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SAFER Walls News

racingmadesafer.com SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction)

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ESPN.com - The SAFER barrier explained

NASCAR.com - SAFER Barrier construction

IndyCar - Fan Info - INDYCAR 101 - Safety - SAFER Barrier

Motorsport - SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) wall presentation

Jayski.com's SAFER Past News Archive


Latest News

  • Dover extending SAFER barriers and increasing usable space in Cup garage: Dover International Speedway has started two construction projects which will add more than 500 feet of SAFER barriers around the track and increase usable space for NASCAR haulers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. Both projects are scheduled to be completed in time for the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 NASCAR tripleheader weekend at the Monster Mile, highlighted by the first elimination race of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship playoffs on Sunday, Oct. 2.

    Facts on the recent construction are:

    o Approximately 500 feet of Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers will be added to the one-mile, high-banked, concrete oval. The outside wall in Turn 2, under the walkover bridge, and the outside wall of Turn 4, entering the frontstretch, will now include SAFER barriers. All of the SAFER barriers will be added to existing walls.

    o The installation companies are Kent Construction of Smyrna, Del., and North Industrial Machine of Hartsville, SC.

    o A 753-foot-long concrete wall separating the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage area from the existing harness racing track is being added. The 10-foot-high wall will stretch from the Infield Media Center to the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, removing the grass hill between the garage area and harness track that was in place.

    o The new construction will allow for additional space for each NASCAR hauler to park in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, and will create a safer environment in the area.

    o The installation company is Kent Construction of Smyrna, Del.

    "We continue to improve our facility for all parties involved in NASCAR, including drivers, race teams and fans," Dover International Speedway President and CEO Mike Tatoian said. "Safety is always our top priority and the added SAFER barriers will certainly benefit our competitors. The renovations in the garage will also allow us greater opportunities for space flexibility in the coming years too." The Sept. 30-Oct. 2 NASCAR weekend includes the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday, Sept. 30, the "Drive Sober 200" presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Oct. 1 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Oct. 2. For tickets or more information, call (800) 441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(8-20-2016)

  • Daytona finishes upgrading SAFER around track: When drivers race at Daytona International Speedway over the next few weeks, they'll notice that all outside and inside walls on the track's 2½-mile tri-oval, with the exception of pit lane, will have energy-absorbing barriers. It was nearly a year ago when Kyle Busch slammed into an unprotected concrete wall on the inside going toward Turn 1, breaking his right leg and left foot. Busch didn't race again for nearly three months after the Feb. 21 accident but rallied to win the 2015 Sprint Cup title. In reaction to that accident, DIS President Joie Chitwood pledged that night to have all walls covered by SAFER (steel-and-foam energy reduction) Barrier as soon as possible. When NASCAR teams returned in July, there were still some non-covered walls on the insides of the turns and the backstretch. DIS officials had been criticized for being slow to add more SAFER Barrier while spending $400 million on a new project to turn its grandstands into a modern stadium. Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of DIS parent company International Speedway Corp., said ISC tracks have added 54,000 linear feet of SAFER Barrier in the past year. ISC operates 12 of the 23 tracks where the Sprint Cup Series races. Virtually all tracks have added more SAFER Barrier in the past year, an issue brought to the forefront by Busch's injury as well as NASCAR's newly formed Sprint Cup drivers council.(ESPN.com)(1-28-2016)

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway To Make SAFER barrier additions: Atlanta Motor Speedway will install additional SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier to both its inside and outside retaining walls prior to the 2016 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Weekend, scheduled for Feb. 26-28. Installation of an additional 4,742 linear feet of the barrier, set to begin in January, will add protection in areas on both the front and back stretches as well as to inside sections in all four turns not yet equipped. Once the project is complete, the entire outer wall and significant portions of interior areas will be fitted with the protective barrier. "The safety of both drivers and fans continues to be our utmost priority," said track president Ed Clark. "These additions solidify our commitment to providing the safest racing environment possible and the high-quality entertainment experience our fans deserve." SAFER barrier was first installed at AMS in 2004, covering approximately 8,000 linear feet and 75 percent of the outer walls, as well as sections inside Turn 2. The new additions add protective coverage based on the recommendations prescribed by NASCAR and safety officials. Erring on the side of safety, AMS supplemented its barrier system prior to its NASCAR events earlier this year by extending the protective wall at the exit of Pit Road as well as placing a temporary tire barrier along the inside wall in Turn 4. Both those areas will be equipped with SAFER barriers at the completion of new additions.(AMS)(11-12-2015)

