In 2001, NASCAR hired Dr. Sicking to investigate the causes of Dale Earnhardt's tragic crash at the Daytona 500.

daytona original

Dr. Sicking began by analyzing multiple camera views to reconstruct the actual impact conditions.

daytona model

He then tested those impact conditions in computer models and real-world crash tests.

daytona sim

daytona test crash

This work led to the design of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction Barrier, or SAFER barrier, which is designed to absorb much of the energy of impact and mitigate driver injury and vehicle damage. 

Research shows that SAFER reduces G-force energy on impact by 50 percent over traditional racetrack walls, and reduces driver injuries up to 80 percent.

Pre-SAFER impact


Post-SAFER impact