I’ve long pushed the aspect of safety in what we do and sometimes it’s just frustrating. You see, when it comes to safety gear most people fall into two categories: those who do nothing and those that do something, but the mindset that whatever tragedy they are preparing for is never going to happen. They need a new SA2015 helmet to pass tech? Well then, let’s shop online for the absolute cheapest helmet they can find. The logic is “Hey, it passed the SA2015 standard so it must be just as good as a more expensive helmet. Besides, what are the odds of anything bad happening?” Yeah ... well, for starters while it’s true that all SA2015 helmets pass the same standards, some barely pass while others pass by a large margin. A helmet is there to protect your brain, which is sorta important. When you’re lying in a coma with a traumatic brain injury, nobody will be thinking about the $200 you saved on a helmet. As for “the odds,” they are always low right until something happens, then they jump to 100 percent. So, when you buy safety gear, do so like you will need it to save your life. Someday, after something bad happens, you can send me a thank you note.
The other thing I get on my soapbox about is fire safety. I’ve run a Safecraft Halon fire suppression system in my ’68 Camaro for at least the last eight years. I think the system I bought was around $600. Not cheap, but compared to the cost of the car it’s chump change. And while I’ve never had to use it I felt much better at track days knowing that I had a far lower chance of burning to death or losing my car to fire. We recently ran our annual Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge presented by Falken Tires and one of our competitors, Chris Smith, had a fuel fire in his badass ’72 Camaro. But Smith was smart and planned for the worst by having a Safecraft fire suppression system in his car. So between that and the quick reactions of the Auto Club Speedway safety crew his Camaro suffered only minor damage. He also had a fire suit, because, “stuff happens.” Again, when thinking safety, plan for the worst and hope for the best. You might just be glad you did.