  • New SAFER barriers narrow Martinsville track: The push to anchor SAFER barriers to every square foot of unprotected concrete in the Sprint Cup Series has been an ongoing crusade this season aimed at benefiting drivers. The addition of 1,600 feet of the energy-absorbing walls at Martinsville Speedway also could benefit fans who enjoy the 0.526-mile oval's reputation for engendering contact. "First of all, (NASCAR drivers) appreciate the SAFER barriers," Carl Edwards said. "The fans should appreciate it (at Martinsville) because it's going to make it more narrow than it was. It seems driving down the straightaway trying to pass cars even in practice, it just seems really tight. As narrow and tough as this place was, it's just going to be narrower and tougher."

    The track erected SAFER barrier over the summer along the exterior of the frontstretch and backstretch, removing about 30 inches of racing surface from each of the 800-foot straightaways. Jeff Gordon said he apparently scuffed the right side of his #24 Chevy in practice, but a reduction of the racing surface wasn't as significant as initially feared when looking at an updated photo of the track. "I looked at it, and my eyes got big, and I thought, 'Wow, that's a pretty big change,' " Gordon said. "It wasn't as big a deal as I thought it would be."

    Martinsville already had SAFER on the interior of the frontstretch and backstretch and the outside of the turns, leaving the interior turns (which have curbing) as the only sections without the barrier.(NBC Sports)(10-31-2015)

  • Talladega adds SAFER barrier to cover entire track: Statement from Talladega Superspeedway chairman Grant Lynch on safety initiatives: "Working closely with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Talladega Superspeedway performed an extensive review of its facility and outlined significant safety enhancements that will be in place prior to our NASCAR weekend, Oct. 23-25. Working with Cheaha Construction, we have installed more than 8,000 linear feet of Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier in 2015. We are covering the entire outside and interior retaining walls of the 2.66-mile facility. Safety of our competitors and fans is our top priority and we will continue to review the facility and provide updates as circumstances warrant. We look forward to a tremendous NASCAR weekend featuring the third and final race of the Contender Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Oct. 23-25 weekend will feature the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. The CampingWorld.com 500 is the final race of the Contender Round in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in which the field of 12 eligible drivers to the title will be cut from 12 to eight at the checkered flag. Tickets are available by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA or by visiting www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.(TSS)(10-9-2015)

  • BMS to add SAFER before April race: Statement from Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, Jerry Caldwell, regarding the additional installation of SAFER barrier walls at Bristol Motor Speedway: "The safety of our fans and competitors continues to be a focal point for Bristol Motor Speedway," said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway. "SMI engineers and NASCAR reevaluated the track and made additional recommendations. We've been able to secure an additional 600 feet of SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers and will complete the build out of the front and backstretch outside walls before the Food City 500 race weekend."(BMS)(4-2-2015)

  • More SAFER to be added at Michigan: Statement from Michigan International Speedway (MIS) President Roger Curtis on Safety Initiatives: Following a significant review of the facility by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and NASCAR, additional safety measures will be implemented prior to the June NASCAR weekend. Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) will be added to pit in and pit out walls and tire pack barriers will be installed at the angled wall inside Turn 1. Additionally, the infield at the exit of pit road will be paved to function as a skid pad and pace car vehicle entry and exit. Upon the conclusion of the August NASCAR weekend and installed in time for the 2016 racing season, Michigan International Speedway will add SAFER to outside walls on the frontstretch and backstretch as well as the pit tri-oval wall. "The safety of our guests, competitors and staff is our number one priority," said Roger Curtis, MIS president. "We will continue to review our facility and provide updates as circumstances warrant."(MIS)(4-2-2015)

