BUSCH: P. J. Jones comments on HANS

Driver safety has become a serious concern in both the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series garages this week. Many of the discussions have focused on the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device as a potential solution.

Driver safety has become a serious concern in both the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series garages this week. Many of the discussions have focused on the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device as a potential solution. PJ Jones, driver of the #1 Yellow Racing Chevrolet, has used the device in the first two events of the 2001 Busch season, and the 31-year-old sat down to talk about how he is incorporating safety technology into his race setup.

"The HANS device felt great this week (at North Carolina Speedway) and I had no problem with it whatsoever," said Jones. "It was relatively comfortable and I really worked on my seat before the race so it would fit properly. I'd like to make a few more adjustments, but I think it's something that I will continue to experiment with in upcoming races."

Jones made the decision to use the device after last year's incidents and recent events. "It seems like the obvious choice. A lot of drivers have expressed concern about it being tough to remove if you need to exit the race car in an emergency situation. But for me, I don't see that as a problem. I've had no trouble removing the device quickly and getting out of the machine."

While using the HANS device was a simple decision for Jones, he doesn't see it as the solution for everyone. Many racing observers are asking NASCAR to step in and dictate safety procedures, but Jones feels it's the drivers' responsibility to take care of themselves.

"If someone doesn't want to wear the HANS device, that's their choice," said Jones. "I encourage everyone to at least try the HANS device. If they don't like it, there will be other ideas on safety that are worth taking a look at as well.

"I think it's every driver's responsibility to work on his or her seats, seat belts and everything inside the cockpit," continued Jones. "We need to take advantage of every safety device out there that we possible can. I personally worked on my headrest and seat belt restraints last week. With the headrest, my focus was to secure my head in case of a side impact. I tried to duplicate my headrest from my Indy racing days and I'm comfortable with the results."

-Chris Hunt

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Series NASCAR-NS