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Oct 13, 2012 - 06:07 PM
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NHTSA Administrator Strickland's Birthday Weekend Planned Around NASCAR
Posted by: newsla on Oct 13, 2012 - 06:03 PM
NHTSA Administrator Strickland's Birthday Weekend Planned Around NASCAR

David Strickland, administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and students from North Carolina A&T received a behind-the-scenes tour on Friday afternoon at the NASCAR Research and Development Center – a visit with major crossover appeal for one of the country’s top safety minds.


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In his role as administrator at the NHTSA, Strickland oversees safety initiatives implemented in the production of consumer vehicles sold across the country.

Built in 2002 the Research and Development Center is one of a kind in the motorsports industry, providing NASCAR with a dedicated staff focusing on safety, competition and cost management.

Strickland and the North Carolina A&T students were given an insider’s view of the R&D center by Managing Director Mike Fisher. Fisher has overseen the R&D center since 2006 and led numerous safety initiatives over the years. He has been involved in projects ranging from the new NASCAR Nationwide Series chassis to the improved Incident Data Recorder.

Strickland said the Incident Data Recorder (IDR) was one of the highlights of the tour, as it gathers crucial data for NASCAR engineers to dissect on-track accidents and improve driver safety.

“Frankly the entire afternoon was super interesting but looking at the work of the human modeling that is going on in terms of looking at crash kinetics and actually looking at how the human body really reacts to particular crash forces using the computer simulator, it is stuff that we work on very hard at the Department of Transportation,” said Strickland, after given a first-hand demonstration of how IDR data can be used. “But to see NASCAR using this in cooperation with their work with NASA and Toyota, it feeds back to our work.”

As the students departed for Charlotte Motor Speedway, Strickland was already gearing up for race five in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“I have been looking forward to this weekend ever since it has been on my calendar and it is also a great opportunity because it is my birthday weekend,” Strickland said. ”I get to learn about NASCAR and I get to celebrate my birthday at a race, which is really cool.”

A professed Jeff Gordon fan, Strickland hopes the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion can keep his current hot streak alive.

“I am a Jeff Gordon guy, so I was really happy to see him get second last week and try to pull up into the Chase a bit tighter,” Strickland said. “But Keselowski is really knocking them out, and I know Jimmie Johnson is not going away.”

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