As a driver, there's nothing scarier to me than being in the cockpit, completely strapped up, when a fire breaks out. The thought of trying to get out while the car is engulfed would scare any driver. But nonetheless, this is why we run the three-layer suits and protective equipment.

However, there's a lot that can be done to avoid ending up in situations just like that, a lot of which has to do with your fuel and oil lines. If you're running a dry-sump system, then you'll have about a mile of oil lines strung throughout the car, along with the fuel lines that run from the back of the car to the front. If you're running a wet-sump system, a lot of these principles we're going to discuss will apply only to your fuel lines.

The teams that pay close attention to their oil and fuel lines are doing so to not only ensure everything is tight, but also to avoid disaster. If the fuel-line fitting breaks from the fuel pump, you'll have serious problems when that fuel starts to dump on the headers.

When you're running your fuel and oil lines, you need to make sure that you're attaching them to the chassis wherever you can. Remember, the car will travel a lot, especially in the front, but a lot of teams forget about the driveshaft traveling up and down into their dry-sump system. I was extremely lucky at a race last year at Iowa Speedway when my driveshaft traveled so far it started rubbing the inlet fitting for the oil container in the back of the car. It rubbed the fitting to where all that was holding it on was maybe one or two threads. Luckily, it made it through the race and we were able to replace it once we returned to the shop.

To this day, I don't know why anyone is running any other type of fuel line besides a steel-braided line. Steel-braided lines are so much more durable than typical rubber line. The rubber line can only bend so far before it crimps, but a steel-braided line will help prevent crimping much better. If the fuel line became crimped, you could be looking at an expensive engine bill because the motor was robbed of its fuel and you cooked a piston.

In addition to the crimping issue, steel-braided lines are much safer than rubber lines. Imagine backing your car into the wall at a high rate of speed. It will try to fold the chassis under itself and crush any fuel lines in its way. By installing the steel-braided lines, you can go a long way to prevent the fiery situation we talked about earlier.

I understand that steel-braided line is more expensive than rubber line, but we're talking about your fuel line in your high-horsepower race vehicle here. Eight dollars a foot isn't so far fetched (remember those $1,400 canister shocks?). And after all, it's transporting the most dangerous fluid in your race vehicle. Why make things more dangerous for you or your driver simply because you want to save a few bucks?