RIR to add SAFER barriers along backstretch

Addition will be finalized in time for September races
Richmond International Raceway officials announced today that they would install SAFER barriers along the entire length of the inside backstretch wall in time for the September races at the track. The barriers will cover more than 900 feet in total.

“The safety of all who attend our events, including the drivers, is important at Richmond International Raceway,” said track president Doug Fritz. “We will always be reviewing our facility and continue to look at ways to improve on the experience of our fans and the drivers.”

At the NASCAR race this April at RIR, driver Jeff Gordon suffered a jarring crash along the backstretch, prompting calls for SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers to be installed there. (RIR was one of the first tracks to install the barriers in 2003 but, like other tracks, only uses them in certain spots.)

The barriers, erected in front of concrete walls, are designed to absorb energy and reduce the G forces in a crash to reduce the risk of injury to a driver. Gordon's crash was reported to have registered at 40 G on the intensity scale; anything above 30 G is considered a severe impact.

The walls are currently being fabricated by GT Grandstands, Inc., a Plant City, Florida company. Installation of the SAFER barriers will begin as soon as they arrive in Richmond. Cheaha Construction LLC of Munford, Alabama will oversee the installation process.

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May 2017
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