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RIP, Bill Simpson

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#1
Sphinx

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Today, we lost a pioneer in driver safety, Bill Simpson.  https://racer.com/20...son-dies-at-79/

 

I had a chance to meet him in 2015 and we chatted a couple of times after that.  One of his last projects was working on football helmets to address high school and collegiate concussion injuries.

 

The day I met him, he told me the story of Dale Sr.'s passing and his legal battles after that.  Didn't realize that they were close.  At one point, tears filled his eyes.

 

I gave him my business card and a few months later, he called me.  And you can imagine that I practically soiled my shorts to have a legend like him call me.  He invited me to sit at his table at the racing hall of fame banquet in Indianapolis.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it, and I've always regretted not going (of course!).


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#2
TommyB

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I've also got  my own Bill Simpson story.

When I first started racing (1992) in my ITA 914 I needed belts and decided on Simpson. On two occasions coming out of their warehouse in Texas  they were mis- picked ending up in belts that would not work for me.

I was really PO'd and decided to write Bill a letter describing to him my frustration and disappointment with the service I received. I may have even said "your fired"

A week or so went by and one day I'm at work and one of my clerks says there is a fella by the name of Bill Simpson on the phone for you.

My first response was "  sure, I wonder what kind of scam this is".

Well wouldn't you know I picked up the phone and sure enough it was Bill on the other end of the phone.

He first wanted to apologize and reassure me that he got to the bottom of what was going on in his warehouse and that he made some swift changes in personnel and procedures.

He also wanted me to know that single team amateurs racers like myself were the backbone of his business and should be treated no different then a NASCAR team.

In his attempt to smooth things over he offered to reimburse my money and send me the correct set of belts at no charge....which he did .

 

Thanks again Bill and RIP.

 

Tom B.


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#3
Tom Sager

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Today, we lost a pioneer in driver safety, Bill Simpson.  https://racer.com/20...son-dies-at-79/

 

I had a chance to meet him in 2015 and we chatted a couple of times after that.  One of his last projects was working on football helmets to address high school and collegiate concussion injuries.

 

The day I met him, he told me the story of Dale Sr.'s passing and his legal battles after that.  Didn't realize that they were close.  At one point, tears filled his eyes.

 

I gave him my business card and a few months later, he called me.  And you can imagine that I practically soiled my shorts to have a legend like him call me.  He invited me to sit at his table at the racing hall of fame banquet in Indianapolis.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it, and I've always regretted not going (of course!).

My youngest son who was a high school running back was the only player in the area to wear a SG (Simpson-Ganassi) football helmet back in 2014-16.  We did some research back then and determined it to be the best option at the time.  We bought it instead of using the school issued helmets.  It was literally half the weight of a traditional helmet and had a unique system of inner padding.  It was amazing the interest in the helmet by his coaches, trainers and parents of other players (especially those who had previously had concussions).  We must have shown the helmet to a couple dozen people or more.  Bill had a rep in Indiana (Scooter Ellis) who was a local dirt track racer that was working in the football helmet program.  Happened to meet him by chance which lead to the football helmet.  There were and may still be several NFL players that used that helmet or the follow on models.  That was a big undertaking IMO developing that product for a different than auto racing market and for sure its development was one of the reasons football helmets have improved. 

 

RIP Bill and thank you for your great work. 


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