  • Martinsville to install tire barriers: After a full track evaluation by NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Martinsville Speedway will add to its existing barrier system in advance of the STP 500 weekend March 27-29. Tire pack barriers will be installed on the inside wall at the end of the backstretch, prior to the entrance of pit road. "We are committed to the continued safety of the drivers and our fans," said Clay Campbell, Martinsville Speedway President. "We will continue to collaborate with ISC and NASCAR for additional safety enhancements deemed necessary."(Martinsville Speedway)(3-23-2015)

  • Talladega adding SAFER barriers: Talladega Superspeedway will add an energy-absorbing barrier to three areas of its inside wall prior to its May 1-3 NASCAR race weekend. The high-banked track, configured much like Daytona International Speedway, will add SAFER barriers on its inside wall at the entrances to pit road, Turn 1 and Turn 3, track chairman Grant Lynch said Thursday in a statement. "We are committed to making Talladega Superspeedway a safe environment for drivers as well as our fans," he said. Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot when he crashed into a concrete inside wall near the entrance of Turn 1 in February at Daytona. He is out for months, with no timetable announced for his return. NASCAR mandated that the steel-and-foam energy reduction barriers be placed on the outside walls of all ovals 10 years ago. Tracks have added them in select other areas -- often in reaction to crashes. Busch's crash resulted in NASCAR announcing it would re-evaluate its tracks to determine if more SAFER barriers are needed.(ESPN.com)(3-20-2015)

  • Auto Club Speedway to install tire barriers prior to race: Following a full track review with NASCAR and ISC, Auto Club Speedway will add additional safeguards to those already in place in advance of its Auto Club 400 Weekend March 20-22. Auto Club Speedway will install tire pack barriers inside Turn 1 prior to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots300.com and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400. Following our upcoming race weekend, Auto Club Speedway will begin installation of SAFER barrier along the frontstretch and backstretch walls. Once completed, the entire frontstretch and backstretch will have SAFER barriers for 2016 events at Auto Club Speedway. In preparation for the 2016 racing season, we will continue to collaborate and evaluate additional safety enhancements. "The safety of drivers, and our fans and staff is, and always has been, a top priority," said Dave Allen, Auto Club Speedway President. "As part of our continued commitment to safety, we will work hand-in-hand with NASCAR and all sanctioning bodies that race at our track to make improvements that will further enhance safety."(Auto Club Speedway)(3-12-2015)

  • PIR considering SAFER upgrade to safety tire wall: NASCAR drivers apparently won't know until after Sunday's CampingWorld.com 500 if the tires stacked inside Phoenix International Raceway's Turn 4, near pit entrance, will be replaced with a permanent SAFER barrier to soften impact against the concrete wall. Safety - specifically, increased use of so-called "soft" wall technology - has been a major issue since Kyle Busch suffered leg and foot fractures last month at Daytona International Speedway. He's sidelined indefinitely. Jeff Gordon avoided injury after a hard hit two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Both struck walls not protected with SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers, first used at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002, which reduces G-force impact kinetic energy by over 50%. A NASCAR official last week recommended the 160-foot long tire wall - four high and two deep - after a track inspection. "The way we're going to approach this is work closely with NASCAR and ISC (International Speedway Corp., PIR's parent) on a thorough and updated review," said PIR President Bryan Sperber. "We'll be thoughtful about it. It will be a constant evolution." SAFER costs about $500 a foot. Race cars have sometimes bounced off tire walls and back into oncoming traffic. "If that was a concern, it wasn't mentioned to me," Sperber said.(Arizona Republic)(3-10-2015)

  • Another driver hits unprotected wall: For the third week in a row, a NASCAR race car went headfirst into a concrete wall unprotected by a SAFER barrier, though this time the driver was uninjured. On a Lap 173 restart during Saturday's Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ryan Blaney got loose on the bottom lane, his Team Penske Ford drifting up into the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Erik Jones. After the contact, Jones lost control of his car, which first swung left and then turned back to the right, where it went hard headfirst into a concrete wall. Jones was able to get under the car on his own and appeared uninjured.

