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Randy Lajoie is best known for helping drivers sit still

From The Marbles

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Randy LaJoie, the most recent casualty in NASCAR's War on Drugs, has one of the best reputations for safety in NASCAR.

No, really. Randy is the father of the modern-fitted racing seat used widely in all levels of racing in the United States. The Joie of Seating is his baby, born of Randy's own desire for a seat that would hold him snugly and minimize movement in the event of a crash. He toyed briefly with fiberglass, but NASCAR outlawed fiberglass in 1992 (darn those health concerns) and no one would make a form-fitted seat.

Forced to take matters into his own hands, Randy developed a system for stamping custom one-piece seat forms out of aluminum. He's apparently the only one who offers this particular deal. Bride does not appear to offer a custom seat. Kirkey does, with a six-point measurement system, which also comes with a "use-at-your-own-risk" advisory that pops up before you can enter its website. Recaro makes seats, and you order what you think will fit you. Corbeau ... oops, its seat shells are fiberglass. Never mind.

If you or I want to order a Joie of Seating seat, we can send six meaurements (there's a handy instuctional video on his website) and six photographs, and Randy expects a 99% success rate in fitting. If you want a "Full Custom" seat, you'll have to ship your whole body over to one of its facilities, or to a road-show, for a "personal fitting" with its patented "custom sizing jig." Claustrophobes need not apply.*

The Joie of Seating makes seats for any age and any series, and it has, well, a "big-and-tall series" in case you're Michael Waltrip. It also has a lease plan, so that folks with growing young racers don't have to purchase three seats a year. It makes seats for monster trucks, boats, just about anything that moves; according to its website, it's even courting NASA.

Randy has been a huge safety advocate, first getting NASCAR to listen to him and work with him, and then starting an organization called "Safer Racer," which tours small local racetracks in ever-growing numbers across the country, preaching the gospel of safety and, of course, offering his products for sale in promotion of said safety. His seat has a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where he signed autographs on opening day.

With all this going on, one wonders why he even bothers trying to be directly involved in racing these days. Maybe he should just sit back, relax ... and let the money roll in.

*Kidding, of course. They'll measure anyone.

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