SAFER barrier

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Pocono Raceway adds more SAFER barrier to track

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Pocono Raceway announced Tuesday it has completed the installation of  5,197 feet of Steel and Foam Energy Resistant (SAFER) barrier to the 2.5-mile track, in addition to other safety improvements.

SAFER barriers now cover all of the walls on the 3,740-foot frontstretch as well as areas between Turns 2 and 3.

The independently owned track also upgraded the three track crossover gates with SAFER barriers included in their construction.

Pocono, which hosts two NASCAR race weekends and a Verizon IndyCar race, now has 23,640 feet – or 4.48 miles – of SAFER barrier walls.

The additional SAFER barrier follows the installation of 6,000 feet of the material last year and the extension of the pit wall near the pit entrance.

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Dover adding more SAFER barrier

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Dover International Speedway officials announced Monday that they’ll add 1,800 feet of Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers. The project will be completed before the track’s NASCAR tripleheader weekend June 2-4. Once done, all of the track’s outside walls will have SAFER barriers installed.

Construction will begin in March. Installation will be done by Smith Fence of Clearwater, Florida.

“Continued improvements to our facility, particularly in the areas of fan and driver safety, are of the utmost importance to us,” said Mike Tatoian, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway. “The decision to add more SAFER barriers is a collaborative decision with NASCAR and various stakeholders and collectively we felt this is something that needed to be completed prior to NASCAR’s return to the Monster Mile this spring.”

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NASCAR official states why there isn’t SAFER barrier along Dover’s outside frontstretch wall

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A NASCAR executive explained Monday why there was no SAFER barrier along the outside frontstretch wall at Dover International Speedway after multiple cars struck the concrete wall this past weekend.

Jamie McMurray and Tony Stewart each slammed into an unprotected concrete wall off Turn 4 after they ran through oil from Danica Patrick’s car during Friday’s Sprint Cup practice. Justin Marks hit the outside wall during his Xfinity heat race Saturday.

McMurray, who was sore from his hit, said it was “unacceptable” the outside wall at Dover did not have a SAFER barrier. He was not alone in speaking out. Patrick and Kevin Harvick each called for the SAFER barrier to be added in that location at Dover.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio why there wasn’t a SAFER barrier along the frontstretch wall.

“When we looked at SAFER barriers all being in place for this racing season, the plan had always been at both Dover and Indianapolis on the frontstretch wall to not have that covered,’’ O’Donnell said. “There was some logistics and reasoning behind that in terms of really narrowing the frontstretch lane. SAFER barriers were potentially going to dump some of the cars back out into the frontstretch and have the potential of a T-bone of a driver and then there were some challenges in going into Turn 1.

“Obviously after we went through this weekend, we’ve got to look at what tweaks we can make and be able to install those and maybe look at how the frontstretch could work those in. It wasn’t something that the track or anyone said, ‘Hey we’re not going to do this,’ there was some reasoning behind it. Obviously, after what happened all throughout the weekend, that’s something that we’ve got to address and we’ll do that and very confident the track will work with us as well.’’

NASCAR and tracks have made a concentrated effort to add SAFER barriers after Kyle Busch was injured in an Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway at the beginning of last season when he struck an unprotected concrete wall. Dover added 479 feet of SAFER barrier before this weekend along the inside wall at the backstretch and inside Turn 3.

McMurray: ‘Unacceptable’ Dover doesn’t have SAFER on outside wall of frontstretch

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Jamie McMurray is still sore from a practice accident Friday at Dover International Speedway and isn’t happy about the conditions that helped create the pain.

The soreness, in his ribs, is a result of McMurray running through oil put down on the track by a mechanical failure on Danica Patrick‘s car. McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet skidded into the outside wall on the frontstretch.

The outside wall on the frontstretch at Dover lacks SAFER barrier despite the track adding 479 feet of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers for this race weekend. Dover added 401 feet along an inside wall in Turn 3 and added 78 feet to the existing backstretch wall.

“That’s unacceptable in this day and time that we have a straightaway — especially at a track like Dover on the outside where we’ve seen just crazy big hits,” McMurray told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Saturday. “I have no idea why they don’t have that. I assume that we’ll have that by the fall. But yeah, it’s unacceptable that they don’t have that they don’t have that right now.”

McMurray was cleared by the track’s medical center but left with a sore elbow. While his elbow is still sore, McMurray said his ribs “hurt really bad” more than 24 hours after the wreck that also included Tony Stewart. Patrick also voiced her concerns about the lack of SAFER.

“Obviously, when you get in the seat, the part of the seat that pushes on your ribs is the part you still feel right now,” said McMurray, who starts 24th Sunday. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver said competing in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism “will be a challenge.”

“My neck and my ribs are really sore right now and this is one of those tracks where you have the highest loads of anywhere.”

To keep McMurray as comfortable as possible during the 400-mile race, his team has added six inches of foam to the left side of his seat.

Danica Patrick: SAFER barriers ‘should be mandatory’ all way around tracks

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Although tracks have added SAFER barriers since Kyle Busch’s accident at Daytona International Speedway last year, Danica Patrick called for more to be done Friday at Dover International Speedway.

A mechanical failure caused her car to dump oil on the track shortly after Sprint Cup practice began Friday. She hit the outside wall in Turn 4. Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray each ran through the oil and hit the Turn 4 wall hard.

They hit in an area not protected by a SAFER barrier.

Stewart’s car hit the outside wall on the frontstretch before sliding down the track and hitting the inside wall, which is protected by a SAFER barrier.

“I know from the Talladega experience (two weeks ago) and all the experiences I’ve had hitting the wall, the ones where you hit the wall I think I saw it’s about twice the G-load impact when you hit a non-SAFER barrier,’’ Patrick said after Friday’s incident.

“It shouldn’t even be a question whether or not tracks have SAFER barrier all the way around. It should be mandatory. It shouldn’t be a financial decision.”

Dover added 479 feet of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers for this weekend. The track added 401 feet along an inside wall in Turn 3 and added 78 feet of the SAFER barrier to the existing backstretch wall.

Patrick struck the SAFER barrier with the left front at Talladega earlier this month. While sore after the incident, she didn’t suffer any injuries that kept her out of the car.

Patrick’s teammate, Kevin Harvick, said SAFER barriers should in where cars hit in Friday’s incident even if it means taking away part of the groove.

“We put SAFER barriers in the groove at Darlington and it’s two-and-a-half cars wide,” Harvick said. “So, there’s really no excuse not to have it in my opinion. SMI and all the ISC tracks have laid them on most of the outside walls. The cars have hit in that spot and there’s just no excuse not to have them.

“We don’t wear our helmets and HANS devices for the impacts that we are prepared for. We wear those things for the instances where those one-off things can happen like happened today. So, there’s no excuse not to have it there in my opinion.”

Dover is owned by Dover Motorsports.

Jimmie Johnson said he’d like to see SAFER barriers in all areas but isn’t as worried about it not being in some places.

“The outside wall here doesn’t bother me too much that it doesn’t have the SAFER barrier on it,” he said. “It’s not like a 1.5-mile (track) where we have the D-shaped front straightaway and you actually get away from the wall and if something went wrong, (you) have a terrible angle at the wall. With all that said, man, I would take a soft wall over a hard wall any day in any situation.”