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2018 PRI Show 8th Annual
Driver Safety Seminar 
 
Friday, December 7th, 9AM- 12PM
Indiana Convention Center, Room 235

The 8th annual auto racing driver’s safety seminar, organized by the Stand 21 safety foundation, “Racing Goes Safer”, was yet another successful event featuring racing stars as well as reputed medical experts and safety engineers.  

After an introduction and presentation of the Foundation’s board members by Stand 21’s President, Yves Morizot, the first of three one-hour sessions began when Dr. Terry Trammell demonstrated the benefits for drivers and crew alike, of wearing full length fire retardant underwear under their racing suit. Urban legends such as “wearing nylon or cotton clothing under their suit absorbs sweat and makes the driver cooler”, have been disproven by scientific evidence:

Dr. Trammell showed that the use of only Nomex undergarments not only keeps the body cooler from sunlight exposure plus increasing onboard engine-generated heat, but increased the time duration to second-degree burns in case of onboard fire by up to 40% or more.  Dr. Trammell also showed how the investment in the best personal safety equipment is minor compared to the cost for any length of stay in the hospital.

A victim of just such circumstances was guest speaker Danny Ebberts, an off-road racer gravely burned when his Baja truck exploded in flames during a failed refueling stop in Baja, Mexico. Danny explained that only after 14 hours of emergency transport to a facility in the United States, in agonizing pain, did proper medical treatment begin. His long recovery and return to racing taught him about the need for far better personal protection, especially in isolated land where racers can sometimes only count on themselves for help. 

Yves Morizot - Owner/Founder Stand 21 Racewear

Dr. Terry Trammel - IndyCar

Danny Ebberts - SCORE Offroad Racing

Former drag racing Top-Fuel World Champion Larry Dixon described his two major accidents, the first in 2000 in Memphis wearing what was then considered the latest in protective equipment technology (and no frontal head restraint device), then in 2015 after entrusting great technological leaps in suit material design and manufacturing, more advanced helmet and a frontal head restraint device. While he was gravely injured in 2000, he simply walked out of his destroyed car in 2015.

 

The second session featured an introduction by Foundation Director Don Taylor, followed by Snell Memorial Foundation’s Chief Engineer Ed Becker, describing the current and new standards regarding auto racing and motorcycle helmets. He explained the new Snell “EA 2018” standard which matches the current FIA-8860 standard, currently mandatory in F1 and Indy car racing. While far more expensive, such helmets are very technologically advanced, are some of the lightest on the market regardless of their  protection level, while offering over 25% greater impact absorption properties than those meeting Snell SA-2015 or SFI 31.1 standards.  The knowledge of such advanced protection presents a financial conundrum for a racer on where to spend his money, either on his car or on his personal protection against head injury.

 

This was followed by a demonstration of the “Lid Lifter”, a device worn as a balaclava under the helmet, enhancing wear comfort, but of which its dual purpose is of simple and trauma-free helmet extraction in case of possible neck injury to a racer following a crash, without any pressure or pulling on the vertebrae.  With minimal training, on site attendants can now remove an injured driver’s helmet before qualified medical personnel arrives, allowing the injured to breathe freely. 

Ed Becker- Snell Memorial Foundation

Larry Dixon - NHRA Top Fuel

Larry Dixon described his first experience with the FHR device (Frontal Head Restraint) invented by Jim Downing and Dr. Bob Hubbard, and developed over the years by the Stand 21 engineers in France. Larry walked away from a crash that would have otherwise likely caused instant death from cervical fracture. 

 

NASCAR’s Tom Gideon showed a video of sled testing at high G forces of a belted test dummy with and without an FHR device. Quite convincing to anyone questioning its effectiveness. 

The final session had Danny Ebberts returning and describing his physical and psychological recovery with the support of his family during his weeks in the hospital. Drag racer Lyle Barnett, who had a similar experience in a fire, told of his many painful skin grafts, but knew he ‘had’ to return to racing because of its importance in his life.

Tom Gideon - NASCAR

Nick Bennett - Wounded Warrior Project

This was followed by an emotional presentation by Wounded Warrior Nick Bennett, an Iraq war, Marine veteran severely injured by a Chinese rocket that penetrated the Humvee in which he was a passenger. Nick told how his love for racing and the support by his loving family was instrumental in his recovery, and his respect for our gift of life. The seminar was concluded by a question and answer session and a “thank you” to all by the Foundation’s President Yves Morizot. 

 

The next Racing Goes Safer safety seminar will be on January 18-19, 2019 at the SCCA National Convention in Las Vegas. Don’t miss it if you will be there. In the meantime, please go to www.racinggoessafer.org for more information and previous seminars reports, as well as many informative videos.