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DATE News (chronologically)
04/28/09
track news
NASCAR will analyze fencing after Talladega crash  NASCAR has pledged to analyze the fencing and the circumstances surrounding Carl Edwards’ accident Sunday in which seven Talladega Superspeedway spectators were hit by debris from either the car or the catch fence when Edwards got airborne coming toward the finish line.

After getting tapped while he was trying to block Phoenix Racing’s Brad Keselowski, Edwards’ Roush Fenway entry came slightly off the ground and then was smashed into by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Newman, vaulting Edwards into the fence. The car landed back on the track.

One woman remained hospitalized Tuesday morning in fair condition after suffering a possible broken jaw, according to a hospital spokesman and track doctor. 

“One of our primary goals over the years is to build a restraining fence that keeps the cars and parts and pieces out of the spectator areas,” NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said Monday. “And nothing is bulletproof. … The retaining fence did what it was supposed to do: It threw the car back on the race track. There was some debris that went in the grandstand that, fortunately, did not invoke serious injury.

“So we will analyze the fence and make sure that it did what it was supposed to do. We think it did. If there’s something that we come up with, as we analyze this accident, we will certainly put it into play. We will make it as safe as we humanly can.”

The height of the fencing is likely to be one area of focus because Edwards’ car hit it near the top of the 14-foot Talladega fence, but NASCAR does not currently mandate any specific height for fences.

“The race tracks, in their fencing, there’s not one design because all of the race tracks are configured differently,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. “They don’t all have the same race cars or types of car that run on them.

“You can look at the different fencing that is around some of the [tracks] where some of the open-wheel cars run at – Kansas, Richmond, things of that nature. So many of the fence designs are different, and you know, this fence at Talladega has been there for quite some time, and we’ll evaluate it as they do the repairs.”

Pemberton and Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said unusual circumstances played a role in the car getting so high.

“One of the things that attributed to this is generally when the car turns around, …  the cars behind it are not still accelerating and trying to keep their speed up, as the 09 [of Keselowski] did, trying to obviously get around the 99 [of Edwards],” Pemberton said.

“So it probably didn’t scrub as much speed off. It came around, and quite quickly, and didn’t scrub as much speed off as it needed to. But the roof flaps deployed, and the car started to set back down, and as the 39 [of Newman] came into the picture, you know, it punted the 99 car [of Edwards], and that’s what got it up into the fence. … Quite frankly, these situations that come up from time to time are a one-off, and things that you don’t necessarily foresee, and they are hard to recreate.”  Scenedaily.com

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