SUMMARY OF DALE EARNHARDT CRASH REPORT

NASCAR Statement Mike Helton, President, NASCAR August 21, 2001

Nothing we do can bring back those we have lost as a part of our sport. We can, however, learn from those losses and honor them in what we do moving forward. It may seem a bit unusual to discuss moving forward at the beginning of this presentation. But, in some ways, that seems most appropriate because this is the one good part of a tragedy - and because I can think of no more important part. To do that, we need to briefly look back. One of the reasons for creating NASCAR more than 50 years ago was Bill France, Sr.'s, desire to improve safety for drivers and spectators. As this sport has evolved, so have safety improvements. One can look at the cars and equipment used 50 years ago, 25 years ago, 10 years ago, or two years ago for that matter and the cars and equipment used today are clear examples of the safety enhancement evolution. Through the collaborative efforts of many in this sport, numerous improvements have taken place.

Three excellent examples are the implementation of fuel cells and roof flaps and the development and continuous improvement of the roll cage.

Almost one year ago, NASCAR began working on plans for an advanced research and development center. We have hired a director who is putting together a team that will focus on safety enhancements, cost management, and developing a vision for the cars of the future. We are also seeking a fully devoted person to establish procedures for and to oversee accident investigations. The facility will be fully operational early next year.

It is also important to take note of the work that these men on stage have accomplished. You'll be hearing from them in a few minutes, and I hope you are as impressed with the thoroughness of their work as I am. We learned a great deal from their work and have compiled a body of knowledge that will contribute to safer races well into the future. Specifically, A computer crash model has been created to assist car manufacturers in designing safer cars Their investigation provided extensive information about an occupant's movements in a barrier crash at a critical angle, which will also assist car and restraint system manufacturers in future designs. Their work includes significant new information on the problem of dumping, which will provide highly useful information to drivers, crew members, and seat belt manufacturers. The investigation contains an analysis of the operation of a seat belt restraint system under a maximum load created by a critical angle crash, which will assist occupant restraint manufacturers in the design of safer systems. We have additional knowledge to apply to barrier testing and analysis, which we began with Dr. Sicking and his Nebraska Team along with the IRL last year.

Additionally, there are a number of steps NASCAR is taking as a result of the investigation. First, as you know, NASCAR has for some time recommended the use of head and neck restraints. We have also urged drivers to talk with Dr. John Melvin about the benefits of these systems. This year we increased the. size of window openings to help alleviate concerns about exiting the car while wearing one of these devices. We are pleased that a majority of Winston Cup drivers now use them. But, we are not satisfied. We have intensified our efforts with drivers, equipment manufacturers, and outside experts with the goal of helping all drivers find a system with which they feel comfortable and safer.

Second, we have asked Dr. Melvin and Dr. Raddin to lead a study on occupant restraint systems to better examine belt strength; how to avoid dumping; optimal installation methods; and belt accessories such as pull tabs, adjusters and spring clips. We anticipate results by the end of the year and are prepared to take action to improve the systems as soon as appropriate.

Third, we are committed to the installation of crash data recorders by the beginning of the next race season. Such devices will help drivers, owners, manufacturers, and NASCAR study how impacts affect drivers and cars, In the meantime, we will work with the industry on details for making this a reality.

Fourth, we currently use local doctors licensed to practice medicine in jurisdictions on the NASCAR circuit. This is a good system since those doctors are intimately familiar with the local hospitals and medical resources and have regular and extensive experience dealing with serious trauma cases. To enhance this system, we are in the process of hiring a qualified person to serve as a medical liaison, who will be knowledgeable about driver medical histories and will coordinate such important information with the local physicians. We expect to have someone in place by the start of the 2002 season.

Finally, we will aggressively pursue any legitimate safety enhancement opportunity. Importantly, as with other safety initiatives we have implemented, we will not rush to fix one thing without fully understanding the unintended consequences in other areas.

While we may have fallen short at times in our communication, it is my strong belief we have always tried to do the right thing in the area of safety. We will continue to approach this with the firm belief that even in a sport where danger is inherent any death or serious injury is one too many. We are committed to accelerating the evolution of safety within this great sport through continued collaborative efforts, using the best minds and best technology we can find, whenever and wherever we can find them.

INTRODUCTION

When Bill France, Sr. founded NASCAR 53 years ago, one of his primary goals was to make stock car racing safer for NASCAR competitors and fans. Over the years that commitment has resulted in !my significant improvements, but it has not eliminated tragedy from the sport.

