As racers start to get ready to begin build season in preparation for the upcoming racing schedule, updating the safety features of their driver’s compartment should be one of the highest priorities. Two Mooresville, North Carolina companies are trying to lead the way in safety innovation.
HMS Motorsports and SCHROTH (sh-row-th) Racing unveiled a couple of new products at December’s Performance Racing Industries trade show this year. Joe Marko of HMS Motorsport walked us through the new products at PRI.
The first product that Marko spotlighted was the new two-inch seat belts by SCHROTH Racing. While many short track racers are used to three-inch belts, SCHROTH is trying to get the short track racing world caught up to the NASCAR world with the new two-inch belts.
“Our new Schroth belts have a two-inch shoulder which fit over head and neck restraints very nicely, and a two-inch lap belt,” said Marko. “The two-inch lap belt is very important. The two-inch belt might be new for people in dirt racing that are used to a three-inch belt. But if you look at NASCAR and you look at IndyCar, there’s not a single drive in NASCAR that’s running a three-inch belt. They’re all two inches now.”
Marko said there’s a very simple, yet scientific reason behind why the two-inch belts are better than the three-inch belts.
“The reason is that at the top of your pelvis is your iliac crest. A three-inch belt is going to come over the top of that and put all the load over the top of that bone. A two-inch belt falls below the crest of the pelvis and allows full loading over the pelvic bone. It makes it much more comfortable and you can get the belt tighter, which is a big plus out of the belt. The other thing is the belts are very easy to adjust. With just a two-inch adjuster versus a three-inch adjuster it’s much easier to tighten the belts, loosen the belts, and get the belts really tight. Having that belt tight is really critical.”
The other new product that HMS Motorsport and SCHROTH Racing were showcasing at PRI was the new SHR Flex head and neck restraint device. The SHR Flex is very similar to a standard HANS Device, but with some key differences.
“The first is that it has a flexible bottom segment or bottom yoke. The strap of the belt goes directly against the yoke and the belt is basically against your body. On a HANS device you have a pad underneath there and your belts are kind of up in the air. This gives you a little bit better feel of it. The other thing is we’ve got a nice, tall lip on the edge. That lip helps keep the belt on the device in a secondary impact. The big thing, especially with Sprint Cars is the cars are bouncing around and rolling around and flipping around and a lot of times it’ll work on the frontal impact, but on the second impact the belts may fall off the device. The lip keeps belt on there.”
Marko said that 10-time World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz already is a user of the SHR Flex, as well as Dave Blaney. He also said that Kasey Kahne has been using SCHROTH Racing belts since about 2003.
For more information on HMS Motorsport and SCHROTH Racing, visit hmsmotorsport.com and schrothracing.com.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com