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Safety Articles

Racing fans don't expect to die
 by Tim Wohlford

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.  More.....

Soft Walls, soft cars coming to NASCAR
By Stan Creekmore

Earlier 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 wall.....
by Mark Cipolloni and Steven N. Levinson

This 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."   Story

The Fear With Soft Walls
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.   

Is the SAFER Wall unsafe?
by Tim Wohlford

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.  Story

SAFER Wall passes first test

Everyone 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

Motorsports 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 works 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

Safety in F1 1963 to 2000

This article takes a look at Grand Prix crashes and safety upgrades that have been done in F1 between the years 1963 and 2000. Analysis (PDF)

Inventors of HANS® Device WIN  Schwitzer Award

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. Story

NASCAR's Crumple Zone - The Humpy Bumper
by Pete McCole

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.  Story

Crumple Zones - NASCAR update

We like 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.

How Soft Cars and Soft Walls saved my life
by Duane Delamarter

While browsing through different pages on 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

Independent 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 article.

Hut Stricklin impressed with the HANS Device
by Frank Ryan

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 race. Story

Safety - Soft Walls or Soft Cars?
by Mark Cipolloni

Since Dale 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

How 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.   Story

The HANS Device saved my Fathers life
by Zak Larimore

This story was sent to us by a reader who saw our articles on safety in racing, and particularly our series from 2000 on the HANS Device.  Story

Safety - it's going to take more than magic to fix
by Mark Cipolloni

It's 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

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. dead, killed in Daytona 500

Dale Earnhardt

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. Story

Listen to doctor (2:58 Min. Real Player format)  | Recent Deaths | Well Wishes safety articles - Would they have saved Earnhardt?

Part 1 of this series, Should NASCAR Mandate the HANS® Device
Part 2 of this series, The History of the HANS® Device
Part 3 of this series, The Future of the HANS® Device in Formula 1 and CART

Part 4 of this series, The Future of the HANS® Device in NASCAR

Soft Walls - Drivers take a stand....while you still can

Soft Walls - Finally, a safer wall system?

Soft Walls - Safer Walls, Please!


Labor Day weekend 1952...A weekend I'll never forget

Team owners show support for CART

CART still may be in cards for Villeneuve

Breaking news - No CART for Villeneuve

Bryan Herta, USA's next best chance for F1

Is Paul Ricard in CART's future?

Attendance figures, what's in a number?

Is Brands Hatch suitable for Champ Cars?

An Unappealing Appeal, George reigns in GEORGE-town

A candid conversation with Chris Pook

More than meets the eye with CART's turbo move

It's time for CART to define its own future

Key upgrades at Road America

'Back-breaking' work

The rebirth of CART

The hidden costs of Indy Car racing

CART's road and street circuits click with the fans

Is it sport, or just P.T. Barnum show-biz?

IRL debut at Fontana - a victim of friendly fire

CART's 2003 race venues #1 in the world

Meet the Gonzalez brothers

ISC is making enemies in Miami

And the 2002 CART Champion will be...

A wakeup call for CART and the IRL

Chris Pook - making all the right moves

Promoting a race - Adelaide topped them all

AUTOCOURSE is THE CART Yearbook to have

Has anyone noticed

Should CART race in Adelaide?

Remembering Bob Estes

2002 will be a critical year for Pook and for CART

Tongue-In-Cheek, we take out the crystal ball again

CART & IRL - it's becoming clearer now where we're going

CART & ALMS - Two Birds of a Feather?

What's the holdup on Chris Pook?

Will CART get Shanghaied?

CART Franchise Board fails to ratify new engines

Is Ginger just what the doctored ordered for Alex Zanardi

Vannini plays hardball with Forsythe

Spotlight on Mexico City

Is Premier1 positioned where CART should be?

Has the Gonzalo Rodriguez lawsuit turned in CART's favor?

Jim Russell Advanced Racing Course - Learning to race

CART - a stranger in a strange land

German 500 - measuring the media impact

An in-depth interview with Jonathan Vannini 

Vannini advocates major overhaul to rescue CART series

Engines - There, that was easy, now let's get on with the racing

A proposed solution to CART's engine dilemma

Ford Cosworth opens its doors

Bullish on CART

A German's first-time CART experience

My thoughts on a variety of CART issues - by Jon Vannini

AutoRacing1 Exclusive - Is Shanghai in CART's future?

As CART goes global, what about its sponsors?

The inevitable globalization of CART


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