Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports get contract extension with sponsor Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks are installing additional vertical cables at various parts of its catchfences, according to a report in The Cincinnati Enquirer.
SMI Chairman Bruton Smith talked about the new cables during the Kentucky Speedway media day Wednesday. More than 30 fans were injured at Daytona International Speedway in February when parts and pieces from Kyle Larson’s car flew into the grandstands during a Nationwide Series crash. A wheel and suspension parts from Larson’s car landed in the stands while the engine tore through the catch fence. NASCAR and track officials have been working on ways to reinforce the catch fences since the crash.
According to the newspaper, 5/8-inch steel cables were placed between support posts and anchored into the retaining wall with epoxy.
The new cables will keep the horizontal steel cables — they are attached to the vertical cables with a steel clamp — from spreading wide enough to allow a tire or other significant pieces of a car from going through the fencing.
Smith told the newspaper that SMI is getting the system patented and hopes all tracks that run NASCAR races will use it.
“This is the latest and greatest as far as a safety feature that we’ve ever done. We went between each post and we’ve tied those cables together,” Smith said. “There’s no wheel going to go through there at any time. A car can’t get through there. So it’s a major safety factor. I’d like to see all the speedways use it.”
The new system will be in place for the race later this month at Kentucky Speedway.
Daytona is owned by International Speedway Corp. SMI tracks also have had debris fly into the grandstands in recent years.
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