Jul 4, 2013, 9:54 PM EDT
Rising from near-tragedy in February when dozens of parts of a demolished race car – including a tire – flew into the stands, injuring more than two dozen spectators, Daytona International Speedway will be a much safer place for this weekend’s return of racing.
Just in time for Friday’s Nationwide Series race, the same racing circuit in which a terrible wreck occurred back in February when Kyle Larson‘s car was all but obliterated, track officials have reinforced and reconfigured the crossover gate and grandstand fencing protecting fans from race track debris, according to a story in the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News.
Significant safety improvements were made to both Daytona and sister track Talladega Superspeedway – the only two tracks on the NASCAR circuit that require restrictor plates to control horsepower on both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars.
Following a study by a structural engineering firm, numerous improvements and upgrades were implemented, including more cables to keep the crossover gates in place, as well as additional tethers surrounding the crossover gate and support posts.
“I felt before that it was safe place,” track president Joie Chitwood III said. “We’ve been around 55 years and, yes, things happen.
“But we’ve done a really good job of giving fans a safe and fun environment. You never stop doing that.”
All eight crossover gates – which allow fans access to the track during pre-race activities and for pit tours when cars are not on the track – have been either replaced or strengthened.
Here’s a video replay of February’s near-tragedy:
- IndyCar: Will high grip and high tempers equal high drama at Barber? 0
- NHRA drag racing superstar John Force goes on vacation — at a dragstrip, of course 0
- Swan Racing restructures, splits up two-car Sprint Cup operation 0
- It’s official: Redskins QB RG III to drive pace car at Richmond for Saturday’s Sprint Cup race 2
- Raikkonen: Yes, he’s still motivated, otherwise he wouldn’t be here 7
More from NASCAR America
- VIDEO: Vettel ignores team orders, telling team “tough luck” (20)
- Alonso’s doing it again – another year outperforming teammate, equipment (12)
- NASCAR still humming along after last fall’s Richmond scandal (9)
- In re-released interview, Brad Keselowski recalls how Rick Hendrick left him heartbroken (8)
- Maldonado brushes off crash and spin in practice (7)