‘Race With Restraint’ strives to improve safety for grassroots racers


Among the biggest risks of grassroots racing is oftentimes the lack of adequate safety equipment, particularly head-and-neck restraint devices and upgraded helmets.

One of the main reasons drivers forego such equipment is the cost factor to purchase it. And because most small, independent grassroots tracks mandate only minimal safety equipment standards, drivers typically put any available money into their race vehicle instead of themselves.

That tendency may start to see a change for the better as the Miami-based Motorsport Safety Foundation begins a new national initiative this weekend known as “Race With Restraint.”

Founded in 2014, the non-profit MSF is committed to improving safety conditions at racetracks everywhere. Those improvements include head-and-neck restraints and helmets, stronger and safer retaining walls and advocating for more motorsport safety education and awareness.

Race With Restraint offers adjustable HANS devices, Bell Racing GP.2 Carbon helmets and helmet anchors for drivers who already have HANS-compliant devices at participating racetracks. Units are rented for a small fee and then returned at the end of that day’s on-track activities.

“This program hopes to spark awareness, give everyone a chance to utilize an extremely beneficial safety device and serve as a low-cost demo platform for the restraints,” said Motorsport Safety Foundation founder and president Henrique Cisneros.

Race With Restraint kicks off at this weekend’s 24 Hours of LeMons “Doing Time in Joliet” at Autobahn Country Club in suburban Chicago. The primary element of RWR is the rental of Frontal Head Restraints (FHR) to drivers that will take part in the endurance event.

“We greatly appreciate the consideration shown to us by Mike Gritter and the Autobahn Country Club as the first track to support the program,” said MSF chief operating officer and former IMSA vice president Scot Elkins. “We’d also like to acknowledge every single MSF member who donated to Race with Restraint. With their help, we can proudly say that we are now fully funded for 20 rental kiosks.”

As MSF touts in its promotional brochure, “Never race without a restraint. Even small accidents can become fatal without it.”

The 24 Hours of LeMons is a nationwide series of endurance races for cars that cost up to $500, including purchase and preparation – which is less than the price of most FHR’s. The endurance race begins at 11 am ET on Saturday and concludes at 11 am ET on Sunday.

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IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change