On February 18, 2001, in the fourth turn of the last lap of the Daytona 500, NASCAR lost Dale Earnhardt, a close friend and one of its greatest drivers. In light of a unique failure in the restraint system (a separated belt) and three other recent and equally tragic losses, its desire to provide the best safety data available to NASCAR car manufacturers, drivers and car owners, the availability of extensive information regarding the accident, and consistent with its historic commitment to safety, NASCAR commissioned a comprehensive, scientific study. The Earnhardt study has generated a wealth of information and tools, including a state-of-the-art computer crash model of a NASCAR Winston Cup car, for car manufacturers, owners and drivers to use in their pursuit of safer vehicles and racing conditions. NASCAR has been and will, continue to be involved in those efforts through coordination, encouragement and funding. In addition, as a result of the study and its continuing safety commitment, NASCAR is announcing today in a separate statement several safety-related measures.

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

NASCAR initiated the Earnhardt study by arranging for the retention of nationally respected experts. Two events provide the principal focus of an automotive accident study: the movement of and impact suffered by the car, and the movement of and impacts suffered by the occupant within the car before and at the time of the impact. Experts for each discipline were retained: a team of professors at the University of Nebraska led by Dr. Dean L. Sicking (the "Nebraska Team"), who are experts in accident reconstruction, computer crash modeling, and barrier accidents, and Drs. James V. Benedict and James H. Raddin, Jr. of Biodynamic Research Corporation ("BRC"), who are experts in the field of biomechanical analysis. As the study unfolded, NASCAR retained additional experts as circumstances warranted.

The exhaustive reports of each expert are found in the appendices. In this document, we provide an overview of the investigation and a summary of their findings. In particular, based on the evidence they were able to review, the experts reached the following principal conclusions:

1. Dale Earnhardt Most Likely Died From A Blow To The Occipital Portion Of The Skull (The Lower Back Of The Head), Which In Turn Caused A Basilar Skull Fracture.

The blow to the head most likely occurred as a result of contact between the left occipital region and the right side of the steering wheel during the wall impact or between the occipital region and vehicle structure on rebound from that impact. A sequence of complex body motions during the initial impact with the No. 36 Car prepositioned the body and head to the right and slightly rearward, immediately prior to and nearly simultaneous with the wall impact. The body and head then moved in response to both impacts, first generally rightward and then generally forward. The helmet was displaced forward on the head, the left lap belt separated, and the relatively exposed area of the left head severely impacted the right side of the steering wheel or, on rebound, the 1 posterior region of the head impacted the interior structure behind and left of the driver seat.

2. It Is Unlikely That Dale Earnhardt's Basilar Skull Fracture Was Caused By ``Head Whip'' Or An Impact To The Chin.

While it is possible that neck tension and torsion at the time of the blow to the head contributed to the basilar skull fracture, it is not likely that ``head whip'' alone caused the fracture. There is no evidence of injuries to the neck bones, ligaments or muscles that would be expected in association with basilar skull fractures caused by head whip. Basilar skull fractures are not usually ascribed to head whip when there is evidence of significant other blows to the head (such as here). There is also an absence of dramatic injuries to the torso, which would be expected if the restraint system had arrested forward motion of the body while allowing the head to whip forward. In addition, the movement of the occupant in the car (described in detail below and in the expert's report) suggests that head whip was less, likely than head impact.

With respect to the ``superficial abrasion'' found on the right side of the chin, there is no evidence that it was caused by a significant impact. The left side of Dale Earnhardt's head, rather than the right side, was the ``leading'' side, making it unlikely that there was any significant impact by the right chin on the steering wheel, or any other impact that could have caused the basilar skull fracture described in the autopsy report. Nor is there any laceration or contusion in the area suggesting a significant blow there. Rather, the superficial abrasion is most likely due to contact with the chin strap as the helmet rotated on the head.

3. The Left Lap Belt Separated At Some Point During The Wall Impact, Which Increased The Forward And Rightward Motion Of Dale Earnhardt During The Wall Impact.

The physical evidence within the No. 3 Car, the pattern of injuries to the body, and other expert analysis, shows conclusively that the left lap belt separated during the wall impact, although the precise point at which it separated cannot be determined. The most likely reason for the belt separation was a phenomenon known as ``dumping,'' which can significantly reduce the strength of a belt under severe loads such as that experienced in this case. Dumping of a belt occurs when the belt webbing is pulled or moved significantly to one side of the adjustment device through which the belt webbing travels. When a ``dumped'' belt is placed under stress, the load is unevenly distributed to a small group of fibers on one side of the webbing, and if the load is sufficiently great, the belt can begin to separate on that side and then tear across the entire webbing. Dumping and separation can be caused by severe or asymmetric loading during impact, adjuster characteristics, asymmetries from installation, or misadjustment in the tightening process. In this case, Drs. Benedict and Raddin concluded that the dumping was not caused by driver adjustment because the marks on the left lap belt show that it was tightened in a generally symmetrical fashion. The relative contribution of the other factors in this particular case cannot be determined because of the complexities of the occupant kinematics during the two impacts.

