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Ryan Blaney upset he hit area not protected by SAFER barrier

LEBANON, Tenn. — Ryan Blaney expects a SAFER barrier to be placed on an inside wall he struck Sunday night at Nashville Superspeedway even if he has to pay for it himself.

Blaney walked away from what he called the hardest impact of his career upset there was no SAFER barrier where his No. 12 car struck.

Asked by NBC Sports if he would talk to officials about the need for a SAFER barrier on the inside wall beyond pit road, Blaney said: “I’m sure they’ll put one on it after this. It sucks that things like that have to happen, someone hit a wall head-on like that and then you’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll put a SAFER barrier on it now.’

“It’s like why are you not doing the whole track? I’ll pay for the (expletive) thing to put it on there.”

NASCAR issued a statement after Sunday’s race: “NASCAR safety engineers work closely with safety experts on the implementation of barriers around the track. As we do following every race weekend, we will evaluate all available data and make any necessary improvements.”

A SAFER barrier absorbs the energy in an impact, reducing the forces that a driver feels. That lessens the chance for injury. SAFER barriers are standard is most locations around NASCAR oval tracks and most road courses.

The incident started on a restart just short of the halfway mark the of 300-lap race. Problems started on the outside of the second row when Brad Keselowski got out of shape after he was hit from behind by William Byron. The field slowed and Blaney, restarting further back, was hit from behind by Kyle Busch.

Blaney slid through the grass and on to the end of pit road. His car then lammed the concrete wall head-on. He slowly exited the vehicle and sat down on the ground.

“When I got out of the grass, I thought it was going to come back around and I’d be OK,” Blaney told NBC Sports after exiting the infield care center. “It just never got back right. I don’t know why there is no SAFER barrier there. Pretty ridiculous, honestly. Hardest hit I’ve ever had in my life.”