Protecting the Pit Crew

impacthelmet-1By David G. Firestone

Drivers have the most dangerous job in auto racing. A close second is the pit crew. Pit crews have to change tires, refuel the car, clean the windshield, and make any adjustments in under 13 seconds. Cars are moving around them at great speed, and can and will injure a pit crew member in the wrong place at the wrong time. As such, protection in various forms is used. I’ve discussed pit crew suits, now let’s discuss a pit crew helmet.

This is a pit crew helmet from Turner-Scott Motorsports. impacthelmet-1 impacthelmet-2 impacthelmet-3 impacthelmet-4 impacthelmet-5 impacthelmet-6It is a plain Impact helmet, with Busch Series logos on the sides. It was made in 2005, as a sticker on the inside states, so that would place it in the 2006-2007 era, as in 2008, it became the Nationwide Series. The helmet has no radio setup at all. It has a wide area for the face, which would eliminate a gas man or catch can man. Fueling crew members wear full-face helmets with Nomex socks, and closed visors. The lack of sponsor logos make it hard to research.

The cramped conditions on pit road, especially on short tracks have caused a number of accidental collisions between cars and pit crew members. NASCAR can and will make rules that can improve safety, but no system is fool proof. The accident at Richmond where a number of crew members were burned is proof of that. Safety in auto racing is paramount.

Next week, I will discuss one of my favorite odd subculture of NASCAR memorabilia…

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