Safety technology innovator
Dr. Sicking’s SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) “soft wall” technology has saved numerous lives across many forms of motorsports. A tenured professor and Associate VP for Product Development at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, his award-winning technology has all but eliminated driver fatalities since its widespread implementation in 2004. Sicking’s unique specialization in impact energy management led to many innovative safety barrier designs used on highways around the world, but it was his SAFER research following the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001 that made him a major name in motorsports. In 2002, Kurt Busch walked away from a violent collision with a SAFER barrier at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) during the Brickyard 400, leading NASCAR to install the technology at all of its tracks. Sicking’s many honors include NASCAR’s Bill France Jr. Award for Excellence in 2003, IMS’s Herb Porter Award in 2004, and The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Vision Award in 2005. He was also given Autosport’s inaugural Pioneering and Innovation Award (2004) specifically for his SAFER technology.