IRL: Fisher test HANS device at Texas

Ft. Worth, Texas, Oct. 13, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie sensation Sarah Fisher tested the HANS Device for the first time today during practice for the Excite 500 Indy Racing Northern Light Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The HANS device...

Ft. Worth, Texas, Oct. 13, 2000 - Walker Racing rookie sensation Sarah Fisher tested the HANS Device for the first time today during practice for the Excite 500 Indy Racing Northern Light Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The HANS device is a yoke-type collar that is held to the driver's chest by their shoulder harness, while tethers from the collar to the helmet provide support for their head and neck. It was designed to reduce the extreme head motions and neck loads that injure drivers during high-speed impact accidents.

"This is yet another positive step forward in driver safety," said owner Derrick Walker. "Both on and off the track the safety developments in racing never stop."

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 prototype HANS Device was specially modified to fit Sarah's smaller shoulders, and she felt comfortable wearing it. She will wear the device from now on in all testing, practice, qualifying and race activity.

"I have no idea that the Hans Device is even on when I'm out on the track," said Sarah. "The device is very comfortable, and it even helps sink the driver further down into the cockpit of the car, so it feels like the there is a more uniform pressure across my shoulders."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Jim Downing