Lots of things necessary for...
Lots of things necessary for working on a race car--welding, cleaning with strong solvents, and so on—can create strong fumes. Make sure to keep your shop well ventilated.
14. Buy a Fan
Life in the shop can be hazardous. We assume you already know the big stuff about wearing eye protection when welding, and not wearing loose clothing when working with a saw or other power tools, but have you considered improving your safety by simply turning on a fan? Racers are often forced to breathe air that isn't exactly as fresh as a mountain meadow. There are harsh fumes from cleaners and solvents, carbon monoxide from running the race engine in your shop, and fumes from welding. We're not saying that this stuff is going to kill you tomorrow, but it can't be as healthy as fresh, clean air, right? So consider using an inexpensive fan to increase ventilation inside your race shop. A large exhaust fan is probably ideal, but anything that helps pull in at least a little fresh air is a good idea.
15. Pack Your Drawers
Nobody likes wearing a bulky race suit. And modern technology has done wonders for providing great fire protection while limiting the amount of layers necessary in the suit. But there is no getting around the fact that more layers of protection between your skin and a fire means more insulation from burning heat. One easy way to add to your protection factor is to replace your standard underclothes with Nomex "underwear." A cotton T-shirt may be comfortable, but it will do nothing to protect you when the chips are down. But you can wear purpose-made racing underwear to provide an extra level of thermal protection without increasing the bulk of your racing suit. This includes an undershirt, shorts, or long johns and even socks. Of course, outfitting yourself in Nomex is a bit more expensive than your standard Fruit of the Looms, but it can definitely be worth it.
If your pit area isn’t well...
If your pit area isn’t well lit, there is no excuse not to bring your own lights. It will make working on your race car easier and allow you to concentrate on the job at hand instead of wasting time trying to remember where you left your flashlight.
16. Light It Up
If your pits aren't well lit, working on your car can be a pain. Trying to strain to see what you are working on is not only annoying, but it can also be tiring and a distraction from what you really need to be concentrating on. It may be more stuff you have to haul back and forth, but if your pits aren't lit well enough for you to see comfortably, consider bringing some work lights to place strategically around your pit area. You may also need a generator to power your lights, but many racers use one already for charging the car battery between heats.
17. Check Your Crush Panels
Crush panels do more than keep grit out of the driver's compartment. They are also useful for keeping radiant heat from the engine from cooking the driver's feet and legs, and they also help block carbon monoxide and other exhaust gasses from the driver's compartment. Over time as a race car gets dinged up, the crush panels usually just get bent back into what resembles their original shape and riveted back into place. Take a moment to reseal any gaps that have formed with some silicone or by making new crush panels. This can help create a cleaner, safer environment for the driver to work.
18. No Leaks
You've already spent good money on a quality fuel cell, but what type of fuel line are you running from the cell to your race engine? Standard rubber fuel line may be fine for the family car, but it's too easily punctured to be trusted in a racing environment. Use a quality braided line that does a good job protecting the inner liner from abrasions, punctures, and cuts. Or, consider running the fuel line inside metal tubing. This is especially critical if the fuel line is routed through the cockpit.
It’s hard to work on a race...
It’s hard to work on a race car without needing to weld something. Having a good welder on your crew is a requirement. If your race team doesn’t have one, then maybe it needs to be you.
19. Learn to Weld
Every time you turn around, something around a race car needs to be welded. So take a moment to honestly appraise your welding skills. Are you confident in your welds, or do you often think, "I hope I've got the settings right," before sticking wire to metal? You can test your welding skills by welding up a few sticks of scrap steel and then taking a hammer to try to knock it back apart. A quality weld should have enough heat to penetrate into both pieces of metal without blowing holes though it. One thing no racer can afford is welds on either the rollcage or any other component inside the cockpit breaking in the event of a hard hit. If you aren't sure your welding is as good as it could be, there is no shame in getting a refresher. A quality welder is a critical member on any race team. Most local community colleges have a class you can take in the evenings, or just spend some time working with someone who is a better welder than you are and see what you can learn.
20. Double Up
Any number of factors can cause your engine to run hotter than normal, and that equals extra pressure in your cooling system. A blown radiator hose equals (besides an embarrassing cloud of steam) water being sprayed onto the track right in front of your rear tires. You can provide an extra bit of security by double clamping your radiator lines. Installing an extra hose clamp on both ends of the lines is cheap and easy, and it can keep you from having to explain how a radiator hose caused you to back into the wall. So there you have it, 20 safety tips that you may not not have previously thought about. Take them to heart, be safe and don't forget to get yourself a head and neck restraint like Simpson's Hybrid Pro.