INDIANAPOLIS (November 29, 2006) -- The medical and safety programs of the Champ Car World Series have long been lauded as the standard in motorsports, and Thursday's viewers of NBC's Today Show will get a first-hand look at one of the latest medical projects designed for use in the series.

Today reporters were on hand at MSR Houston for a November testing session where Buddy Rice made his first Champ Car laps prior to the 2006 Champ Car season finale, and filmed a segment where Rice, and then the NBC reporter, drove while wearing a newly-developed athletic heart monitoring device. The segment will air on the popular NBC morning show Thursday morning, and is tentatively scheduled for air in the 7 -- 7:30 a.m. time frame.

Physicians and engineers from the world-famous Cleveland Clinic along with Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski have been working on the device for more than a year, which will monitor heart rates in the harsh environment found in the high-speed world of Champ Car. The device, which is a vest that is worn under the driver's suit, has been worn during testing and races this year as development continues.

"This could be a very valuable instrument in terms of seeing what the body goes through during a race," said Dr. Pinderski. "It can not only help us determine what happens during impact, but could also aid teams and drivers in building fitness levels as well as determining how the body reacts to the different climates and on the different types of tracks that we compete on."

The segment was filmed entirely at MSR Houston with Rice wearing the vest during a test with Forsythe Championship Racing, followed by the reporter wearing the vest while driving a Ford-powered Panoz sportscar around the challenging 17-turn road course.

-credit: ccws