Safety Issues

Iowa 409 Guy

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#1
After speaking with a long time member/racer here on a PM, I thought I would get some ideas on a better set up than just a lap belt. This person mentioned hitting the wall at 120MPH and the resulting loss of life. I'm probably safe because I have only went 117 MPH so far.:dunno2 Seriously though, my little tunnel vision brain was only focused on rolling the car and not about hitting the wall. We all know how squirrely a car gets with the slicks not having much sidewall if you get out of control. Just completely unloading and re-loading the slicks at over a hundred will get your attention IME.

So, this conversation is mostly for us slower cars without a roll bar or cage running above 11:50. I was concerned about some kind of 4, 5 , or 6 point harness without some kind of roll over protection, especially with a hardtop, and the resulting top flattening down to the seat top. I noticed Shan has a hoop of some sort with a harness in his car....Shan???? I really do not want to cut up my car to put a roll bar or the like, but am looking for suggestions.

I've used up several of my 9 lives in the past and don't want to chance using another.
 

Garbageman

 
Supporting Member 1
#2
Dave, I had the same concerns regarding just using a lap belt after I saw a 16 second car hit the wall and the drivers door opened and the driver's upper body was leaned over dragging down the track. I installed a 5 point harness with the shoulder belts anchored to the rear seat (removed) floor per NHRA specs. The NHRA has since changed that rule and you now have to anchor the shoulder belts to a bar that goes across, side to side, behind the driver's seat. For the past couple of years I have been reminded of this by tech inspectors but they have allowed me to compete. This year I have had a rollbar installed for safety and to comply with the NHRA rule book. I figured safety first and if I traveled to another track they might not be so kind to me.
 

Ishiftem

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#3
The best thing to fit your parameters is adding an across the torso belt like a moder can. The b pillar could be reinforced and used as the attachment point. Running shoulder belts down behind the seat is a very bad idea. In a frontal impact the belts can compress your spine and cause injury instead of preventing it. The best thing short of a roll bar is to have a bar going across the seat backs from b pillar to b pillar just below the top of the seat. This way you could mount a shoulder harness and it can support the seat back at the same time and keep it from breaking. The bar could be made removable for back seat use.
 

Fathead Racing

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 6
#4
I've been thinking about this for the last few years. The X frame has no protection for side impact, the hardtop will collapse like tinfoil and the lap belt if your lucky will keep you in the car while shaking your body like a rag doll. I'd say at best you have a 50/50 chance. I like the look of Bryan Fugate's roll cage. He retains the full interior and he says the shop that did his is still in business. The only drawback is if I install the cage I'll have to redo the engine to maintain my ET.
 

RCampbell

Well Known Member
#5
Let me give you an excercise to try. Pick a quiet time...Go strap yourself into your race car. Now ask yourself at what speed do you feel it reasonable to crash into a bridge railing...how fast can you go sliding on your roof? You think you're not fast enough to need safety equipment!!! Dead is still dead at 60 mph!!
 

Blk61409

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 7
#6
Let me give you an excercise to try. Pick a quiet time...Go strap yourself into your race car. Now ask yourself at what speed do you feel it reasonable to crash into a bridge railing...how fast can you go sliding on your roof? You think you're not fast enough to need safety equipment!!! Dead is still dead at 60 mph!!
Boy that is the TRUTH!!

I was running the 1968 Nova in EARLY 69. It had been raining. The track owners got all of the guys that would to drive up and down the track to attempt to “dry” it out!! They started the races about an hour later.
Being an idiot as we all have been, I was just going to make a warm up run. I even left my helmet in the seat. What I remember most was having total control of what was happening!!

I can still see it in my mind today!

A good launch, shifted to second, then third and the car started to fishtail!! Left right, left right, I knew EXACTLY what to do..instead of getting off the accelerator, I stayed in it, crossed the finish line at over 100MPH.....get this....BACKWARDS!!!

Rotated very nicely I thought!!

Across the finish line, skid off the track, between 2 trees, slid up a slight hill and stopped just short of a lake that I swear I HAD NEVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!

I only had on a lap belt. I bounced around inside that car like a rubber ball, my head danced off the windshield and rear view mirror, a little blood but nothing major, not upside down, not on the roof, not on the side...remember I HAD TOTAL CONTROL!

Oh, how embarrassing, had the firetruck, ambulance, accident people, track people, etc!! I was not bothered by them, my wife had passed out in the stands when she saw the car spinning.

Seems the track was not completely dry, imagine that. At the point where I shifted to 3rd was an expansion joint and water was seeping out there.

Ok, now after all that, here’s the message...get the biggest baddest roll bar, a 50 point harness, a helmet from NASA and anything else you can to save yourself!!

I got real lucky, real lucky!!!

As our friend Mr Campbell says,
“Dead is still Dead”!!

Oh, I beat the other guy, he stopped, thought I was going to kill him. Whatever it takes to win!! LOL LOL LOL