For the new season of racing, we wanted to remind all of our racers of the importance of safety. As you prepare for battle this year, please don’t forget to spend a few minutes thinking about all of the areas of safety connected with your racing.

Check each piece of equipment for age, wear, and effectiveness. That old kart suit that worked so well for your Quarter Midget racing won’t help you if your Street Stock catches fire. Most of the kart and Quarter Midget equipment might not be fire rated because of the reduced risk of fire in those race cars. Inspect seatbelts for wear and chafing. If you had a few encounters with other cars or the walls at your speedway last year, your helmet might be damaged to the point that it needs to be inspected and possibly rebuilt. If you ran hot last year, then maybe a cool helmet is in your future.

We always stress the importance of using a quality head-and-neck restraint system and we continue to push for all racers, regardless of the class, to invest in one of these. You won’t need it until you need it, and then if you don’t have one on, it’s too late. Suck it up and shell out the bucks.

If you’re the owner and/or major sponsor of a race team, ask if the team has thoroughly planned out its safety situation. In the unfortunate event that an accident happens, bad results reflect on all those associated with the team including the sponsors.

For you track owners and sanctions, if you haven’t required proper safety equipment in the past, it’s time to rethink your rules for 2011 and with all of the cost saving mandates issued over the past few years, the teams should have plenty of money to go out and buy the proper safety equipment. We just know that was your intent all along, right?

Here are a few companies which offer quality safety products that would like to present some of their latest offerings. The descriptions are provided by the manufacturer.

The Snell SA2010-rated BR.1 from Bell is the first model in the industry that can be used as a traditional helmet, side forced-air or top forced-air helmet. By utilizing an innovative kit system, racers can now customize the BR.1 to adapt to their individual needs, different seat configurations, and other forms of racing throughout their career.

The BR.1 features a lightweight composite shell, leading-edge styling, aero front lip, and a large eyeport. The standard BR.1 is sold in the rear vent configuration featuring a venturi air exchange system. As air flows over the helmet, the venturi effect increases cooling inside the helmet and prevents the shield from fogging by creating a vacuum that pulls airflow through the helmet.

The BR.1’s rear-facing chin-bar vents and top vent provide ventilation while preventing dirt and dust from entering the helmet. These features make the BR.1 an outstanding choice for racers competing on dirt.

Thanks to the helmet’s versatility, racers no longer have to choose between a side forced-air or top forced-air model. By using the optional kit system, racers can easily switch the BR.1 to the desired forced-air configuration for their type of racing. Installing either the side (left) forced-air or top forced-air kit, the BR.1 becomes a full ventilation forced-air helmet.

The BR.1 incorporates Bell’s air chamber technology to increase pressure and accelerate airflow (when used with an external forced-air system) to maximize airflow for improved ventilation and comfort. Bell’s 2011 forced-air helmet features the Quick Lock forced-air nozzle that locks the forced-air connector in place yet allows for easy release when it’s time to exit the vehicle.

The smaller nozzle design helps accelerate airflow into the helmet. The Quick Lock nozzle can be used with traditional 1.5-inch diameter forced-air hoses by using the air adaptor kits that connect the hose with the Bell Quick Lock nozzle. In addition, customers have the option of using a top or side forced-air kit using the traditional round or standard barb nozzle.