NASCAR Expands Concussion Protocol: NASCAR announced updates to its concussion protocol for competitors, adding a consistent screening tool for all venues and increasing available neurological support for race event weekends through its new partnership with AMR. "NASCAR has worked very closely with the industry to ensure our concussion protocol reflects emerging best practices in this rapidly developing area of sports medicine," said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. "We will continue to utilize relationships we've had for years with leaders in the neurological research field who helped to shape these updates."
NASCAR's protocol now includes:
- As part of the new rule regarding damaged vehicles, a driver whose car sustains damage from an accident or contact of any kind and goes behind the pit wall or to the garage is required to visit the Infield Care Center to be evaluated.
- The medical portion of NASCAR's Event Standards now require that Infield Care Center physicians incorporate the SCAT-3 diagnostic tool in screening for head injuries.
- AMR will provide on-site neurological consultative support at select NASCAR events during the 2017 season and will work directly with NASCAR in the continued development of concussion protocol.
The new protocol goes into effect immediately for all NASCAR national series.(NASCAR)(2-17-2017)
NASCAR Drivers Council happy with safety team: After lobbying multiple times for the addition of a traveling safety team, a NASCAR Drivers Council member was pleased to see its arrival Wednesday in the Cup Series. "(The safety team) is something that the council has brought up quite a few times, and it's a struggle to figure out how to do that with insurance and legally," Joey Logano said Wednesday in an interview with NBC Sports. "It's a little over my head. "But why can't we have someone who is on site when get there? What are we waiting on? You're not the only person to ask that question. Believe me, I think every driver has asked this question at some point in their careers. Why don't we have a physician that we know? ... When I got the call they were announcing it, I was like, 'Hell, yeah!' It's super."(NBC Sports)(2-9-2017)
NASCAR, AMR Partner for At-Track Response Team: Sources have confirmed that NASCAR will expand its at-track, on-scene medical personnel through an agreement with American Medical Response (AMR), the nation's largest medical transport company. Beginning in 2017 at Daytona International Speedway, AMR personnel will respond when a racecar is involved in an accident on the track. The company will have paramedics and doctors embedded with NASCAR's Safety Crew and treat any injured driver or crew member needing medical assistance prior to being transported to the infield care center or to an off-site hospital/trauma center. It is believed there will be, as many as, four or five AMR personnel at the track each week staged with the safety crew and they will be amongst the first on the scene of a crash. It will be up to the AMR team to determine if they stay with the driver to the next point of care or release them for further evaluation and treatment. The source said the new AMR team increases the current travelling safety crew's ability to quickly assess an emergency situation and provide medical care.(Kickin' the Tires)
AND NASCAR will have a group of American Medical Response doctors and paramedics that will be among the emergency personnel who travel to each race. An AMR physician will serve as the NASCAR's medical director.(ESPN)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced it is partnering with American Medical Response (AMR) to expand the capabilities of NASCAR's medical support model and enhance on-track incident response. AMR, a recognized leader in the emergency medical services, will add a doctor and paramedic to the on-track safety team for each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend. NASCAR's industry-leading medical standards remain in place; Infield Care Centers will continue to be staffed with experienced local emergency room physicians, maintaining the valuable connection with local medical facilities at every track. Combining the experience of local emergency practitioners with the familiarity that the AMR team will develop with drivers will positively impact the process for years to come. "This partnership further strengthens NASCAR's medical response capability, making our well-established, medical response system even better," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "AMR is a leader in the emergency services sector, and its doctors and paramedics add another layer of expertise to the immediate response team."
