Driver Amy Elizondo uses Simpson's Nomex underwear to give her an extra layer of protectio
New Kid In Town There are literally hundreds of soaps and detergents to choose from when it comes time to do the laundry but one new alternative on the market is the Molecule Technical Fabric Care System. Specially formulated for Nomex, CarbonX, Proban, and FR cotton fabrics, the system features a Wash Kit that includes the Molecule Wash, Molecule Spot Cleaner, and Molecule Refresher all for just under $42.
Step number one in the system is the Spot Cleaner which you use like a pre-wash for tough stains. Step number two goes to the Wash, which replaces your standard detergent when doing a load of firesuit laundry. Finally, the Molecule Refresher is designed for quick touch ups to keep everything fresh and clean. The Refresher is also great for deodorizing helmets. The folks at Molecule Labs say that the products have undergone extensive testing and remove even the toughest stains including grease, oil, and fuel. In fact, its tests show that firesuits treated with the Molecule system repel those same contaminants that are found all around your race car while still maintaining the breathability of the suit.
Keep It Clean Aside from good laundering practices, one of the easiest ways to keep your firesuit in tip top condition is to pay careful attention to how you treat it. Grease, fuel, oil, and other contaminants found in and around the pits at any racetrack will have an adverse effect on your firesuit regardless of the type of fabric.
Let's say for example, you're performing the simple task of refueling your car in between the heat race and B-Main. Uncle Joe waddles by eating a hot dog (Uncle Joe supports his local track by buying food at the concession stand). Naturally, he bumps into you because he's not watching where he is going. Fuel splashes everywhere. You don't realize, however, that some of the gas splashed on, and subsequently soaked into, the right leg of your firesuit. Not a problem until...
A stain like this might look like nothing, but if it's flammable, it can interfere with th
You jump in the car for the B-Main and on lap 4 the unthinkable happens. An oil line comes off and fire erupts through the cockpit, catching the gas stain on your right leg. You manage to get out of the car, but the gas-soaked part of your suit has caught fire and you can feel intense heat building up faster and faster. Luckily for you, the track's emergency crew was quick to respond and knew what it was doing. You walk away just a tad singed. But what if it was slow? How long would your suit have held up?
As great as today's firesuits are at protecting us from the unthinkable, an accelerant of any type will impede their ability to do so. But what can you do about it? Simple, let somebody else fuel the car, change the fluid in the rear or whatever else. And if you're one of the many Circle Track readers who do all the work themselves, either by choice or by necessity, then at least take your suit off when you're working on the car. Hang it neatly in the trailer or in your truck.
So, you don't have time to keep doing a quick change between heats, mains, and the feature? At the very least you should use some type of track mat. They're only about $25 and will help keep your firesuit clean when working under the car.
Finally, Mom always told you to wear clean undies, and the cleaning processes discussed for the firesuits applies to FR underwear as well. Like the suit, underwear comes in Proban-type FR cottons, Nomex, and CarbonX so launder those accordingly.
What? You don't wear FR underwear? Now, wait a minute, wearing fire-retardant underwear is a great way to increase the TPP rating of your two-layer suit without jumping up to a three-layer drag racing suit. For about $130, you can have a complete set of Nomex underwear (including socks). It will be money well spent.