Co-founder of HANS calls for better safety at lower levels of sport

The co-founder of HANS performance products has called on sanctioning bodies in all levels of racing to become more educated in proper use of safety equipment.

While NASCAR and IndyCar have both made significant safety advancements over the last decade, Jim Downing said he's concerned about drivers in all forms of auto racing.

A sprint car driver in Bloomington, Ind. and two Dwarf car drivers competing near Reno, Nevada were killed by accidents during the Memorial Day weekend and a 12-year-old girl suffered critical head and neck injuries in a quarter midget racing accident in Graham, Wash.

"It's not news that weekend warriors are often at greater risk when it comes critical or fatal injuries than pro drivers in major series," Downing said. "All of us in the motor racing safety business are aware that sanctioning bodies, track promoters, car builders and drivers need to put a greater focus on safety on the short tracks, road courses and drag strips where many competitors race each weekend."

As part of its push for greater safety among weekend warriors, HANS Performance Products will publish a Best Practices presentation later this summer for use by sanctioning bodies, track promoters, safety personnel and competitors. Focused on information about the proper use of seat belts, helmets and Head and Neck Restraints, the presentation is entitled "15 Minutes Could Save Your Life."

"We sometimes get criticized for drawing attention to the appalling rate of deaths in motor racing among weekend warriors," Downing said. "But it's part of our responsibility to keep the entire community informed. It's been almost two decades since Ayrton Senna was killed by a piece that came off his car, for example, yet we're still having accidents where this problem takes place or where a roll cage doesn't hold up. The over-all pattern confirms safety practices are well below par for weekend warriors."

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