AMR will position state licensed doctors and paramedics in a chase vehicle along with two NASCAR Track Services team members and immediately respond to an on-track incident. The paramedic and doctor will provide an assessment at the scene. "We're excited about this partnership with NASCAR," said Edward Van Horne, president and chief executive officer, AMR. "We're going to work collaboratively with NASCAR and local teams to share best EMS practices and ensure the highest quality of care." AMR, which currently delivers EMS support at a number of NASCAR events, will provide a physician to serve as the national medical director of the AMR Safety Team to oversee all services provided by AMR and work with the NASCAR Medical Liaisons and NASCAR Consulting Physicians. AMR, a subsidiary of Envision Healthcare, is the largest provider of emergency medical transportation services in the U.S. and a leader in pre-hospital care and treatment. Furthermore, AMR becomes the Official Emergency Medical Services Partner of NASCAR, and AMR will be the presenting partner of the annual NASCAR (Track Services) Summit.(NASCAR)(2-8-2016)
NASCAR safety experts to be honored: SAE International will honor two NASCAR safety experts with the Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award. John Patalak, Senior Director of Safety Engineering, NASCAR Research and Development; and Tom Gideon, recently retired Senior Director of Safety Engineering, NASCAR Research Development and Safety, will be honored for their SAE International technical paper, "Development and Implementation of a Quasi-Static Test for Seat Integrated Seat Belt Restraint System Anchorages" (2015-01-0739). The two will receive their awards during the SAE 2017 Government/Industry Meeting, Jan. 25-27, in Washington, D.C. Patalak's work at NASCAR includes researching, developing and approving driver and vehicle safety systems and investigating vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protection issues. Prior to NASCAR, he worked for an engineering consulting firm specializing in vehicle crashworthiness and occupant protection. Gideon retired as Senior Director of Safety from NASCAR in 2016. Gideon joined NASCAR in 2009 as Director-Safety R&D; before that, he served as Safety Manager for GM Racing with General Motors.(SAE)(1-26-2017)
NASCAR implementing safety changes to cars at superspeedways next year: In an attempt to protect the driver's feet and legs, NASCAR will gradually implement changes to strengthen the car by modifying the floorboard, driver's anti-intrusion plating, firewall and footbox areas. The changes, sparked by the accidents to Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon last year, are optional for 2016, mandatory for the Daytona and Talladega races in 2017 and then all tracks in 2018. NASCAR senior vice president Gene Stefanyshyn said teams designed various proposed changes, and NASCAR had done two crash tests to help determine the changes. "We're replacing existing materials with materials in instances which are thicker or being formed in a way with less welds," Stefanyshyn said in announcing the changes Thursday. "Also the way we attach part of it is we are creating, for lack of a better term, a zipper so we provide a lot more weld surface. The gradual implementation is so teams don't obsolete current chassis, as the new chassis will have to go through the NASCAR certification process.(ESPN.com)(7-28-2016)
NASCAR will examine Talladega accidents; Dale Jr's steering wheel: NASCAR is looking into what led cars to get airborne Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and will investigate what caused Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s steering wheel to detach after his second wreck, a NASCAR executive told "The Morning Drive" on Monday. "Some really intense racing all throughout the day, and some things we didn't like with cars getting up in the air and we're already fast at work at the R&D Center, looking at all the video we have," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "We'll reach out to the teams to see what we can do to immediately take some action to work towards correcting that." Chris Buescher's car tumbled down the backstretch after being hit by another car, and Matt Kenseth's car was sent airborne after contact turned his car sideways and the air picked his vehicle up. Neither driver was injured in the separate incidents. "You never want to see that," O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about those incidents. "So you immediately work on is everybody safe, did the safety equipment do it's job and what we can learn from that. The immediate steps are to review all the media shots that we have of those incidents, work with the race teams and then look at what may or may not be different from when we've been not only at Talladega but any other race track.
"That will be all of our process in sitting down and reviewing that," O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. That also will include looking at what happened to Earnhardt's steering wheel. Earnhardt's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, had a steering wheel come off at Phoenix, leading to his crash in qualifying there. O'Donnell was asked if Earnhardt's issue was isolated or something more.
"Even if it is an isolated incident, we'll look at it," O'Donnell said. "It could be something that could cause issues down the road if it was a trend. We'll talk to (Earnhardt) and his team and make sure hopefully that was just what you said initially an isolated incident and go from there, but if there is anything we can take from that, we will certainly communicate that to all the teams. It's not something you want to see, especially potentially at speed."(NBC Sports)(5-2-2016)
Brian France attends Drivers Council meeting: NASCAR chairman Brian France was busy meeting with drivers Friday, first privately with Tony Stewart and then he attended his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Council meeting Friday night at Talladega Superspeedway. France was criticized by Stewart in January for not going to the meetings, which typically are attended by other NASCAR top executives. Stewart also was fined $35,000 last week for the tone of comments critical of NASCAR's commitment to safety in reference to its not policing whether lug nuts are tight on wheels. "It was very productive and at least from Brian's perspective, it was well done and he was happy he did it," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said late Friday night. The meeting with the nine-member drivers council was held in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage and went past the time the garage was closed for the night. As he waited for a gate to be unlocked so he could leave the garage, France was asked if he delivered a message to the drivers. "No, we just had a good discussion," France said about the drivers council meeting. The meeting went on for nearly two more hours after France left for another commitment. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon would not go into specific topics but said the meeting covered items for 2016 and 2017 and there were not discussions about Stewart's fine.(ESPN.com)(4-30-2016)
