Q: “I was curious about how much you rest your neck in the seat when driving (either on the street oron the track). I had some neck issues about a year ago, so I began adjusting how much I lean my head into things. I adjusted my seating position in my street car and “race” car so that my helmet or head is just resting. While this helps tension in one way, it also means every bump on the highway “bangs” my heads around a little bit, and in that case it makes driving a little bit more violent. I’m sure in an F1 or Indy car resting your neck becomes a more natural thing. My question is, for most street platform “race” cars, do you want your head rested in the back of the seat at all times or do you want your neck a little farther forward and using the muscles to hold it balanced?”
A: I believe it’s best for your head not to be resting against the seat or supports. Like you said, it can cause so much vibration that it can even blur your vision. Ideally, you’re able to hold your head/helmet just a very small distance from the back or halo part of the seat. You want to be close, so that it supports your neck in the case of a crash. But if it’s too close, then you get into it interfering with movement, and what I just said about it possibly impacting your vision.
Now, if you have a neck injury, you might have to make some compromises. Hopefully, you can get that sorted out, and then work on more strengthening so it’s easier to not have to lean against the seat. I still lay flat on a floor while wearing a helmet, and lift my head up – laying on each side, then front and back. I know you have be careful with the neck (yes, I have a ruptured disk in my neck), but keeping the muscles toned helps. Of course, I’m not a doctor or physical trainer, so take my advice for what it’s worth!
Also, regarding neck strength and conditioning — don’t forget how much your whole body is connected. A strong core, shoulders, and even legs go a long way toward a driver’s ability to support their neck. Samir Abid has a very good, basic, minimal exercise routine for driver’s on his website. And, actually, I think the link from Samir takes you to a Red Bull page, where you can also have Danny RIC show you his neck exercises. These are especially important for us weekend warriors!