Fifteen years ago, real safety innovations were just beginning in the racing world. Unfortunately, it took the losses of four drivers (Tony Roper, Kenny Irwin Jr., Adam Petty, and Dale Earnhardt) before we really started paying attention to how safe our cars really were. The most important piece of safety equipment in your car is your seat. It's supposed to be designed to protect you from any type of impact. However, simple mistakes during the building or installation of the seat will prevent that from happening.

Hopefully, you never have to test out the strength of your seat, but you have to be prepared for the worst. Having the mindset of Well I've been in a few accidents and nothing bad has happened yet, is setting yourself up for a major problem. It's your obligation not only to yourself but to your fellow competitors that your seat be as safe as possible.

Innovative Safety Products (ISP) located in Harrisburg, NC, has recently come out with its new Car of Tomorrow seat. This groundbreaking aluminum seat recently passed NASCAR's tough safety tests, during which they hit the seat with unbelievable amounts of force from all directions. It passed with flying colors.

ISP's Kris VanGilder builds these custom seats for a wide range of racers, from NASCAR to NHRA to boat racers. The C.O.T. seat is fabricated in three sections; the main body, the headrest, and then the bolt-on shoulder struts. These three sections are then assembled once the main body has been properly mounted in the car. The goal is to not only keep the driver comfort-able but also keep him protected in the right way.

The guys at ISP custom build the main body conforming to the driver's body, they measure and cut the pieces to fit each individual person. I came in to its shop, was measured and within a week was able to pick up my seat.

Installation is the main key when it comes to how safe your seat is. We've all heard those war stories about how someone had bolted their seat to the floorpan. It's amazing to me that this still happens. Always bolt the seat to the frame. We mounted the seat at Leavitt Racing Components' shop in Mooresville NC. Many of the mounting brackets seen in the pictures can be fabricated, but if you're not accustomed to fabricating steel, I'd suggest purchasing them, preferably from ISP, since it built the seat.

With the season fast approaching, if your seat is a few years old, take a look at it. You may not necessarily need a new one, but double-check all of your mounting points. And check the seat for any type of cracks or broken welds. Remember, this piece of equipment is designed to protect your life. Don't rush putting the seat in. Take your time and install it correctly.

SOURCE
Innovative Safety Products
www.ispseats.com
Steve Leavitt Racing Components
www.leavittracingonline.com