4. No Single Factor Can Be Isolated As ``The Cause'' Of Dale Earnhardt's Death.

Dale Earnhardt died as a result of several factors coming together at precisely the wrong moment, including the location of the accident (the turn), the unavoidable collision with the No.36 Car, the pre-positioning of the head that was caused by that collision, the severity of the wall impact caused by the angle and velocity of the car into the wall, the separation of the seat belt, and the rotation of the helmet forward on the head. These factors operating together resulted in head impact. None of these factors alone can be conclusively isolated as ``the cause.'' In light of the speculation that has appeared over the last five months, two additional observations are appropriate.

First, Dale Earnhardt was committed to safety. He chose to install his restraint system in a manner that he believed would be the most beneficial to him. His system had served him well over many years in many different types of accidents, some of them quite severe. There is no evidence that Dale Earnhardt was aware of the risks of belt dumping. In fact, prior to the Earnhardt accident, there was no known instance of any belt separating in a NASCAR event as a result of dumping, and therefore the risk of dumping was unappreciated by NASCAR competitors and officials.

No restraint system or method of installation, however, is optimally suited for every type of collision, and there are benefits and risks to each depending on the type of impact. In this particular case, because the seat belt separated and the restraint system was compromised, it is impossible to say whether a different system or method of installation would have changed the outcome.

Second, the seat belt separation cannot be isolated as the sole cause of Dale Earnhardt's death. While the separation of the lap belt increased the potential for serious injury, the precise timing of the separation during the impact is unknown. As the experts explain, the crash was very severe, several events coincided in a unique manner to produce a tragic result, and none of them can be singled out as the sole cause. In other words, it is impossible to determine with certainty whether Dale Earnhardt would or would not have survived if the lap belt had remained .intact. The balance of this report describes the process of the Earnhardt study and the basis for the experts' conclusions.

PART ONE: THE LEFT LAP BELT SEPARATED DURING THE ACCIDENT

On February 19, 2001, the Monday morning after the Daytona 500, while the No.3 Car was in Daytona Beach, NASCAR Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson first noticed the separated left lap belt beside the driver seat. The next day (Tuesday), Bobby Hutchens, General Manager of Richard Childress Racing, examined-the separated belt and the No.3 Car at NASCAR's research and development facility near Hickory, North Carolina.

On Wednesday, Hutchens, Rusty Wallace, Ken Schrader, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Randy Earnhardt, Mike Helton, Gary Nelson, Bill Simpson (then President of Simpson Race Products, which had supplied the belt), other NASCAR officials, seat belt experts from Autoliv, Inc., and others were able to examine the separated belt. The seat belt experts explained the phenomenon of dumping.

Because of the obvious safety issue, NASCAR shortly thereafter disclosed that the seat belt had separated, and it made a concentrated effort before the next NASCAR Winston Cup practice to urge all competitors to inspect their restraint systems. On April 29, 2001, one of the emergency medical technicians (``EMTs'') who had attended to Dale Earnhardt immediately after the accident stated that he believed the lap belt had been intact at that time. The direct physical evidence at the time left little doubt in NASCAR's mind that the belt had separated during the accident, but NASCAR was widely criticized, and many questioned the thoroughness of its accident investigation. As a result, NASCAR asked the law firm of Baker Botts, LLP (``Baker Botts'') to undertake an investigation specific to the seat belt separation. Baker Botts, in turn, retained IPSA International, a private investigations firm, to assist in the investigation.

The Scope Of The Seat Belt Investigation

Baker Botts' investigation consisted of three parts. First, Baker Botts and IPSA studied the videotape of the accident and, with the full cooperation of security and emergency personnel at Daytona International Speedway, identified and interviewed all doctors, EMTs, and police officers, all track security, wrecker and fire crew members, and all drivers and NASCAR officials, known to have been in the proximity of the No.3 Car between the time of the accident and the time that the car was transported to NASCAR's North Carolina facility. Police records regarding the impoundment of the No.3 Car were also obtained. Over 70 interviews were conducted by Baker Botts and IPSA, and many of the more important interviews were tape-recorded. All of the witnesses cooperated fully.

