I remember some comments about the seat belt.
It seems it was reported that the belt 'dumped'.
The seat belt normally lays flat inside of a slit type bracket, that keeps the belt positioned properly and flat across the protected area of the
body. The forces of collision are then spread out over the flat surface of the belt, reducing the load on any particular area of the belt, making it
When a belt 'dumps' generally from a force, improper installation, or improper application by the driver, it 'bunches up' into one side of the
bracket, that is made of steel. The extreme forces then are not applied evenly across the flat of the belt, but instead are applied to strands, or
portions of the belt, and the belt is not designed to accept an uneven application of stretch or force.
Additionally, Dale, had a habit of positioning his seat (the driver called the shots here, back then) off center low and if I remember right, slightly
skewed to the left. This gave him advantage to view the cars on the inside thru the peripherals of his vision, without much turning of his head.
This may also have applied uneven distribution of force or stretch to the belt, as it 'dumped'.
A side note, many drivers used to twist the submarine belt (the one between the legs, to keep you from submarining under the dash, in a frontal
collision), becouse that offered more comfort and less likely of sudden discomfort, in a crash. Again, compromising the integrity of the system
designed for safety.
Generally a crash like he experienced, 150+mph into the wall (est 30-50mph scrubbed off when he spun) with lateral forces applied, should not have
been life threatening......
But it was.
This whole event, also caused Bill Simpson, to quit his job as head of Simpson Racing Products. Many threats and comments, and lawsuits, were directed
his way, undeservedly.
[Edited on 26-11-2003 by smirkley]