received a letter from a Sportsman racer concerning the HANS
device. There were questions we didn't know the answer to,
so we forwarded the letter to Jay Braxton of the HANS company.
Here are the questions and his answers. We have put Mr. Braxton's
answers right after the questions for ease of reading. We
hope it helps the rest of you make up your minds about head
and neck restraint safety.
Mr. Burk, I still enjoy DRO and read it when I have time.
However, I have a question/comment that needs to be "passed
on" or at least discussed regarding safety, specifically
the HANS device for use by sportsmen racers.
I run Top Dragster, so I am looking at trap speeds from the
low 180's to nearly 200 mph, depending upon the "tune
up" (how much and how long I am on the nitrous), and
am really interested in superior safety equipment. The following
are my (and a couple of other people like me) issues with
Question 1 I have heard
that the device prevents you from turning your head. This
is a big problem in bracket style racing, because all of us
are looking at our opponent, not straight ahead like a pro.
Answer 1 This is a common
misconception. The HANS(r) allows at least 45 degrees of side
movement. The "strap devices" (Hutchens, D Cell,
and R3) require that the tethers going to the helmet be very
taut to work properly and do indeed inhibit side movement.
Some Sportsman drivers who want more than 45 degrees side
movement have adapted mirrors (Seems much safer to avert my
eyes rather than my entire head while driving, right?).
Question 2 Ease of use.
The vast majority of us (sportsmen) are "one man bands,"
in other words we have no crew. So we need something that
we can install ourselves and adjust once in the car.
Answer 2 The HANS(r) requires
no adjustments. The shoulder straps go over top of it and
the tethers can be easily attached and detached by the driver
while in the car. If a driver can strap himself in and tighten
the belts by himself without the HANS(r), he can do the same
with the HANS(r).
Question 3 Cost. Not a problem
with me (and others like myself who realize we are worth a
superior safety device that costs less than $1,000); I have
a Bell Racing helmet that cost $700, a friend had a $70 helmet
(it was legal) and was giving me grief. I shut him up by saying
"You have a $70 head, I have a $700 head." I do
not compromise on anything that is a part of going in excess
of 180 mph as that is the kind of stuff that will get you
seriously hurt or killed, or even worse, hurt somebody else
Answer 3 The HANS(r) cost
is $865. The only part of it that ever needs replacing are
the tethers ($25) and we recommend replacing them every 5
years. It is a one-time purchase.
Question 4 And yes, tell
Mr. Braxton to go to IHRA events. Hopefully, it will be one
I am attending so I can discuss it with him. Trying to get
answers to the above from current users (all pros with crewmembers
to help) has not been successful. And I would absolutely hate
to spend that kind of money for something that does not accomplish
And I do appreciate your efforts to help all us do better
and be safer.
William D. (Dee) Kruse
Answer 4 I am planning on
attending both IHRA and NHRA events this year. I will be in
Bristol and Atlanta NHRA events. Our dealer Dennis Taylor
of Taylor Motorsports (714-630-7850) is a Top Alcohol competitor
and attends most NHRA West Coast events.
I hope I have answered your questions. If not, I would be
happy to talk with any competitors by phone (888-426-7999)
or correspond via e-mail (email@example.com). I am also
happy to provide independent test data and literature to anyone
who might question what "crash" is bad enough to
need head and neck restraint, and how the different types
available actually work.
HANS(r) Performance Products
5096 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30341