Alissa's Butler Built seat...
Alissa's Butler Built seat features a full halo, a common feature in many Sprint Cars but much rarer in other forms of racing.
3. Good Gloves Ah yes, we'd like to think that Alissa read last month's story about matching your glove's SFI rating to your suit's SFI rating, but we forgot to ask her. "Good-quality gloves are a big thing for me," she says. "You must have protection but also the ability to get good feedback through the wheel. A bad glove can prevent you from getting that good feedback."
4. Earplugs We found this one interesting. Sure, you see all of those NASCAR Sprint Cup guys stuffing the custom-molded plugs into their ears in the pre-race show, but how many short trackers do you know who wear them? If you're like us here at CT, that number is pretty low. "I like to hear," Alissa joked. Joking aside, hearing damage is a common problem among racers that can be easily solved with a halfway-decent set of earplugs. "One time I forgot to put them in, and I couldn't believe how much my ears hurt and rang after the race," she says. "Needless to say, I haven't forgotten them since."
5. Fireproof Socks Ok, fireproof socks? She must've read that article last month. No need to elaborate here. In the right type of accident, it's easy to burn your ankles if you're not wearing the proper flame-retardant socks.
We found Alissa's list to be not only interesting, but also educational, especially where the earplugs are concerned. We don't think a lot of racers consider them as safety equipment, but they are. If you don't believe us, just spend a few decades racing weekly and then check your hearing.
Alissa also wears a fire retardant...
Alissa also wears a fire retardant balaclava or head sock, a great way to protect your head and neck. We bet Dale Earnhardt Jr. wished he had one on a few years ago.
We also discussed some other items with Alissa, including the importance of wearing good-quality products. When she climbs into her car in 2008 at Petaluma, she'll be sporting a full complement of safety products, including Carbon X underwear, another item she never goes without. Her suit is a mutlilayer, custom-made Simpson.
In addition, her car is properly constructed from front to rear, including a Butler Built seat with a full halo.
"I've tipped it and rolled it a few times, and when I did I landed wrong, so my ribs and back hurt," Alissa says. "But I've been really lucky. I wouldn't be all right if I wasn't wearing all this safety equipment."
Alissa's focus on safety comes not only from her firsthand experience of flips, but also from growing up around Sprint Car racing where she was witness to some scary incidents. "I've seen my dad in some crazy accidents and had to watch him go to the hospital more than once." That's a great motivator for the aspiring World of Outlaws racer (it's one of her goals) to take safety seriously.
Alissa and her family celebrate...
Alissa and her family celebrate that first win at Petaluma on July 18, 2007.
Admittedly, the safety equipment this young lady has isn't your Kmart special, but, as she says, "If you're unprotected, that could be the end. Always take that extra step. It could save your life."
At the time of this interview, Alissa's season was about to get underway. In addition to racing at Petaluma for points, she will be running 410 races on Friday nights at Silver Dollar Speedway as well as taking part in the Civil War Series, a California-based traveling show of 360 Sprinters. Her and her family's approach to safety should serve all of them well in the rough-and-tumble world of Sprint Car racing.
The triangular net dubbed...
The triangular net dubbed a "Sprint Car net" has gained popularity among some big-time NASCAR drivers. It's designed to act like a halo on the seat but is removable for easy entry and exit of full-bodied cars. These from SafeQuip are universal designs that work with Sprint Cars, midgets, late models, modifieds, and more.