NASCAR holds Summit for track services, medical, safety, security personnel: With the DAYTONA 500 right around the corner, the men and women who are tasked with the safety, security and organization across NASCAR gathered in Concord, North Carolina, in a collaboration of ideas and advancements. NASCAR's annual Summit, the largest gathering of track services, medical, safety, and security personnel in the motorsports industry, will concluded Tuesday after three days of professional seminars, training and topical discussions. The Summit began nearly 15 years ago when a small group of attendees gathered in January to share benchmarks and prepare for the upcoming NASCAR season. The 2016 Summit marked the 10th year it was held at the Embassy Suites Concord Conference Center. The Summit features general sessions and smaller breakout seminars and workshops specific to each functional area. This year's event included more than 30 focused sessions on topics ranging from incident management to severe weather protocol. Senior Communication Consultant for Game On Nation and former NFL player Leonard Wheeler, a renowned expert in leadership development, delivered the keynote address for the event. NASCAR also presented awards to individuals for meritorious achievements in their various fields. Bill Braniff, senior director of construction for International Speedway Corporation's Design and Development unit, was honored with the Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award for his exemplary contributions across the NASCAR industry for more than 10 years in the area of track asphalt and maintenance. The full list of those recognized for their work in 2015 includes:
" Above and Beyond Award - Andy "Sippy" Biron, New Hampshire Motor Speedway
" Teamwork Award - Atlanta Motor Speedway Infield Care Center and New Hampshire Motor Speedway Infield Care Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital
" Excellence Award - Jay Nadeau, Daytona International Speedway
" Steve Beres - Director of Security, Daytona International Speedway
" Greg Scott - Senior Manager of Event Operations, Kansas Speedway
" Bill Hindman - Security Manager, Phoenix International Raceway
" Jim Bockoven Track Services Lifetime Achievement Award - Bill Braniff, International Speedway Corporation
" Excellence in Track Services Award - George Ewald, Pocono Raceway
" Track Services Teamwork Award - Road Atlanta
" Track Services Innovation Award - Dan Eakins (R&B Fabrications)
" Track Services Mission Award - Kristina Frederick, Kentucky Speedway
NASCAR racers notice IndyCar's safety team: The quick response of the IndyCar Series safety team in saving James Hinchcliffe from suffering catastrophic blood loss in his accident Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway demonstrated the critical role the series-hired safety team plays in driver care. NASCAR doesn't have its own safety team, instead relying on the tracks to hire the doctors and emergency medical technicians who treat the drivers. While NASCAR requires an emergency response plan, holds an annual safety worker summit as well as weekly meetings at the tracks hosting each event and can dictate staffing requirements to the tracks, NASCAR's traveling medical staff consists primarily of nurses who keep driver files and know their medical histories. Drivers talked with NASCAR after Kyle Busch's accident earlier this year about the week-to-week staffing levels and training. Busch suffered a broken right leg and broken left foot in an accident Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway in one of the most crushing wrecks in recent years.
"NASCAR is adamant that having true ER folks that every single day fight in the ER room to save people's lives are the best people to have in place here on a weekend for us," six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said Thursday. "In my heart, I feel like there is maybe a hybrid version where, yes, we have those EMTs here, but we also have people that are very sharp and NASCAR-specific, car-specific, know the drivers, know our cockpits. I know that NASCAR briefs them and works with them on all that." With the tracks primarily owned by two companies, it is not unusual for doctors and first responders to work at multiple tracks.
"Once [NASCAR] explained the process and how the doctors and things were chosen was definitely kind of eye-opening as to how much money and time were spent to make sure they have the right people at every race track -- and really the longevity of the staff," Kevin Harvick said.(full story at ESPN)(5-22-2015)
NASCAR could consider rule to prevent drivers from getting out of cars: Kevin Ward Jr.'s death occurred in a sprint car race, but its implications could reach Sprint Cup - not only because the fatality involved a car driven by Tony Stewart. When NASCAR officials hold their weekly competition meeting Tuesday, it's likely they will discuss the circumstances that allowed Ward to exit his cockpit and angrily scramble down the banking to confront Stewart under a yellow flag at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Ward's death has prompted suggestions that rules are needed that keep drivers in their cars under caution until safety personnel arrive. At least two dirt tracks in New York made changes Monday as Brewerton Speedway and Fulton Speedway announced in a website release that drivers would be required to stay in their cars during an accident. If a driver were to exit the car during a yellow, the race would be placed under a red flag, and the penalty could include a fine or suspension. There is precedent for deaths in other series being the impetus for immediate changes in NASCAR. "We always have discussions to become better," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp told USA TODAY Sports. "NASCAR has a history of looking at situations, and we're not afraid to react to them."(USA Today)(8-12-2014)