NASCAR changes safety strategy

NASCAR safety chief Gary Nelson has confirmed that a a range of new safety measures are to be incorporated into the Winston Cup vehicle regulations. Nelson, the director of the US sanctioning body's new R&D centre in North Carolina, says he is using an 'emphasis formula' that rates where the greatest gains can be made with the most efficiency. Instead of making the 3400lb (1540kg) stock cars more energy-absorptive, as in the past, NASCAR will make them 'stiffer'

NASCAR changes safety strategy

NASCAR is also rewriting its rulebook in the areas of belt installation, collapsible steering columns, headrests, seats, data-loggers and driving suits. In addition, it has been studying the controversial 'SAFER' (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, to the extent of crashing eight stock cars into a barrier at the University of Nebraska's Midwest Roadside Safety facility in Lincoln.

The policy has been recommended by NASCAR's panel of independent safety experts in the light of Dale Earnhardt's fatality in the 2001 Daytona 500. The experts said that 65 percent of the safety work should be directed to the driver compartment, 25 percent on barriers, and 10 percent on the rest of the car.

The Winston Cup teams were briefed on the panel's recommendations last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during Brickyard 400 testing.

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