than this past weekends race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon not only won his 53rd Winston Cup event, but he won it wearing the HANS Device, marking the first time the HANS has been worn into Victory Lane in Winston Cup. Dale Jarrett, who finished second to Gordon, also wore the HANS Device for the
- Soft Walls or Soft Cars?
Earnhardt's fatal accident last week at Daytona, safety in racing has received
a lot of attention. A lot has been written and discussed concerning the HANS
Device because Dale Earnhardt died of a Basal Skull Fracture. We
firmly support the idea that drivers wear the HANS Device, however, there is
another area of safety that needs to be addressed - Race Car Crumple
Zones. More specifically, should the concrete walls be made soft and
crumple, or should sections of the cars be made soft and crumple. That
is the issue this article will attempt to address. Story
NASCAR Safety Works
In an average street car equipped with airbags and seatbelts, occupants are protected during 35-mph (56-km/h) crashes into a concrete barrier. But at 180 mph, both the car and the driver have over 25 times more energy. All of this energy has to be absorbed in order to bring the car to a stop. This is an incredible challenge, but the cars usually handle it surprisingly well. In this edition of How Stuff Works, you will learn how NASCAR drivers are able to walk away from so many crashes, and about the new safety devices being developed to prevent future race-related fatalities.
HANS Device saved my Fathers life
story was sent to us by a reader who saw our articles on
safety in racing, and particularly our series from 2000 on the
- it's going to take more than magic to fix
a sad state of affairs to think it takes the death of a great driver
like Dale Earnhardt before the racing industry wakes to the fact
that more should be done in the way of safety. It's time for
our industry to take their heads out of the sand. It's time
that safety become the #1 issue in auto racing. Instead of
just giving it lip service, it's time for NASCAR, CART and the rest
of the USA race sanctioning bodies to collectively do something
about it. Story
Earnhardt, Sr. dead, killed in Daytona 500
Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was killed in a crash at the end of Sunday's Daytona
500. He was NOT wearing a HANS Device and initial
reports are he died instantly of a fracture to the base of his
skull, the exact injury the HANS Device prevents. NASCAR's most
popular star was killed in perhaps one of the sports most exciting
races. Earnhardt, 49, was running third on the last lap and was blocking back charging Sterling
Marlin so his team of Michael Waltrip and Earnhardt Jr. could win.
Team members were informed in a private meeting at the side of the
Richard Childress hauler, then immediately left the track. Many were in tears.
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