NASCAR and Hook and Loop: How Hook and Loop Fasteners Keep Pace With the Fastest Drivers

NASCAR and hook and loop fasteners have a deep relationship. Many longtime fans are aware of the way driver Davey Allison famously used hook and loop to bind his broken arm to the steering wheel and keep driving after a 1992 wreck. These products are also used for more than just emergencies. NASCAR, Formula One and other organizations routinely rely on hook and loop fasteners.

The Strengths of Hook and Loop Products

The same characteristics that make hook and loop fasteners attractive to the transportation industry help them fulfill numerous roles in high-intensity motor sports. Chief among these characteristics is the ability to resist high torsion and shear stresses. Such fasteners are also far more compact than many alternatives, which makes them suitable for the trimmed-down designs NASCAR drivers favor.

Making It Easier to Drive

Hook and loop fasteners are commonly applied to seating components, even though NASCAR vehicles lack the sheer number of pads and trim details found in conventional automobiles. Nonetheless, the fact that bucket seat components such as customized sponsor covers and foam comfort inserts can be securely fastened with hook and loop linkages lends well to the fast-paced nature of the sport.

Supporting Auxiliary Systems

NASCAR's hectic essence also necessitates internal technology that can be removed and affixed rapidly without loosening in the interim, and hook and loop fasteners satisfy such characteristics. Fastener strips are often used to keep snakelike cabling and electrical system components organized in the midst of a race.

Because these straps can be removed quickly, they permit rapid component replacements and smooth pit-stop procedures. Using hook and loop fasteners to create stable mounting points also mitigates acceleration-induced stretching and other forms of wear in wires or cables that might develop internal breaks if left unsecured.

Improving Safety Characteristics

The modern safety harness is one of the most high-profile racing applications of hook and loop technology. Although bolt-in mechanical linkages usually secure the high-stress tie points of these safety devices, comfort pads are often affixed using hook and loop fasteners that facilitate easy customization and make it more convenient for teams to switch drivers following emergencies. Some five-point harnesses also include additional sternum straps that are held in place with hook and loop.

Many of the flame-retardant technologies found in NASCAR racing suits and helmets are secured with hook and loop fasteners. Liners that keep drivers safe in the event of serious accidents must be sufficiently lightweight and flexible to permit freedom of motion; hook and loop and other fasteners let designers achieve maximum protection in a minimalist, effective package.

Novel applications for hook and loop technology are continually being discovered. The diverse capabilities of such fasteners suggest that there will always be a use for hook and loop fasteners in NASCAR.