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Public Affairs Broadcast Specialist Sergeant King

NHRA Webisode 7

Just like every airborne or special forces soldier checks their equipment every time, so do I.

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NHRA Webisode 7

Just like every airborne or special forces soldier checks their equipment every time, so do I.

Tony Schumacher: As the driver of the championship winning US Army race team, we've shown that we can put together one of the best cars on the track. However, that doesn't mean that accidents can't happen. There are a lot of things that are in place to make sure that if it does, we are as prepared as possible.
The US Army soldiers depend on their team and their equipment, just like I do - to make sure that they stay safe while doing their job. The Army prepares soldiers to be great teammates - through powerful, realistic training - and then provides them with the best equipment available - making their job as safe as possible in the field. Let me show you some of the innovations and changes that we've made since I've started racing.
Let's start at the back of the car - we have a wheelie bar. These cars accelerate from zero to 100 MPH in 8/10 of one second. The car wants to flip over - it's doing everything it can. This wheelie bar keeps the car straight. We have two parachutes we can deploy off a button in the cockpit. We put on these simple little straps - you don't even see them - you don't even know that they're there... but what happens - if the wing comes off, this will pull this handle and yank the parachutes out.
The chutes will actually be deployed before I know I'm crashing the car. This titanium bell housing has saved many - many drivers. When they explode - they contain the explosion. Our supercharger is forcing air into the motor - when these things explode, this blower safety strap contains it and keeps it from not only hurting myself, but taking a wing out and going up into the stands and hurting people that paid good hard money to come watch a race.
The inside of the car we have extremely good solid foam padding for our helmets to keep drivers from getting basal skull fractures - our head's vibrating - and we've molded the inside of this car to my body. The front wing flips down 2000 pounds of down force to keep this car on the ground - when it's trying to go up and over the back. In a nutshell - those are many of the precautions we have taken - and believe it or not - there are about a thousand more I didn't mention. But those are the ones you can look at and visually see very easily.
We start with a carbon fiber helmet, very light. A head-sock to keep me from being on fire, and in the back you see the HANS device connections. You've heard of the HANS device, mostly when we lost Dale Earnhardt, they talked about the head and neck support. This is the HANS device - when I have all my equipment on, my helmet on too - we're going to slide this over my neck, and we're actually going to bolt these clips, and fasten it with these fasteners.
When I get in the car, we'll put the seatbelt over the top of this. Then in an impact, when the seatbelt stops and my head wants to go forward, it will get stopped and keep my head from breaking my neck. I wear a mouth guard for my teeth, we have fireproof underwear - the firesuit itself can burn for two minutes without even feeling heat. Fireproof shoes - a seven-point seatbelt... two arm restraints and a neck restraint - and believe me, if they could figure out a way to superglue me in there, I'm all for it.
You want to be part of the car and the tighter you're bolted in, the more you can feel the car when its making changes - the better you can drive that car. Most importantly - the safer you are. That's a first-hand look at everything the US Army top fuel team does to utilize state of the art technology and engineering to make sure our car is not only the fastest car out there - but the safest. Next time you are out on the track, you can rest easy knowing that we put our driver's safety ahead of everything else we do.
And the next time you are thinking about your family member, friend, or anyone that you may know serving our country - you can trust that the Army has equipped our soldiers with the most advanced technology in the world. Protecting them better than ever before.
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