Kenny Wallace discusses safety

POCONO, Pa., (July 22, 2000) -- At the Indianapolis test session, Winston Cup drivers were re-introduced to the revised HANS (Head and Neck Support) Safety Devise. The device was designed by Robert Hubbard, PhD., Professor, College of...

POCONO, Pa., (July 22, 2000) -- At the Indianapolis test session, Winston Cup drivers were re-introduced to the revised HANS (Head and Neck Support) Safety Devise. The device was designed by Robert Hubbard, PhD., Professor, College of Engineering at Michigan State University, to minimize head and neck injury during racing accidents. Kenny Wallace, driver of the Square D/Cooper Lighting Chevrolet, was so impressed with the new advancements in the system, he has ordered one for his race car. The following are quotes from Wallace about NASCAR Winston Cup safety issues.

"I already have the HANS device on order. I got a good look at it during Indy testing and I liked it. The old HANS version from a couple of years ago used to be a big, bulky support system. It didn't give you much mobility and it made you feel real confined. Now they have a real small one, and I thought that it was worth looking at. Bobby Labonte tested it, and gave them some good suggestions to improve the HANS device. The system is now to the point where it's worth putting on without hurting the driver's head mobility. With the new adjustments, you can look out to the left and right with no problems."

"When the HANS device gets here, all I'll need to do is adjust my seat a little bit. The head support on my seat needs to be moved back a tad, because the HANS device tends to push your head forward. I think with all the tragedy that has happened this year, it's an issue that needs to be addressed. I hope to be running the HANS system after this off-weekend."

"When a driver is running wide-open and driving on the edge, he wants to make sure that if he does 'bite the big one,' he will be prepared. As the saying goes, 'better safe than sorry.' I'm not worried about looking good. I'm worried about running fast and keeping safe. Like I said, I have the system coming and it'll be in place for Indy."

"The difference between yesterday and today's Winston Cup race is the corner speed. NASCAR is slowing us down on the straight-aways, but our corner speeds have increased tremendously, thus the g-forces have increased. That's why the severity of the crashes have increased."

"I've always had a toe-clamp on my throttle. That's something that drivers used to use in the old days. We got away from it because stuck throttles didn't threaten drivers' lives until now. I've had a toe-clamp in my car all season. It's something that I'm proud of. I also have a long kill switch. It's right there so I can slap at it and kill the engine if a problem arises."

"There's a group in Indianapolis that has created a five-foot thick wall that's made out of rubber. This wall actually bolts onto the existing wall. When race cars hit it, there's no foam to clean up, so it doesn't delay the race. Every race track needs to "bite the bullet" and purchase this technology for the driver's sake. Safety is not only the racing teams' responsibility; it's also the track's duty. It's worth the investment for the owners. I wouldn't want to run a race track and have to read a story about a death during my event."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kenny Wallace