    Last week, Jeff Gordon crashed headfirst into a concrete infield wall at Atlanta Motor Speedway after being hit by Jamie McMurray and turned down the track. During the same incident, Denny Hamlin hit a section of the outside wall that had no SAFER barrier. In the season-opening XFINITIY race at Daytona International Speedway last month, JGR driver Kyle Busch suffered a compound fracture of the lower-right leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot when his car hit an unprotected infield wall. Numerous tracks have begun programs to improve safety, either by adding more SAFER barriers, tire walls and other enhancements. Gordon has a meeting with NASCAR next week to discuss safety.(FoxSports)(3-8-2015)

  • Phoenix International Raceway to install tire packs: Statement from Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber on safety barrier system; "Following a review of the existing safety barriers at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) with ISC and NASCAR officials, PIR will supplement its existing barrier system. A new tire pack barrier will be installed along the interior wall of Turn 4 in advance of the CampingWorld.com 500 race weekend. The additional protective barrier represents PIR's ongoing commitment to providing a safe racing environment for its drivers, teams and fans. PIR will continue to work in tandem with NASCAR to expedite the adoption of additional impact-absorbing technologies, as deemed necessary, at our facility."(PIR)(3-5-2015)

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Statement on Protective Barriers: Following discussions yesterday between Atlanta Motor Speedway and NASCAR officials and a subsequent review of the existing SAFER barriers at the facility, AMS will add a number of additions to its existing barrier system. The protective wall at the exit of pit road near Turn 1 will be extended, and a tire barrier will be added along the inside wall of Turn 4 to offer supplementary safety protection. The installations will add a total of 130 linear feet of additional protective barrier prior to this weekend's NASCAR events. Further review regarding future installation of additional SAFER barriers at the facility will take place following Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Atlanta Motor Speedway is dedicated to providing the safest possible facility for its fans and drivers.(AMS)(2-24-2015)

  • Kentucky Speedway adding SAFER barriers to walls: Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger says track officials have long considered adding more Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers to the Sparta, Ky., track's walls. "And then with what happened to Kyle Busch, it ratcheted up the urgency," Simendinger said Monday.
    Simendinger said Monday that by this July's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend, his track plans to add the so-called soft to its back stretch. "Sometimes you have to see what can possibly happen before you realize that you've got a problem that needs to be corrected," Simendinger said. "Obviously it's an expensive thing to do. It takes time. But it's something we're committed to. I've always said safety is our No. 1 thing, so that's what we're going to do assuming we can get the work done between now and our races," set for July 9-11. Already, SAFER barriers cover Kentucky's entry to corners through exits -- spots consultants deemed most likely to result in contact with race cars. Along the backstretch, the new walls could catch spinning cars off Turn 2. Ultimately, Simendinger says that "as an industry" NASCAR-sanctioned tracks will eventually cover every inch of exposed concrete wall. But it comes at a hefty cost -- approximately $500 per square foot. "It's something we work hand-in-hand with NACAR and their consultants on," he said. "...But there's not that many people that make SAFER barriers, so we've got to make sure we can get it, get it installed and do it properly."(Courier Journal)(2-24-2015)

