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

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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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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, points

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

POINTS: Standings after Rolex 24 at Daytona l Michelin Endurance Cup standings l Daytona endurance points

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.