NASCAR Lab Tech on Pushing Limits of Speed, Safety

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In our industry, there's a big interest in safety. Drivers are constantly asking what we're learning. But safety is one of those things that is a tough deal.

If you look at a driver or a businessman or student, they have various types of report cards that let them know how they are doing. If you work in safety, you don't have that. You can't say at the end of the week, Wow! We helped 14 people this week. Every accident is unique. So we can never just say that this guy walked away because of something that we did. But you feel good about the work you do. You try to advance a bit every day. A year goes by and you look back and say Wow, we've done a lot.

We can say that we think racing is better now. We think it's safer because people work at it every day. I've got a passion for what I do. It's like a dream job for me.

Because of the nature of the sport, safety is always balanced with competition—is it the same at your facility?

One of my parameters, always, is that anything we develop cannot be a restriction to speed, or else it becomes a lot tougher for the inspectors. If something we design makes the car go slower, the teams will be tempted [to circumvent it]—because they're always trying to get faster.

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