  • Talladega adding SAFER barriers after Kyle Busch crash: Two days after Kyle Busch -- one of NASCAR's biggest stars -- broke his leg and foot in a head-on crash into a concrete wall at Daytona International Speedway, the president of the facility's sister track said more SAFER barriers will be installed before it hosts racing in May. "We'll look at our facility and reassess how we can make it better for the competitors as we've done with the catchfences and other things over the past 20 years," Talladega Superspeedway president Grant Lynch told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. "I think based upon what happened ... there will be a big focus on Talladega," Lynch said. At 2.66 miles, Talladega -- located about 55 miles east of Birmingham, Ala. -- is the biggest oval track in NASCAR and one of the fastest speedways in the world. Violent, multi-car crashes are practically staples of racing at the facility, which hosts two NASCAR weekends each year. Its 2015 dates are May 1-3 and Oct. 23-25. "I think we've put more (SAFER barriers) up than anybody, but that stands to reason because we're the biggest track with the most inside and outside walls," Lynch said. "We're certainly near the top percentage-wise for our company (International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 venues). Lynch said he didn't know what percentage of Talladega's walls is barrier-protected now. "As we've seen unusual wrecks happen, we've added more as we go," he said. "This is another opportunity to say, 'Let's ratchet it up again and take a good, hard look at the safety factors and see where we need it.' "(USA Today)(2-24-2015)

  • France: Safety, performance are NASCAR hallmarks: On Monday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France explained the secret to the sport's success in creating a level playing field and expressed the importance of safety. He also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Joey Logano leads a group of young drivers coming up in the sport. "Everybody gets an opportunity on equal footing to compete, and that's a very hard task for us because we have 43 teams, three manufacturers and a lot of smart people trying to game any rules package that we put forward," France said. "To get an advantage, that's what they do. That's what they should do. When we're able to boil through all that and make sure that everybody is on equal footing, that's when we win, and if we do that in a safe way, then we really win." France addressed the caution flag that ended the Great American Race with a multi-car wreck on the backstretch at the World Center of Racing. "We obviously err on the side of safety," France said of the yellow flag that ended the race after the field received the white flag on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. "That's of course what we're going to do. In this case, (NASCAR officials) believed that they couldn't clear it off, and it was just too dramatic. "We would have loved to finish it perfectly under green, but that wasn't the case. I don't think it really would have changed anything in this case. Joey (Logano) had broken out and established himself. It would have been very difficult to overcome him under any situation."

    France also addressed Kyle Busch's crash in Saturday's XFINITY Series race and Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III's pledge to ring the track with SAFER barriers. "Joie Chitwood said it best that, 'hey, look, that's unacceptable,'" France said of not having a SAFER barrier on the frontstretch where Busch crashed. "We're going to own that and move forward. That's how we're wired. That's a cornerstone of what we do. Safety and performance are the hallmarks of NASCAR." He added, "If we don't get safety right, then nothing else really matters."(NASCAR.com)(2-24-2015)

  • Steve O'Donnell and Joie Chitwood III discuss SAFER at Daytona: From a NASCAR Press Conference held at Daytona International Speedway Saturday evening after Kyle Busch was injured in a wreck where his car impacted the inside wall entering turn 1. The wall currently has no SAFER Barriers. The transcript of that press conference: Kerry Tharp: "Good evening. We have with us NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell, and also Joie Chitwood, who is president of Daytona International Speedway. At this time let's hear from Joie."

    JOIE CHITWOOD III: Obviously the first thing is that our thoughts and prayers go to Kyle. Last thing we want to see is a competitor injured here at the Daytona International Speedway. Our thoughts and prayers go to him. The Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today. We should have had a SAFER barrier there today, we did not. We're going to fix that. We're going to fix that right now. We've got the team out tonight. We're going to install tire packs along that 850-foot linear square feet of wall, so we're ready to go racing tomorrow. Following that, the Daytona International Speedway is going to install SAFER barrier on every inch at this property. This is not going to happen again. We're going to live up to our responsibility. We're going to fix this and it starts right now.

    KERRY THARP: Steve.

    STEVE O'DONNELL: From our perspective, obviously I want to echo what Joie said. Thoughts and prayers with Kyle and his family. Certainly wishing him a speedy recovery. As Joie said, from our perspective, what happened tonight should not have happened. That's on us. We're going to fix it. We're going to fix it immediately. I think you heard from Joie where we stand from Daytona. I think we all know that racing is an inherently dangerous sport, but our priority is safety and we'll continue to put things in place that make this sport as safe as possible.

    KERRY THARP: We'll take a handful of questions.

