Talladega Superspeedway announced on Thursday that they will be adding additional SAFER barriers at the 2.66-mile tri-oval ahead of the spring NASCAR weekend at the beginning of May. According to Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch, the new SAFER Barriers will be located on the inside of turns 1 and 3, in addition to at the entrance to pit road. Unlike Daytona, Talladega Superspeedway has concrete walls all the way around the inside of the track.
Since the SAFER barriers were first introduced to NASCAR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002, few tracks have seen as many drivers test the barriers as Talladega. There have been some nasty hits into the SAFER barrier all over the tri-oval.
For example, the 2012 Aaron’s 312 had a huge crash on a green-white-checkered that saw Eric McClure take a nasty hit into the inside wall. McClure did miss a couple of races due to the crash (partially due to the steering column being pushed back), but his injuries were mitigated substantially as compared to what could have happened.
The hits into regular concrete at Talladega in recent years, while rare, have been rather taxing. For example, Kyle Busch hit the unprotected concrete wall at the exit of pit road head-on at the end of the 2013 Fred’s 250. The crash actually broke the wall and left Busch needing to take a breather afterwards.
Today, SAFER barriers cost roughly $500 per square foot to acquire and install. Talladega Superspeedway did not reference how many square feet of SAFER barrier will be needed to complete the project. As a result, an estimate of the overall cost of the project cannot be extrapolated.
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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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Glad they are adding some more but they really are dragging their heels. This is not a case of “making safety our top priority” because if true, the tracks would have SAFER barrier along the entire length of inner and outer wall. It’s very much a money decision. BTW, I think the cost is $500 per linear (not square) foot.