The purpose of the interviews was threefold: (1) to determine whether anyone had observed the left lap belt either intact or separated after the accident, (2) to determine whether any other activity, such as cutting in the extrication effort, could have resulted in the separation, and (3) to trace the chain of custody in order to determine whether there was a meaningful opportunity for any person to tamper with the left lap belt after the accident. In particular, IPSA International's Senior Managing Director, D.C. Page, assisted in the investigation. Mr. Page's CV is attached at Tab 20.

Second, Baker Botts collected all known photographs of the No.3 Car and the left lap belt. Most important were the thirteen photographs of the car taken by the investigator for the Volusia County Medical Examiner's office on Monday morning, February 19. These photographs were the first post-crash images taken of the interior of the No.3 Car, and they were taken while the No.3 Car was still under the custody of the Daytona Beach Police Department. These photographs, taken during a time when the vehicle was still under police custody, provide the first ``hard'' evidence with respect to the seat belt separation issue.

Third, Baker Botts submitted the left lap belt to scientific testing, including DNA analysis by a nationally recognized laboratory 2 and microscopic analysis by a trained forensic expert in fiber analysis.

Fourth, on July 19, 2001, NASCAR representatives met with experts retained by Simpson Race Products, which had supplied the belts that Dale Earnhardt used during the race. They were given the opportunity to thoroughly examine the belts, including by microscope, to take photographs of the belts for subsequent analysis and study, and to view and measure the No.3 Car's interior. They subsequently issued reports in which they concluded that the left lap belt separated during the wall impact.

Finally, Baker Botts requested the analysis of Drs. Benedict and Raddin as to whether any forensic evidence within the No.3 Car or resulting from the injuries to Dale Earnhardt could shed light on whether the seat belt separated during the accident.

The Evidence Regarding The Seat Belt Issue

The evidence, physical and otherwise, unquestionably demonstrates that the left lap belt separated during the wall impact and that there was no opportunity for NASCAR or any other third party to fabricate a separated seat belt scenario.

The Belt System Was Found Loose And Displaced To The Right.

1. Each of the EMTs attending to Dale Earnhardt immediately after the accident recalls seeing the 5-point latching mechanism for the belt positioned between 4 and 8 inches to the right of the center line of Dale Earnhardt's body. The EMT who was inside the car and thus in the best position to see the belt system, observed that it was ``loose'' and that the latching mechanism was up to eight inches to the right. It is impossible to move the latching mechanism of a normally adjusted five-point harness 4-8 inches to the right if the left lap belt is intact.

2. Baker Botts retained Walter F. Rowe, Ph.D., a professor of forensic evidence at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. to collect samples from the belt and the No.3 Car for the DNA analysis. It also retained Cellmark Diagnostics, a DNA laboratory in Germantown, Maryland, to undertake the actual DNA analysis.

3. Baker Botts retained Myron T. Scholberg, a retired FBI agent, with eighteen years experience in the FBI lab analyzing fiber evidence.

4. NASCAR has no reason to doubt the sincerity of the EMT who stated that the left lap belt was intact when he was attending to Dale Earnhardt. All evidence, however, shows that his recollection is mistaken.

There Was No Opportunity For Cutting.

The EMTs uniformly stated that they did not see the belt cut by anyone and they did not cut it themselves. While one attempted to use a pair of scissors to cut the helmet strap in order to remove the helmet, he was unable to do so and laid the scissors on the roof of the No.3 Car. None of the tools used to cut the roof of the No.3 Car in the extrication process was near the floor where the left lap belt was located, nor were they small enough to fit into the space where the belt was anchored to the floor.

No One At The Accident Scene Could Confirm That The Belt Was Intact Or Separated.

No individual in or around the No.3 Car between the time it came to rest on the track apron immediately after the accident until it was photographed by the Medical Examiner investigator on Monday morning, recalls seeing the left lap belt either intact or separated from the latching end to the floor anchor end.

The single EMT who believed that the belt was intact based that perception on his recollection that the belt system had ``tension'' when he was attempting to unlatch it, He did not trace the belt from the latching mechanism to the floor anchoring location to see if it was separated.

The Medical Examiner Photographs Show A Separated Belt.

The investigator for the Medical Examiner took thirteen photographs of the No.3 Car while it was in a transport trailer and under the custody of the Daytona Beach Police Department.

One of the photographs (Tab 3)5 shows the separated lap belt resting on the floor between the driver's seat and the driver-side structure. The photograph had been posted on the Internet for a short time after the accident and therefore was available to the media and others. In fact, in his April 10, 2001 report (Tab 7), Dr. Barry Myers (the expert appointed by the court in the lawsuit concerning release of the autopsy photos) observed that ``review of the vehicle photographs shows that the left (outboard) lap belt webbing is separated and appears torn.''

