Phoenix International Raceway announced Wednesday that it will install tire barriers along a concrete wall inside Turn 4 for its NASCAR events next weekend.
The move follows a review of existing safety barriers by the track, its parent company, International Speedway Corp., and NASCAR.
“The additional protective barrier represent’s PIR’s ongoing commitment to providing a safe racing environment for its drivers, teams and fans,’’ track president Bryan Sperber said in a statement. “PIR will continue to work in tandem with NASCAR to expedite the adoption of additional impact-absorbing technologies, as deemed necessary, at our facility.”
The track did not reveal how much of the concrete wall will be covered by tire barriers. The track confirmed that the tires will come from Auto Club Speedway, which also is owned by International Speedway Corp.
Other tracks have added tire barriers along inside concrete walls since Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot in a crash during the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway last month.
Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway, vowed afterward to install the steel-and-foam SAFER barriers “on every inch at this property.” The developer of the SAFER barrier, Dr. Dean Sicking, told NASCAR Talk that having the SAFER barrier all around Daytona in time for its July race could prove challenging.
NASCAR says SAFER barrier development remains “the highest priority for the sport.”
Atlanta Motor Speedway responded to Busch’s accident by covering 117 feet of a concrete wall inside Turn 4 with tire barriers.
Still, Jeff Gordon hit an inside concrete wall along the backstretch when he was involved in a crash during last weekend’s Sprint Cup race.
“Everybody knows they’ve got to do something,’’ Gordon said after the incident. “It should have been done a long time ago. All we can do now is hope they do it as fast as they possibly can and get it done.’’