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Daytona International Speedway to add more SAFER barriers, but not all work will be done by July

NASCAR Daytona 500 Auto Racing

Tires are stacked in front of the inside retaining wall at Daytona International Speedway before the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Kyle Busch was injured in a crash Saturday in the same area. The track added the tires and plan to install a SAFER barrier system in the future. (AP Photo/David Graham)


Daytona International Speedway announced Wednesday plans to install additional SAFER barriers before NASCAR races there in July but not all the work will be complete by that event.

Joie Chitwood vowed to “install SAFER barrier on every inch at this property” a few hours after Kyle Busch suffered a broken leg and foot when his car slammed into a concrete wall inside Turn 1 during the season-opening Xfinity race.

After being clipped from behind, Busch’s car skidded toward the retaining wall inside Turn 1. Once the asphalt ended, Busch’s car ran through grass before hitting the wall.

No timetable has been set for Busch’s returning to racing.

Wednesday, Chitwood announced that Daytona would:

  • Add 20,000 square feet of asphalt inside Turn 1.
  • Realign a portion of the inside retaining wall from the infield road course exit to Turn 1.
  • Install SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier on the realigned retaining wall and existing retaining wall in Turn 1.
  • Install SAFER barrier on the retaining wall at the exit of pit road.
  • Install SAFER barrier between the exit of Turn 4 to the entrance of pit road.

Dr. Dean Sicking, developer of the SAFER barrier, told NASCAR Talk last month that Daytona International Speedway officials likely would have a difficult time completing all its work before the July race.

Chitwood said work will continue on adding safety initiatives after NASCAR races there during the July 4 weekend.

“In addition, based on material availability and timing, we will install SAFER barrier on the outside backstretch wall and will complete as much as possible prior to the July NASCAR weekend,’’ Chitwood said in a statement. “Following the July races, we will complete any remaining installation of SAFER barrier on the outside backstretch wall, and continue to install SAFER barrier on the remaining areas of the property. We will provide additional updates regarding our safety initiatives as circumstances warrant. The safety of the competitors and our fans is our top priority.”

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