NASCAR official discusses future of catch fences, any changes for Talladega

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A NASCAR official hinted Tuesday that the future of catch fences at tracks could look much different than today.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief development officer, said officials have already begun examining Austin Dillon’s car. O’Donnell also said that series officials have talked with track officials about the fence Dillon crashed into after the end of Coke Zero 400 Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway.

The fence kept Dillon’s car from entering the stands but significantly damaged the car. The impact shredded about 60 feet of fencing. Four fans were treated for injuries at the track and one at a local hospital. The one take to a hospital was released later Monday morning.

O’Donnell was asked Tuesday in a conference call with reporters about a long-term solution with catch fences.

“I think the next iteration that we would look at, it may not be a fence make, but what are the new technologies that are out there, and I think this is an area for all sports to look at with anything either flying away from a playing field or a racing surface,’’ he said. “If we can lead in that area, we want to do just that.

“I wouldn’t make it specific to a fence. There could be a lot of new technologies that we could look at collectively with the tracks to make some improvements in that area.’’

As for any rule changes before the series’ next restrictor-plate race – Oct. 25 at Talladega Superspeedway – O’Donnell said: “Anything that we can do to continue to make the racing as safe as possible and have the fans in as safe an environment as possible, we will do that heading into Talladega.’’