    Q. Is there a reason beyond cost why this hasn't been done before, why all the walls haven't been covered?

    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I don't have a good answer for that. SAFER barrier should have been there tonight. We're going to fix that. We don't want to see any competitors injured here. We have to fix that. We can't allow this to happen again.

    Q. Steve, since you guys have been the ones that have worked closest with the group that deals with the SAFER barriers, have y'all ever been told it would be unwise to place SAFER barriers in certain parts of a racetrack?

    STEVE O'DONNELL: We have. I think it goes to NASCAR is not the only sanctioning body that races at a specific track. I can use Eldora, for instance, where a SAFER barrier was looked at, but wouldn't have been the safest solution. One of the other challenges is there's a lot of other racing series that race at the racetracks we race at, but I wouldn't say it's a very common occurrence.

    Q. Joie, you talked about fixing it now. How much discussion has there been over time over fixing this previously, how much debate, looking at financials or whatever to get it fixed before?

    JOIE CHITWOOD III: For us, we really can't look at financials as a reason for this. We have to have a venue which we can put on NASCAR racing and have competitors be safe. We've put in SAFER barriers over a number of years. Again, we have to fix this right now. We're going to fix it for tomorrow. We have the team out there with the tire packs. We're going to be ready for tomorrow's race. Come Monday, we're going to start the plan so we can put SAFER barrier everywhere here. Finances don't come into play. That's really not a question. We're going to get this fixed and be sure we're ready for the next event here.

    Q. Steve, we just heard Joie say that he's going to put SAFER barriers all around this track. There are a lot of tracks on the circuit that do not have SAFER barriers. Is this going to become a NASCAR mandate or is this something that NASCAR is going to start talking to tracks about covering more of its walls with barriers from this point moving forward?

    STEVE O'DONNELL: I'll answer the last part first. We always have those conversations with the racetracks. The racetracks know that and work together with us on the SAFER barrier recommendations. What we've said here tonight is we will accelerate those talks with the tracks. We want this sport to be as safe as possible for not only our drivers, but everyone who participates in the sport and the race fans as well.

    Q. Steve, we talk about the obligations or the recommendations from the sanctioning body. From a financial standpoint, does NASCAR help out the tracks when it comes to installing the barriers?

    STEVE O'DONNELL: The tracks pay for the actual installation. I would say our responsibility in that process is looking at the latest technology that may be in place through our R&D center, our safety experts. But then it's working with the racetracks to actually install them.

    Q. Joie, do you know in terms of feet or percentage how much wall is covered and how much isn't?

    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I know that we've installed SAFER barrier in five different years. At this point I don't have the exact number, but it's in tens of thousands of linear feet. The first installation was 1995, 100 linear feet. We've continued to add ever since. We added 2400 linear feet last year following the Daytona 500.

    Q. Do you know in percentage how much of the wall is covered and how much isn't?

    JOIE CHITWOOD III: I do not.

    KERRY THARP: Joie, Steve, thank you very much for your time. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.(NASCAR)(2-2-2015)




    WHAT is SAFER?

    • Made up of steel tubes and pads of hard foam, which are affixed to the concrete walls, the SAFER barrier system was designed by Dr. Dean Sicking and a team under his direction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The wall is designed to absorb some of the energy that is transferred during a crash. In 2003, Dr. Sicking, and his team, were honored with NASCAR's Award of Excellence for their efforts in safety.

      The SAFER wall technology consists of rectangular steel tubing backed by foam blocks that is installed in front of the race track's
      traditional cement walls. · The process consists of ordering the specific materials, bending the steel tubing to fit the radius of the
      race track's corners, shipment and installation. · The SAFER wall project began in the fall of 2000 and remains an ongoing safety
      initiative among NASCAR, the Indy Racing League, Dr. Dean Sicking and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

      Who is Dr. Dean L. Sicking

      Dr. Dean L. Sicking, a civil engineering professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, is one of the world's leading independent researchers on barrier and crash safety. Through the years, Dr. Sicking has made enormous contributions to roadside safety research, helping advance the study of safety equipment and cutting edge development on a variety of safety innovations that have saved many lives on highways at home and abroad. His work by extension includes the study and analysis of vehicle crashes.

