CarbonX Partners, Contributes to ARCA Safety Initiative

CarbonX Partners, Contributes to ARCA Safety Initiative

For more than a decade, Chapman Innovations, a Salt Lake City-based company, has developed, produced, and marketed thermal fabric solutions under its flagship brand, CarbonX. Today, CarbonX acts as a supplier of fire-retardant undergarments for officials in all levels of ARCA competition, including the ARCA Racing Series and events at Toledo Speedway and Flat Rock Speedway.

This season, CarbonX supplied each official in the ARCA Racing Series and for weekly events at Toledo Speedway and Flat Rock Speedway one set of CarbonX undergarments, featuring non-flammable fabrics specifically crafted to stand up against the harshest fires and minimize the risk of burn injuries and deaths. With a dangerous situation bound to arise at any moment in a race car, not a second can be spared to wonder whether fire protection is available for a driver or a safety official attending to a car.

Ideally, a race would move from flag to flag without danger or the prospect of fire, but the August 6, 2010 slate at Toledo Speedway brought upon a serious situation. Brian Buchanan was leading the second heat race in a Buckeye 305 Sprints show at the historic short track when his car dropped off the banking entering the fourth turn, emitted a puff of smoke, and spun into the wall at the start of the front straightaway.

Buchanan's engine backfired and a fire ensued. Having lost consciousness in the collision, Buchanan required a lift from his burning car. Terry Francis, a 17-year firefighter in northwest Ohio's Monclova Township and a three-year official at Toledo Speedway, was a part of the responding crew.

"My role is mainly to check the driver out as fast as I can. While (other officials and I) all jump up to the car, I go to the driver. That's been my role, it seems, since I'm the medic," Francis said.

Typically, a driver who is alert and feels safe exiting the car on his own will give a "thumbs up" signal to the attending official; Buchanan did not. Francis, outfitted in series-supplied CarbonX products, responded appropriately.

"He was unconscious. You could tell that just by the way he was leaning over toward the steering wheel," he said. "We drove up and we could see raw fuel all over the track, ready to burn. Everybody together said that he was on fire, and that alone draws you to a different level of responding. You know you better get him out. We grabbed the extinguisher and we squirted the driver and the car with foam."

Francis's attention to detail in a moment of confusion proved key to the effort to extract Buchanan.

"Another official said, ‘He's out, he's out,' and I said, ‘No, he's not!' We proceeded to spray even more," Francis said. "We all work as a team and the team really came into play at that moment, because our main concern is the driver. Meanwhile, I looked down and felt that my leg was a little bit warm. I sprayed that and was able to reach the driver."

Francis was able to remove Buchanan from the car, and when the driver again became alert, Francis even encouraged him to wave to the cheering crowd in the Toledo grandstands. With another key save finished, Francis looked at the spot on his leg where he had previously felt heat. fordcarbonx.jpg

"I looked down and said, ‘Look at those pretty colors!' It looked like someone had airbrushed a fire onto my leg," Francis said, referring to a colorful hole burned into his fire suit.

But the fire had not reached Francis's skin. CarbonX, Francis's undergarment of choice, had saved him from severe burns.

"That CarbonX is great. I love that product," Francis said. "I wear it every weekend, no matter what division we run. Before I get in my racing gear or safety suit, I'm putting on the CarbonX."

In addition to its important fire-retardant quality, CarbonX is also cool enough to wear comfortably on a warm Midwestern evening, Francis insisted.

"To perform your function out there in 95-degree weather when you're at the risk of getting dehydrated anyway, you have to stay cool. CarbonX does that, and that's what I think is amazing about that product," Francis said. "What's really unique is that in the heat with CarbonX you're not as hot as you are when you're wearing (another brand). I just think that it's a fantastic product."

With the 2011 season at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways on the horizon and 18 races remaining on the ARCA Racing Series schedule, CarbonX will continue to play a key role in all levels of ARCA competition in the coming weeks.

Chapman Innovations and the CarbonX brand protect people not only in motorsports, but also in the world's most hazardous environments, including the industrial, fire, and tactical industries. More information is available at the company's website,

CarbonX partners with and contributes to the ARCA Safety Initiative.