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NASCAR to Install Recording Devices in Racing Cars

Aired August 21, 2001 - 15:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: NASCAR saying that it now knows more about the accident that killed racing legend Dale Earnhardt last spring.

CNN's Eric Philips is at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia right now.

Eric, what have they learned?

ERIC PHILIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good afternoon, Joie.

That press conference just began a few moments ago. We can show you a live picture of it, it's going on in downtown Atlanta right now.

I can tell you that the president of NASCAR, Mike Helton came out initially saying how glad he is about this process that's been going on for six months now. As you know, NASCAR commissioned a whole team of independent experts to come forward and do intensive study on the crash of Dale Earnhardt.

One of highlights of that process so far -- or the result of that investigation, I should say, is that the president of NASCAR, Mike Helton, has said that they have plans to install recording devices in all of NASCAR's engines or in all the cars by next year. Those recording devices would be similar to the black boxes that you would find in aircraft. But Mike Helton said that this is something that has been a team effort and he wanted to thank everyone for what they've done so far. Here's what had so say a little bit earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HELTON, NASCAR PRESIDENT: A computer car-crash model has been created to assist all of us in designing safer race cars. Their investigation provided extensive information about occupants' movement and a barrier crash at a critical angle, which will also assist race car and restraint manufacturers in our future designs.

Their work includes significant new information on the problem of dumping, which will provided highly useful information to try to avoid another separated belt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILIPS: And as you know, this investigation was sparked by that fatal crash back on February 18 of Dale Earnhardt Sr. during the Daytona 500.

One thing that's been talked about ever since then is the use of the head and neck devices, whether or not the -- NASCAR would require drivers now to use that. One of the first things that President Mike Helton said when came out is that they would not require, but they are going to strongly recommend, even more so than before, they will be strongly recommending that drivers find head-and-neck restraint devices that they can feel comfortable in for their very own safety.

We're live here at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.

Joie, back to you.

CHEN: Eric Philips for us reporting live.

A note to our viewers: This event regarding Dale Earnhardt, understanding what happened with Dale Earnhardt, still going on. They expect it to take about two hours to get through all the information.

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