Stewart responds to NASCAR mandate

Stewart Responds to NASCAR's Mandate for Use of Either the HANS or Hutchens Device by Drivers Beginning at Talladega HAMPTON, Ga., (Oct. 17, 2001) - On the second day of a two-day test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart took time to respond...

Stewart Responds to NASCAR's Mandate for Use of Either the HANS or Hutchens Device by Drivers Beginning at Talladega

HAMPTON, Ga., (Oct. 17, 2001) - On the second day of a two-day test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart took time to respond to NASCAR's mandate that drivers use either a Head And Neck Support (HANS) or Hutchens device beginning this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

"I think a head and neck restraint is a good idea," said the driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, "and I think it's great that a lot of drivers are wearing them. But I also believe that a head and neck restraint has to be right for each individual driver. What is right for one person may not be right for another.

"I want to wear something, but I haven't found anything yet that I'm comfortable with. It's not that I don't want to wear it, and I'm not being bull-headed about this, but there is nothing right now that I'm comfortable wearing inside the race car.

"When I ran Indy cars, there was a time once when I had the foam headrest that goes around the rim of the driver's cockpit touch the top of my shoulders. I ran one lap, pulled in and bailed out of the car because I felt like I was getting trapped inside the car - just because the headrest was touching the top of my shoulders. It wasn't because of anything mechanical, it was because of my own anxiety that comes from being claustrophobic. That's how the HANS device makes me feel.

"If I have a helmet device that doesn't fit properly or isn't comfortable, then how comfortable am I going to be six inches from guys who are on all four corners of my race car?

"I tried out the Hutchens device during a Talladega test back in August, put it on three different times, and it was on me three different ways. It was never in the same spot on my body twice. That concerned me, because there didn't seem to be any consistency in how it formed to my body.

"I'm still committed to finding an appropriate head restraint system that suits my safety needs, while at the same time allowing me peace of mind inside the race car."

-HDR-

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About this article
Series Automotive , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart