Newswise — New materials for NASCAR promise to save lives and reduce injuries in automobile racing — a popular sport with a fan-base of 75 million — and everyday driving, according to an article scheduled for the Feb. 2 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. NASCAR's new racing season begins Feb. 7.

In the magazine's cover story, C&EN Associate Editor Bethany Halford points out that for many years NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) left safety innovations in the hands of mechanics and engineers tinkering in the garage. These innovations haven't kept pace with NASCAR's push for faster cars, the article notes. But a series of spectacular crashes that claimed the lives of several NASCAR stars brought about a new focus on safety.

Researchers recently established the NASCAR R&D Center to focus on safety innovations, leading to a major redesign of the stockcar to make it more crash resistant. Other innovations include clothing (for drivers and crews) that is more fire-resistant and the development of stronger safety barriers for the track walls. Some of these materials could be used in future passenger cars and highways, the article suggests.

ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Feb. 2, 2009"Materials for the Modern Gladiator"

This story will be available on Feb. 2 at