Another of the photographs (Tab 4) shows the interior of the driver seat on the driver's left-hand side. If the left lap belt had remained intact, it would be seen in this photograph protruding through the ``slit'' in the driver's seat through 6 which the lap belt was normally installed . The left lap belt, however, is not there.

The Left Lap Belt Has Been Secured Since The Accident.

After the photographs were taken by the Medical Examiner's investigator Monday morning, the Daytona Beach Police Department released the No.3 Car into NASCAR's custody for transport to its new research and development facility near Hickory, North Carolina. The car was maintained by NASCAR in a locked facility secured by an independent security firm. Then, over the next two days, the several individuals mentioned above visited the NASCAR facility and observed and studied the separated belt. The belt remained in the custody of NASCAR, locked inside an enclosed and secure room within NASCAR's facility, until April 17, 2001.

On that date, NASCAR moved it to a bank safe deposit box in Conover, North Carolina. 5 The photograph has been enhanced, but not altered, at the request of Baker Botts by There TV, Inc., a nationally recognized video and photographic enhancement studio. There TV's resume is attached at Tab 24. For example, in the photograph showing the right side of the driver's seat (Tab 5), the right lap belt can be seen resting on the right armrest.

DNA And Other Evidence Confirms The Separated Left Lap Belt In NASCAR's Possession Is The Belt From the Earnhardt Accident.

On May 8, 2001, at the direction of Baker Botts, Walter F. Rowe, Ph.D. (Professor of Forensic Science at George Washington University) collected various samples of blood from the belt and inside the No.3 Car, both inside the seat and outside the seat. Dr. Rowe then submitted all blood samples to Cellmark Diagnostics, Inc. (``Cellmark''), an independent accredited DNA testing laboratory, for DNA testing.

As Dr. Rowe explains, ``torn fibers at the end of one part of the left lap belt are matted with dried blood, while the corresponding end of the other part of the left lap belt are not matted. This is consistent with the left lap belt being separated before the blood was deposited on it.''

Fiber Analysis Shows That The Belt Was Torn Under Stress And Not Cut.

It has been suggested that the left lap belt may have been cut rather than torn. No evidence has been found that would support this conclusion.

First, no eyewitness saw the belt being cut after the accident.

Second, the Daytona Beach Police Department in its May 31, 2001 report concluded to the contrary, that ``closer examination with a magnifying glass (3X and 5X magnification) revealed the belt fibers torn, with some exposed fiber ends in a 'ball' as if melted. There was no indication appearing consistent with a cut from an edged instrument . . . . (Tab 13).

Third, Baker Botts submitted the left lap belt to another independent fiber expert, Myron T. Scholberg. Mr. Scholberg is a veteran of eighteen years in the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C., during eight of which he headed the Microscopic Analysis Unit. He examined the left lap belt with a medium powered microscope (75 magnification) and a high-powered microscope to a lesser extent and concluded that ``microscopic examination of the fiber ends of this separation revealed that these fibers were torn. No fibers were observed with ends that were cut with a sharp instrument.''

The Pattern Of Injuries Is Consistent With Separation Of The Belt During Impact.

Drs. Benedict and Raddin explain in their report (Tab 2) that certain of the injuries to the body noted by the Medical Examiner in his autopsy report are consistent with the conclusion that the left lap belt separated during the accident. Tab 12 is a diagram prepared by the Medical Examiner of the external injuries found on Dale Earnhardt. Three ``abrasion'' injuries to the left clavicle area, the left waist area and the right lower abdomen and pelvic area show the sequence in which Mr. Earnhardt's body came into contact with and ``loaded up'' the belt system during the accident.

If the belt had remained intact throughout the incident, the normal pattern of abrasions would be relatively equally distributed on the left and right shoulder area and the left and right hip/pelvis areas. Instead, there is no marking on the right side pelvis/hip area or the right shoulder area, and there is a significant diagonal abrasion to the right groin area.

Drs. Benedict and Raddin conclude that this unusual pattern shows that the left lap belt remained intact during the initial impact with the No.36 Car as the body moved to the right and also during the initial part of the wall impact (causing the abrasion on the left waist area) and then separated, forcing the crotch belt and right lap belt to carry the entire load on the lower right part of the body as the body moved further forward and to the right (causing the significant diagonal abrasion on the lower right groin area).

Finally, Mr. Earnhardt's left ankle fractured from an impact to the pedals and/or the forward wall of the occupant compartment (shown by a mark to the area), consistent with the left side of his body being less adequately restrained during the latter part of the wall impact.

