Jim Deist 1928-2009


Auto racing in general and drag racing in particular lost one of its best on March 9,2009 when safety pioneer Jim Deist passed away at his home in Glendale, CA surrounded by family and friends. Deist is credited with designing and implementing the first “drag chute” for safely stopping cars at speed. He also developed the first generation of fire suits and masks that allowed countless drivers to survive fires that so often plague race cars. It is fair to say Jim saved more lives than any man in the history of motor sports and he continued his trade to his dying day. His familiar face, sage advise and unique demeanor will be surely missed by all. I owe a lot to Jim, he taught me just about everything I know about parachutes. Rest in peace and Godspeed my friend.

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