One of the most important pieces of safety gear a NASCAR driver wears is a fire-retardant suit (Figure 1). This suit serves two purposes; one, to display the teams sponsors, and two, to protect the driver from being burned in the case of a fire. A fire-retardant suit is made of either Proban or Nomex.
Proban: Proban is a cotton based material that has been chemically treated to make it fire retardant. However, this treatment diminishes with washing. It is used primarily in single layer economy uniforms.
Nomex: Nomex is a permanently fire retardant Aramid fiber that is manufactured by Dupont. It is woven, or knitted into material, and since it is inherently fire retardant its protection does not diminish with time.
A NASCAR driver not only wears this suit to display the team's sponsors, but more importantly, to protect themselves from being burned in the case of a fire. Neither Proban nor Nomex will change the appearance of a driverís suit. It will however change how the suit reacts to heat.