NASCAR auto racing safety standards, Safety features in race car design

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NASCAR’s Better Safety Standards

January 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

Safety is a cornerstone of NASCAR racing. Though auto racing has not been free of its share of tragedies, the authorities spare no effort in setting standards and by providing amenities, which protect drivers and spectators as far as possible. Safety scores over performance measures and viewing excitement, as far as NASCAR is concerned.

Safety at NASCAR starts with race track design and selection. Presently, the emphasis is on controlling degrees of banking, especially on turns. While banking helps race cars go faster, they also make them unstable, and prone to turn turtle. NASCAR tracks are limited to 36-degrees banking, and many popular tracks have only half that incline. NASCAR also sponsors research in to new materials for outer walls, which will eventually replace concrete, and thus make life safer for drivers. Race car design incorporates a number of safety features. The body itself is a powerful sheet of metal with additional layers for added protection. Metal clips at either end are designed to crush on impact, taking energy away from the driver’s compartment during a head-on collision, and pushing the engine block downwards rather towards the driver. The seat is designed to protect the driver’s vital organs under the rib cage, and the seat belt ensures a much higher degree of restraint than in normal cars. The head and neck are restrained as well. Nets on windows protect the driver’s arms, and flaps prevent cars from getting airborne. Windshields are made of soft materials which do not shatter on impact. Fuel tanks have special safety features as well. NASCAR requires that race cars have restrictor plates which keep top speeds within limits, but some argue that this increases the risks of collisions when cars race close to each other and in groups. Driver helmets are especially designed for high speed impact, and suits are made of flame retardant material. You can be sure that no stone is knowingly left unturned to ensure the safety of your favorite NASCAR drivers and their auto racing adversaries as well! Safety is not a static thing, and NASCAR is a pioneer in bringing the best protective technology to the race track.

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