“CRASH!” Selected for Library at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History

Copies autographed by Jim Downing and author available for a limited time

ATLANTA (Nov. 10, 2020) – “CRASH!,” a comprehensive look at the politics and physical realities of auto racing safety by renowned author/journalist Jonathan Ingram, has been selected for inclusion in the library of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute. The book, published in 2019, will be a permanent addition to the Smithsonian Libraries used by researchers, museum staff and visitors.

“It is a privilege to have this book recognized by the Smithsonian and made available to researchers and others,” said Ingram. “This book features the incredible work done by Jim Downing and Bob Hubbard to develop the HANS device, and I am grateful to the Smithsonian for inclusion in its library.”

The HANS, which prevents deadly basal skull fractures, was pioneered by five-time IMSA champion Jim Downing and invented by the late Dr. Robert Hubbard, his brother-in-law. “We have received awards over the years for the HANS Device,” said Downing. “But having a book about what it took to be successful in one of the libraries at the Smithsonian is truly a special honor. Jonathan Ingram did an incredible amount of research and really captures the story of what was happening in racing during that time when we kept losing drivers, starting in the 1990s. But there was still a lot of resistance to the idea of a head restraint.”

The book covers these challenges and the reluctance by sanctioning bodies to accept this radical technology, and how the Downing/Hubbard duo finally prevailed, helping to save hundreds of lives in all disciplines of auto racing.

“CRASH!” has a five-star rating on Amazon. For a limited time, copies autographed by Downing and the author are available online at


An overview of auto racing safety that began by protecting the public—without always protecting drivers.

How the intense outcry after Senna’s death in 1994 due to an errant suspension piece forced Formula 1 to commit to a safety revolution. The role of Schumacher, Benetton in the crash.

A downsized Model II was developed by Mercedes and HANS after a basal skull fracture nearly killed future F1 champion Mika Hakkinen in Australia. F1 teams resisted it.

Following Gonzalo Rodriguez’s death from a basal skull fracture and the deadly crash of Greg Moore, CART became the first sanctioning body to mandate the HANS.

Details of the fatal crash of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona in 2001, and an inside look at the controversial NASCAR investigation, which privately acknowledged a HANS would have saved him.

The HANS helped sustain the credibility of F1’s safety movement by preventing critical or fatal injuries to drivers Fernando Alonso in 2003 and Robert Kubica in 2007.

Why SAFER barriers are not enough to protect drivers from basal skull fractures.

From Senna to Earnhardt
How the HANS Helped Save Motor Racing

By Jonathan Ingram

Publisher: RJP Books
Price: $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-7923-1299-1
Format: Hardcover, 7.75 in. x 10 in., 192 pages
Illustration: 62 photographs (58 full color); 4 drawings/charts

About the author:
Jonathan Ingram has spent more than four decades as an auto racing journalist. His racing stories have appeared in Autoweek, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Car and Driver and numerous motor racing publications worldwide. A winner of awards from the National Motorsports Press Association, “CRASH!” is his seventh book.

The U.S. distributor for “CRASH!” is RJP Books. It is available at and at racing and online booksellers. Inquiries about distributing “CRASH!” should be directed to RJP Books at 800-426-7999.

“A great read that culminates with an investigation into the death of Dale Earnhardt.” – Art Garner, author of “Black Noon.”

“Deaths in the 1990s climbed alarmingly. Two men likely saved the racing world from extinction.” – Steve Olvey, author of “Rapid Response.”

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