The Anchored Portion Of The Left Lap Belt Shows That It Was Dumped.

The end of the left lap belt was found attached to its metal bracket but pulled significantly to the upper end of the adjustment device, as shown in the attached photograph (Tab 6). This is consistent with the left lap belt being dumped.

Simpson Race Products Experts Concur That The Left Lap Belt Separated During The Impact.

After a thorough review of the lap belt system and the interior of the No.3 Car on July 19, 2001, experts retained by Simpson Race Products similarly concluded that the left lap belt separated during the wall impact. They further concluded from microscopic analysis of the fiber ends that the belt had torn and was not cut.

The Chain Of Custody Demonstrates That There Was No Opportunity For Anyone To ``Invent'' A Separated Left Lap Belt.

The No.3 Car was immediately impounded after the accident. None of the individuals surrounding the No.3 Car between the time of the accident and the time it was placed in the custody of the Daytona Beach Police Department (7:15 p.m. Sunday night), including numerous independent third parties and officials, saw anyone removing or tampering with the belts.

The Medical Examiner photographs showing the separated belt were taken the morning following the accident while the No.3 Car was still under police custody. Finally, the lap belt that has been submitted to further testing, photographic analysis and investigation, including a review by the Daytona Beach Police Department on May 29, 2001, has been confirmed by independent third parties, including Bobby Hutchens (General Manager of Richard Childress Racing) to be the same lap belt examined by the independent third parties mentioned above beginning the morning of February 20, 200 1.

Conclusions Regarding The Seat Belt Issue

The evidence is conclusive that the left lap belt separated during the wall impact. There is no eyewitness evidence to the contrary, other than the perception of a single EMT who was focused on saving the life of Dale Earnhardt at the time. All other evidence, including the Medical Examiner investigative photographs, DNA analysis, microscopic fiber examination, the recollections of all EMTs regarding the condition of the belts and the displacement of the latching mechanism, and expert analysis of the injuries to the body, leads to a single conclusion: the left lap belt separated during the accident.

PART TWO: THE ACCIDENT

The Investigative Process

After the accident, and immediately upon its release to NASCAR by the Daytona Beach Police Department, NASCAR impounded the No.3 Car for investigative purposes, and then arranged for the retention of various experts to analyze the accident. The investigation that ensued has been one of the most comprehensive, in-depth investigations of a single accident in the history of motorsports.

The Experts Retained

Determining what happened to the No.3 Car immediately before and during the accident required engineers experienced in the dynamics of automobile crashes and, in particular, barrier impacts, preferably with knowledge regarding auto racing accidents. Prior to the Earnhardt accident, NASCAR already had been working with a team of professors led by Drs. Dean Sicking and John Reid. Both are nationally recognized experts in the field of barrier impacts with a vast amount of experience in accident reconstruction and computer modeling.

Determining what happened to Dale Earnhardt during the accident required a biomechanical medical expert and engineer with expertise in automobile crashes. For that expertise, NASCAR turned to Biodynamic Research Corporation (``BRC''), located in San Antonio, Texas, and particularly Dr. James V. Benedict and Dr. James H. Raddin, Jr.

Dr. Benedict received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1969 and his medical degree in 1976. He has been involved in accident analysis for over twenty-five years, and since 1986 has been a Director and Principal Consultant of BRC. Currently he serves as the President of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Dr. Raddin received his S.B. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (``MIT'') in 1967 and his medical degree in 1975. He has been involved in accident analysis for 24 years, has conducted numerous impact tests with volunteer subjects in five-point harnesses, and since 1988 has been a Director and Principal Consultant of BRC.

Dr. Sicking heads the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. Both Drs. Sicking and Reid are also professors at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The CVs for Drs. Sicking and Reid are found at Tabs 16 and 17 respectively. The CVs for Drs. Benedict and Raddin appear at Tabs 18 and 19.

Other companies provided technical support to Drs. Sicking, Benedict and Raddin. Autoliv 12 provided its testing facilities for various tests conducted under the super-vision of Drs. Sicking, Benedict and Raddin. Also, the television footage of the Earnhardt accident was extensive and provided valuable data that was not available to the same extent for prior accidents.

To enhance the television footage, There TV, Inc., with nationally-recognized expertise in video and photographic enhancement, was retained to enhance certain footage of the accident to obtain the best possible data relating to the movement of the car and the occupant during the accident.

In addition, with the cooperation of the major car manufacturers involved in NASCAR racing (General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Ford), a new computer crash model of a NASCAR Winston Cup Car was created by Altair Engineering, Inc., a nationally recognized automobile computer modeling firm, and then refined and finalized by Dr. Reid and the Nebraska Team. The computer crash model was useful in this investigation, and it will become a tool of great significance for future studies by the manufacturers and others in connection with race car development.

