Friday, February 13, 2009

Who developed the SAFER Barrier?

UPDATE: The article has now been revised giving credit to both Nebraska University and the IRL. Great job to everyone who wrote in.


Yesterday a guy by the name of Dan Peterson wrote an article for Fox News explaining how great of a job Nascar has done while developing safety features. The only problem is that part of the article is just completely and utterly false, no question about it. For the 57,829th time over the past 5 years, a member in the media gave credit to someone in the stock car ranks for the invention and development of the SAFER barrier, and I think it's about time credit go's to its rightful owners.

Some contact info if you feel so inclined
You can E-mail Dan at Dan@80percentmental.com
You can E-mail Fox News at yourcomments@foxnews.com
As most of you already know, the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier was developed by engineers from Nebraska University with help from the IRL, and was first implemented at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


I sent an email to Fox News and the author. Haven't heard back from Fox but Mr. Peterson emailed me back and apologized and admitted his mistake. He agrees with my critique that the SAFER barriers were invented by University of Nebraska with help of IRL and that the semi-automatic transmitions were first used in F1. He said he has corrected his article on livescience.com and has sent the revised article to Fox News.

Here is the afticle corrected with credit given to F1 for semi-automatic transmissions and University of Nebraska/IRL for SAFER barriers:


It has now been corrected on Fox News:


So, it went from a wildly inaccurate article to one that's just a mish-mash of miscellaneous racing-tech, and that does not necessarily apply to NASCAR at all (i.e. semi-automatic transmissions, advanced materials, push button starters which have always been a part of any racing car that has an on-board starter)? Good work by you, Fox News reporter...

They still don't have the SAFER barrier stuff completely correct. Anyone who was at IMS when Arie Luyendyk crashed in the 1998 IROC race knows that research was going on even then. A section of wall at the head of the main straight had been lined with a barrier designed to cushion impacts. It didn't work. Instead, it helped send his car back across the track where he was almost t-boned by Tony Stewart. The fact it didn't work is irrelevant. The fact that IMS was conducting these tests a full two and a half years BEFORE Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed at Daytona is highly relevant and they should receive credit for it.

A couple months ago when Nat Geo had a hour long program on about IMS I thought they said that Arie was the first to make contact with a safer barrier in an IROC race, but wasnt sure. Thanks for the info

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