CART's Franchise Team Owners recently mandated that effective with the first FedEx Championship Series event of the 2001 season, all Champ Car drivers must wear the HANS (Head and Neck Support) Device for all oval-track testing and race-event ...
CART's Franchise Team Owners recently mandated that effective with the first FedEx Championship Series event of the 2001 season, all Champ Car drivers must wear the HANS (Head and Neck Support) Device for all oval-track testing and race-event activities. The device is also recommended for road-course events.
The HANS Device was designed to reduce the extreme head motions and neck loads that injure drivers during high-speed impact accidents. The HANS yoke-collar is held to the driver's chest by the shoulder harness, while tethers from the collar to the helmet provide support for the head and neck. In its original configuration, the HANS Device has been used by approximately 250 drivers in many different classes of racing cars and boats.
The HANS Device was designed by Dr. Bob Hubbard, a biomechanical engineer whose brother-in-law, Jim Downing, is a veteran sports car racer. It was tested at Wayne State (Mich.) University and at the General Motors Technical Institute before Hubert Gramling, a Mercedes engineer, helped to adapt the system for drivers who compete in a reclining position, as in the FedEx Championship Series.
"The introduction of the HANS Device for drivers in open-wheel racing is the most significant safety development since the introduction of the spec helmet," said CART Chief Steward J. Kirk Russell. "We are making the Device optional for road-course competition because the drivers who have used it have felt that it's a bit confining and that it will take some getting used to at those events."
Veteran driver Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) is one of the Champ Car drivers who has worn the HANS device in competition.
"I will use it all the time," Fittipaldi said. "I was for it ever since the beginning. I think it's the best available [thing] out there in order to keep you safe. I'll never step into a car on an oval without it."
*VOTE TOTAL GROWING
More than 10,000 ballots have been cast for the second annual WorldCom Most Popular Driver Award and Sweepstakes, which continues through September 18. Most of those votes have been cast on the Internet, at cart.com or worldcomracing.com. Ballots are also available in Champ Car, Championship Racing and Racer magazines and in all FedEx Championship Series event programs through the Sept. 17 Motorola 300 at Gateway International Raceway. Balloting may also be done at all FedEx Championship Series events through Sept. 17.
Through ballots tabulated as of Aug. 17, the top five vote-getters, in alphabetical order, were Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola), Adrian Fernandez (Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford Reynard), Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola), Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) and Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola). The winner will receive his award at the season-ending FedEx Championship Series Awards Banquet on Oct. 30 in Los Angeles. In conjunction with the award, one voter will be selected to receive a trip for two to Los Angeles for the season-ending FedEx Championship Series event, the Oct. 29 The 500 Presented by Toyota at California Speedway. He and a guest will also attend the banquet the following night, where he will present the Most Popular Driver Award, and a check for $25,000 in the name of the winning driver, to the driver's charity of choice.
*TRANSPORTER PARADE KICKS OFF RACE WEEK
Next week's Molson Indy Vancouver will be launched by the sixth of seven transporter parades scheduled during the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season. Staging for the parade will take place at the support paddock of the Molson Indy Vancouver, beginning at 5 a.m. PT on Tuesday, August 29. The parade to Concord Pacific Place, which begins at 11:30 a.m. PT, will include vehicles from CART, FedEx, Firestone, Featherlite, Newman/Haas Racing, Player's Forsythe Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Team KOOL Green, Team Rahal, the PacWest Racing Group, Honda Performance Development and Penske Truck Leasing, among others. This will be the penultimate transporter parade of the 2000 season, with the finale scheduled prior to the Oct. 1 Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Earlier parades were staged at Homestead, Nazareth, Milwaukee, Portland and Toronto.