NASCAR's Charge To The Experts

NASCAR asked each of the experts to undertake a thorough analysis of what happened to the No.3 Car and to Dale Earnhardt during the accident. It emphasized that the results of each expert's analysis should be independently-formed, scientifically-based and, above all, factual. It also asked the Nebraska Team and BRC to prepare written reports of their respective findings, which are attached at Tabs 1 and 2 respectively.

Peer Review

NASCAR arranged to have the conclusions of Drs. Benedict and Raddin submitted to peer review by two additional experts, Drs. Robert A. Mendelsohn and Alan M. Nahum. Both are widely respected experts in the field of head injuries. Each reviewed the report and conclusions of Drs. Benedict and Raddin and discussed their findings with them. Each found the report to be thorough, objective and scientifically based, and each concurred in its conclusions (Tab 15).

The Movement And Impact Of The No.3 Car

The Nebraska Team's Investigative Work

The analysis of the movement and wall impact of the No.3 Car was significantly more complex because of the initial impact between the No.3 Car and the No.36 Car. As will be discussed below, the collision with the No.36 Car materially affects the analysis of the No.3 Car occupant's kinematics immediately prior to the impact with the wall. 12 Autoliv's capabilities are more fully described at Tab 25.

Among other projects, There TV in 1998 restored and enhanced the Abraham Zapruder film of the President Kennedy assassination, now in the National Archives. There TV's capabilities are further described in the materials found at Tab 24.

DNA And Other Evidence Confirms The Separated Left Lap Belt In NASCAR's Possession Is The Belt From the Earnhardt Accident.

On May 8, 2001, at the direction of Baker Botts, Walter F. Rowe, Ph.D. (Professor of Forensic Science at George Washington University) collected various samples of blood from the belt and inside the No.3 Car, both inside the seat and outside the seat. Dr. Rowe then submitted all blood samples to Cellmark Diagnostics, Inc. (``Cellmark''), an independent accredited DNA testing laboratory, for DNA testing.

On May 31, 2001, Cellmark issued its report confirming that all the blood samples came from the same person. Dr. Rowe took the blood samples from, among other locations, the tip ends of the separated portions of the left lap belt. The manner in which Dale Earnhardt's blood was deposited on the separated end of the left lap belt confirms that it separated during the accident. As Dr. Rowe explains, ``torn fibers at the end of one part of the left lap belt 3/8 are matted with dried blood, while the corresponding end of the other part of the left lap belt are not matted. This is consistent with the left lap belt being separated before the blood was deposited on it.''

Fiber Analysis Shows That The Belt Was Torn Under Stress And Not Cut.

It has been suggested that the left lap belt may have been cut rather than torn. No evidence has been found that would support this conclusion.

First, no eyewitness saw the belt being cut after the accident.

Second, the Daytona Beach Police Department in its May 31, 2001 report concluded to the contrary: that ``closer examination with a magnifying glass (3X and 5X magnification) revealed the belt fibers torn, with some exposed fiber ends in a 'ball' as if melted. There was no indication appearing consistent with a cut from an edged instrument . . . . (Tab 13).

Third, Baker Botts submitted the left lap belt to another independent fiber expert, Myron T. Scholberg. Mr. Scholberg is a veteran of eighteen years in the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C., during eight of which he headed the Microscopic Analysis Unit. He examined the left lap belt with a medium-powered microscope (75 magnifications) and a high-powered microscope to a lesser extent and concluded that examination of the fiber ends of this separation revealed that these fibers were torn.

The Pattern Of Injuries Is Consistent With Separation Of The Belt During Impact.

Drs. Benedict and Raddin explain in their report (Tab 2) that certain of the injuries to the body noted by the Medical Examiner in his autopsy report are consistent with the conclusion that the left lap belt separated during the accident. Tab 12 is a diagram prepared by the Medical Examiner of the external injuries found on Dale Earnhardt.

Three injuries to the left clavicle area, the left waist area and the right lower abdomen and pelvic area show the sequence in which Mr. Earnhardt's body came into contact with and ``loaded up'' the belt system during the accident.

The locations from which the blood samples were taken are shown in the photographs found at Tab 9. A copy of Dr. Rowe's report is found at Tab 8. Dr. Scholberg's CV is found at Tab 23. His Report is at Tab 14.

The Nebraska Team's principal conclusions are as follows:

1. As the No.3 Car came around the fourth turn, it made contact with the No.40 Car. At that point, the No.3 Car started down toward the track apron, and then through corrective steering it began to travel back up onto the race track.