      Much of Dr. Sicking's recent contribution to the field has come through his work at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, in Lincoln, where he has served as director since 1992. Among now-patented highway safety features Dr. Sicking is responsible for developing: energy absorbing guardrails, bridge rails, permanent and temporary longitudinal barriers, barrier end treatments, crash cushions, safety treatments for roadside draining systems, breakaway support systems and median barriers.

      As part of its broader mission, Dr. Sicking's Midwest center conducts full-scale crash testing and structural testing of vehicles and safety devices. Among the center's major funding sources is the Federal Highway Administration.

      Engineers on staff at the Midwest center have a wealth of specialized experience and are collectively involved in some promising research aimed at improving highway and vehicle safety. One project involves the center's ongoing work with the Indy Racing League on energy-absorption barrier systems. Other projects involve vehicle crash modeling and analysis and accident reconstruction and computer simulation of vehicle dynamics.

      Key experts who work with Dr. Sicking at the center include:

      " John D. Reid. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Expert in roadside safety, automotive crashworthiness and impact engineering. Investigator on 39 projects involving totaling $4.6 million in proposals. Has published 45 technical papers and one book. Responsible for eight patents with three additional patent applications under review.

      " Ronald Keith Faller. Research Assistant Professor at the Midwest facility. Principal or co-principal investigator in 53 projects funded at $3.3 million. Lead researcher on Indy Racing League barrier development project and has developed numerous bridge rail and guardrail systems adopted by many state and local governments. Authored 17 journal publications and eight articles.

      " Eric Anthony Keller. Research Associate Engineer at the Midwest facility. Has co-authored several research reports on roadside safety, on such topics as guardrail systems, concrete safety shape barriers and bridge rails.

      Through the work of these and other researchers, the Midwest center has published nearly 90 reports on various aspects of crash safety since opening in 1992. Subjects have ranged from energy absorption and utility poles to bridge anchors.

      Dr. Sicking is personally responsible for patents on 13 separate roadside safety products in the United States, with many of his designs having been adopted in foreign countries like Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada. Dr. Sicking's highway safety designs have also become the standards in those countries as well as in all 50 states domestically. And Dr. Sicking is also credited with designing barrier systems for high-speed test tracks for automakers Ford and General Motors.

      Active on many national traffic safety committees, Dr. Sicking chairs the Transportation Research Board Computational Mechanics Subcommittee of the Roadside Safety Features Committee. Dr. Sicking was also a major contributor to new national crash test standards.

      Dr. Sicking earned his B.S., MS and PhD degrees in engineering, all from Texas A&M University.

    WHEN TRACKS GOT SAFER

    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway [first track for the 2002 Indy 500]
    • Talladega Superspeedway[inside retaining walls Oct 2002, outside walls Apr 2004]
    • New Hampshire International Speedway [2003]
    • Richmond International Raceway [Sept 2003]
    • Homestead-Miami Speedway [Nov 2003]
    • Darlington Raceway [March 2004]
    • Talladega Superspeedway [April 2004]
    • California Speedway [May 2004]
    • Lowe's Motor Speedway [May 2004]
    • Pocono Raceway [Aug 2004]
    • Michigan International Speedway [June 2004]
    • Daytona International Speedway [July 2004]
    • Chicagoland Speedway [July 2004]
    • Dover International Speedway [Sept 2004 inside walls/June 2005 full]
    • Kansas Speedway [Oct 2004]
    • Martinsville Speedway [Oct 2004]
    • Atlanta Motor Speedway [Oct 2004]
    • Phoenix International Raceway [Nov 2004]
    • Las Vegas Motor Speedway [Sept 2004]
    • Bristol Motor Speedway [March 2005]
    • Watkins Glen [road course][2010]
    • Sonoma Raceway [road course]


    SAFER Past News Archive

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