DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch, who suffered a broken right leg and left foot in a crash in February at Daytona International Speedway, called for all tracks to pave grass beside the racing surface and “fix’’ unprotected walls.
Busch, who made the comments Saturday, ran through the grass before slamming into a concrete wall during the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona. He also cited Ryan Briscoe’s tumbling crash in the frontstretch grass during last weekend’s IndyCar race at Auto Club Speedway as another example of the need to pave grass.
“I think just we need to just take a step and pour every effort into every racetrack,’’ he said. “Fortunately, Ryan Briscoe is OK, but in reality, man, there’s no sense in grass. We nave absolutely no reason to have grass at any of these facilities. I think that needs to be one of the next biggest pushes that we can have.
“At any racetrack, if there’s a crash on the frontstretch, even here – we tend to like to crash coming to or coming out of the trioval – for us to always have avenues to go to and just kind of get away from the crash, it always makes our jobs easier or better than to have no opportunity than to center-punch the guy that we’re looking at. I think there’s still, still a lot of room to grow and get better.’’
Busch said that “a lot of the drivers would echo my statements’’ about paving grass.
Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway, said Friday that the track paved more than 200,000 square feet of asphalt in four different locations before this weekend’s races. Grass was paved inside Turn 1 where Busch crashed in February. Grass also was paved at the exit of Turn 4 next to the skid pad near pit lane and in areas of pit in and pit out. The track also added SAFER barriers at various locations, including where Busch hit. That’s part of 54,000 linear feet of additional SAFER barriers International Speedway Corp. stated Saturday that it would add at its tracks.
Chitwood said paving more grass, though, would require government approval.
“The other element that anyone would have to do if you’re going to pave areas is work with your county or local regulations as it relates to run-off,’’ Chitwood said. “Typically, when you develop new properties, you have to build retention ponds, so when you pave something you also have to deal with water run-off, so that is an element that anyone would have to consider as they look at removing grass and putting in asphalt.’’
Busch isn’t sympathetic to that.
“I’ve never seen a car flip over because it’s gone through a puddle,’’ Busch said. “I guess that could happen, I don’t know. When a car turns around backwards and it gets to grass and it starts to lift and tumbles because it continually keeps chunked up in the grass, that’s not right.’’