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How Car Stuff Works

How NASCAR Safety Works

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) team comprising of engineers, designers, and mechanics work together to design the perfect racing car without compromising on its safety. Now, if we look at a scenario where a racing car traveling at a speed of around 200 mph crashes into a wall, then both the driver and the car have 25 times more energy than a normal car traveling at 35 mph. NASCAR cars are however are up to this challenge and several drivers involved in crashes have come out unscathed.
NASCAR cars have a battery of safety devices, which have improved over time, to prevent harm to drivers. Here’s a look at them:

The roll cage:

The front and rear clip of the frame of a NASCAR race car are designed to crumple easily when the car crashes into a wall or another car whereas the middle part stays intact during a hit.

The seat:

The seat prevents the driver from hitting something hard in the event of a crash in addition to absorbing some of the impact of the crash. The seat also prevents the driver from being thrown out of the car.


The seat belts of NASCAR cars comprise of a five-point harness with two straps over the rider’s shoulders, two around his waist and one around his legs. The straps are sturdy and made of nylon webbing. The purpose of the seat and the belts is to shift the driver’s energy to the car in the event of a hit.

Window nets:

Windows of NASCAR cars are enveloped by a netting of nylon webbing that prevents the driver’s arms from flapping in a crash. The net also helps the driver in finding his way out easily during a crash.

Roof flaps:

Roof flaps, launched in 1994, prevent the NASCAR car from flying into the air and plunging into the track subsequently.

The windshield:

NASCAR cars contain windshields made from a material called Lexan. This material has an amazing property of being extremely strong, but also astonishingly soft. When something strikes the windshield it doesn’t get broken. Instead, the object scrapes, depresses or gets implanted into the windshield.

Fuel tanks:

Present day NASCAR cars have fuel tanks known as fuel cells, with a fuel tank capacity of 22-gallons with several integrated safety measures to minimize the probability of breakage or explosion. The cell is situated at the back of the car and is fixed by four braces to prevent it from going airborne in a crash. The fuel cells are also packed with foam that soaks up during the blast.

The driver's gear:

A NASCAR car driver is required to wear safety gear that prevents injury to him in the event of fire during a crash.

These include:

All drivers wear either a full-face or an open-face helmet. The helmets undergo impact resistance testing and are certified to be safe for high-speed racing.
Fire-Retardant Suits- Suits worn by NASCAR drivers are made from fire retardant materials such as Proban and Nomex, which are different from other similar materials whose resistance properties get washed away.

The Head And Neck Support (HANS) system, a new device being tested by NASCAR, is a reasonable hard carbon fiber and Kevlar collar. The device is fixed to the upper part of the body by a harness. However, the effectiveness of this device is debatable.

Soft walls:

NASCAR is developing soft walls which can reduce the force of collisions at high speed by absorbing some of the energy. Commonly used materials for the development of soft walls are Cello foam, polyethylene and PVC.

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