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O'Reilly Raceway Park has new top-end safety system
NHRA announced Tuesday that it has modified the top end at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, where the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be contested this weekend. The changes at the top end were made by NHRA after consultation with the racing community and taking into account the layout of O'Reilly Raceway Park to assist in keeping race vehicles at the top end of the racetrack within the confines of the dragstrip. The system includes four-foot-high concrete walls on each side of the sand trap, replacing two-foot-high steel Armco guardrails. 

Atop the concrete walls is an eight-foot-high catch fence on both sides of the track, making the total height from the ground to the top of the fence a distance of 12 feet. The catch fences on the sides and at the end of the track are similar to what is used in speedway ovals in stock-car and open-wheel racing.

The entire trap measures 240 feet and is filled with small pea gravel. A six-foot-high net is placed 190 feet into the sand trap, followed by a 12-foot-high net at 215 feet. The distance from the second net to the catch fence adds an additional 25 feet. The catch fence at the end of the sand trap is 19 feet high.

These changes are part of NHRA's ongoing effort to investigate ways to continue to improve safety. In addition, experts from the University of Nebraska, creators of the SAFER wall barriers currently used in stock-car and open-wheel racing, will join NHRA officials and members of the racing community this weekend to engage in discussions on additional recommendations on improving safety. NHRA.com

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