Announcement of investigation into Earnhardt's death

Motorsport.com -- Tuesday, August 21, 1001 -- NASCAR release the official announcement today of the results of the investigation into the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. who was killed on February 18, 2001 at Daytona. The final ruling -- death was...

Motorsport.com -- Tuesday, August 21, 1001 -- NASCAR release the official announcement today of the results of the investigation into the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. who was killed on February 18, 2001 at Daytona.

The final ruling -- death was due to a complete basal ring skull fracture. Comments were made regarding the seat belts but no one from NASCAR or the medical team stated that the death was caused by the separation of the belt itself. Instead the following comments were made:

The death was a combination of way seat belts were installed, angle of impact, rotation of helmet, possible impact to left side of the helmet, neck tension, and increased movement of the body.

NASCAR president Mike Helton did lay out the following NASCAR recommendations and mandates:

1. Recommended head restrains in the past. Just trying to convince them to use one, but not mandate it.

2. Belts, stronger, better layout, connectors.

3. Install crash data recorders by beginning of 2002 season

4. Medical teams, will keep the current local medical teams. Will have a fulltime liaison to coordinate with local medical people. And a fulltime person for future accident investigation.

Two important items came out of the press conference, they are:

1. Head and neck restraints will not be mandated by NASCAR but instead will be recommended. Since the death of Earnhardt Sr., many of the NASCAR drivers have been wearing some type of device similar to the Hans device or the Hans itself. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had one on for the first time at the Michigan International Speedway this past weekend.

2. The use of "black boxes" which has been used by both CART and IRL. Ford has been supplying the black-box technology to the two leagues for several years in an effort to better understand the forces in crashes. Until now, NASCAR had resisted using the boxes on its cars.

"We have committed to the installation of crash data recorders," NASCAR president Mike Helton said Tuesday. "Such devices will help drivers, owners, manufacturers and NASCAR study how impacts affect drivers and cars."

NOTE: Further updates and a complete copy of the press conference will be online shortly.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Mike Helton