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NASCAR's technical director found dead at home

7/22/2008

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Steve Peterson, NASCAR's technical director who spent 13 years helping make the circuit safer for drivers, was found dead in his home in Concord, N.C., on July 15. He was 58.

The cause of death was not disclosed, but NASCAR said in a statement it appeared to be of natural causes.

Peterson joined NASCAR in 1995 and spearheaded several safety initiatives, including installation of the SAFER Barriers and the implementation of safety features in the Car of Tomorrow. He also helped the circuit get approval for head and neck restraints and improved seat belts.

Peterson won the 2006 Society of Automotive Engineers Motorsports Achievement Award. He previously served as crew chief for Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin in 1982.

NASCAR chairman and chief executive Brian France said Peterson's efforts will benefit NASCAR drivers for generations to come.

Funeral arrangement are pending.