IMS SAFER Barrier to be used at Brickyard 400

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 11, 2002 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that its groundbreaking SAFER Barrier will be used for the ninth running of the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 4. The decision followed discussion by IMS officials and...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 11, 2002 -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that its groundbreaking SAFER Barrier will be used for the ninth running of the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 4. The decision followed discussion by IMS officials and representatives of NASCAR and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility.

The SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier, which is designed to reduce forces incurred by a car in an accident and increase driver safety, was installed in the four turns of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Opening Day of the 86th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on May 5. It proved effective in protecting drivers from serious injury in several accidents throughout the month of May.

The 2002 edition of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" was the first motorsports event at a superspeedway to have energy-absorbing walls in place during competition.

According to Kevin Forbes, director of engineering and construction for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, modifications required to prepare the SAFER Barrier for the much heavier NASCAR Winston Cup Series stock cars -- which weigh approximately 3,500 pounds versus 1,550 pounds for Indy Racing League cars -- are minor.

"The only modifications it's going to require are we are going to put a little more extruded polystyrene in between the blocks we already have," Forbes said.

The SAFER Barrier is constructed in 20-foot modules, with each module consisting of four rectangular steel tubes welded together to form a unified element. The modules are connected with four internal steel splices. Bundles of the 2-inch-thick polystyrene were placed between the existing concrete wall and steel modules every 10 feet for the Indianapolis 500. As Forbes mentioned, additional bundles will be added for the Brickyard 400.

The decision to include the SAFER Barrier in the Brickyard 400 was based on a meeting last week between officials from IMS, NASCAR and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"It was the first chance that that group was able to get together after the (Indy) '500' and review the entire month, from installation, to the impacts, how readily sections could be changed out, ways we had developed to restore the SAFER Barrier to raceable condition," Forbes said. "This was the first time NASCAR officially heard from IMS officials that there was a great initial success with the use of the SAFER Barrier, and that there is every reason to keep it in place for the Brickyard 400."

A total of 4,240 feet of the Speedway's permanent outside wall is covered with the energy-absorbing barrier. Each turn has 1,060 feet of barrier and another 60 feet of transition element approaching the actual SAFER Barrier.

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Series NASCAR Cup