Fox6 News Interview
Head Restraint System For Race Drivers Originally Invented In
With the unfortunate death of Dale Earnhardt, the racing world has now
focused on the potential benefits of Head Restraint Systems. Part of that
focus has exposed a head restraint system that had been developed by one of
Bobby Allison's crewmembers back in 1980. Recent head restraint devices are
nothing more than imitations of George White's hard work. His sacrifice and
dedication to your safety is often imitated, but never duplicated. After the
tragic death of racing legend Tiny Lund and others, George was inspired to
design a device, which if used by race drivers would help to prevent crash
related neck injuries.
To demonstrate his believe in the device, George decided to personally
test the unit in a real world crash test. The trial consisted of a head on
impact into a concrete barrier. With George behind the wheel the test was
completed in Florida on October 30th, 1980. The device performed as it was
designed to do… and his test broke three world records (video available on
request). George attempted to market his device to race sanctioning bodies
and safety manufactures alike; unfortunately the racing industry was not
ready for such safety innovations. Only after twenty years of additional
injuries has the device been recognized and finally found its rightful place
in racing safety.
Asked about his development, the inventor, George White, showed dual
emotions. "I'm glad that someone has finally seen the benefit of what I
invented and drivers now have access to this crucial safety innovation. For
that I am happy. But I am very disillusioned about inventing safety items
when a little guy like me cannot afford to patent and market his inventions.
While it will not deter me from following through on several inventions for
race drivers that I now have in development, the fact that I received no
monetary benefit from my invention certainly undermines my incentives. Only
my racing experience and my belief that this is the right thing to do for
all race drivers keeps me from quitting my attempts at making improvements
and new innovations."
Asked about his current inventions, George said, "I am advised by my
attorney to not discuss them at all. I can't afford to give away another
invention. After all, I am one of the little guys among many little guys. I
will say that one of the things we are working on is to have the first
paraplegic driver participate in Winston Cup racing. This is an ongoing
project that has the potential to demonstrate the tremendous accomplishments
of the physically challenged. But like so many things in life, having the
proper funds and the necessary sponsorship is crucial to completing a
project with such vision. "
With the combined efforts of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's
School of Engineering and NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, they have designed
several unique pieces of equipment that for the first time, enable a
physically challenged driver to participate in professional stock car
competition. The group is building several Winston Cup style racecars and a
Craftsmen Truck that will form the basis for the first handicapped driver to
compete on a level playing field with able-bodied peers.