2. As the No.3 Car moved up and across the track, Dale Earnhardt was actively steering to correct the trajectory of the car, but as he came up the track banking he came into the path of the No.36 Car. There was an unavoidable collision between the No.36 Car and the No.3 Car. The collision with the No.36 Car had two effects, both of which significantly increased the risk of serious injury.

3. First, the collision significantly increased the heading angle into the wall of the No.3 Car to approximately 55-59 degrees. This increased heading angle made the wall impact much more severe. In most cases, the heading angle will be more shallow and the car will ``hit the wall twice'' by rotating counterclockwise. If the heading angle is steeper, the car again will hit the wall twice by rotating clockwise. The energy and forces absorbed by the car, and therefore by the occupant, in a rotational, multipleimpact-point barrier collision will be ``spread out'' over time and therefore reduced in severity. In this instance, the heading angle of 55-59 degrees made this a ``critical angle'' impact that did not permit the car to rotate. Hence, all of the energy and load forces from the impact were felt in the initial impact, which lasted approximately 80 milliseconds in duration.

4. Second, the collision with the No. 36 Car resulted in an approximately 9-11 mph change in the velocity (Delta V) of the No.3 Car. As explained by Drs. Benedict and Raddin, this Delta V significantly changed the position of the occupant in the No.3 Car, by displacing his torso and head to the right and slightly rearward, which affected his subsequent kinematics within the car when the car hit the wall.

5. At the time of the impact with the wall, the No.3 Car was traveling at approximately 157- 160 mph. The car hit the wall at a heading angle of approximately 55-59 degrees. Its trajectory angle at the time of impact was approximately 13-14 degrees.

6. The No.3 Car experienced a ``crash pulse'' of approximately 80 milliseconds in duration. In other words, it was in deceleration for approximately 80 milliseconds.

7. The total Delta V of the No.3 Car during the wall impact was approximately 42-44 mph. In other words, its velocity changed by approximately 42-44 mph as a result of the wall impact.

8. The heading angle, trajectory angle, crash pulse duration, lack of rotation and Delta V all made this a very severe impact. 12

9. By contrast, the No.36 Car hit the wall at a more shallow heading angle and a more shallow trajectory angle, which significantly reduced the energy and loads felt by the No.36 Car and its occupant.

Movement of and Injuries to Dale Earnhardt BRC's Investigative Work

The task for Drs. Benedict and Raddin included analysis of both movement (engineering) and injuries (medical) to Dale Earnhardt. To that end, they reviewed and studied in detail several sources of information.

First, they undertook a detailed review of the autopsy report and exhibits of the Volusia County Medical Examiner, because that report describes in detail the injuries that Dale Earnhardt suffered.

The injuries were caused by his movement in the No.3 Car and the impacts within the interior of the car, including the seat belt system, the seat, the steering wheel, the roll cage bars, and any other part of the driver ``cocoon.'' The nature and extent of the injuries, therefore, can provide valuable evidence of what happened to the occupant during the accident.

Second, Drs. Benedict and Raddin undertook an extensive and detailed study of the interior of the No.3 Car. The interior contained numerous physical marks evidencing movement and impact points within the car. For example, there were ``fabric bums'' showing rapid movement of the body to the right and back, as well as bending of support structures, which would have occurred when the No.36 Car and the No.3 Car collided and prior to the impact with the wall.

Third, they analyzed the data provided by the Nebraska Team with respect to the reconstruction of the impact between the No .36 Car and the No.3 Car and the impact of the No.3 Car with the wall. This data was useful in determining the likely direction in which Dale Earnhardt moved prior to and at the time of the wall impact, and therefore what he likely hit within the No. 3 Car.

Fourth, they reviewed in detail the enhanced video image of the accident.

Fifth, they inspected and examined the driver helmet. The helmet contained clear marks consistent with a significant forward rotation on the head. In addition, the chin strap showed abrasions and folding consistent with the expected forward rotation of the helmet.

Finally they tested and confirmed their hypothesis regarding the movement of the occupant through the use of a sled test. The sled test demonstrated the motions described by Drs. Benedict and Raddin, namely, that at the time of the wall impact, Dale Earnhardt's head moved forward and somewhat to the right, then swung toward the rim of the steering wheel and finally rebounded back toward the interior rear structures, and that during this time, the helmet was rotated forward on the head in a manner that would tend to expose a portion of the left occipital region of the head to a severe impact.

The autopsy photographs were unavailable for review. The Medical Examiner was unavailable for consultation pursuant to the instructions of the Volusia County Attorney.

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