Daytona International Speedway’s promised safety improvements are starting to take shape.
The proposed improvements to the racetrack itself were added to the Daytona Rising after Kyle Busch’s vicious wreck during the season-opening Alert Today Florida 300 Xfinity Series race at the track in February. Busch’s car hit an unprotected concrete wall just past the exit of the infield road course nearly head-on. In the crash, Busch suffered a broken right leg and mid-left foot fracture that put him out of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota until Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race.
“We’re going to fix that,” track president Joie Chitwood III said about the lack of SAFER barrier at the crash site. “This is not going to happen again.”
For the Daytona 500 in February, Daytona International Speedway installed 800 feet of temporary tire barriers exiting the infield road course where Busch crashed. These are the same tires that are usually placed there during the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend in January.
More recently, DIS began work on the improvements which they had previously outlined in mid-March. SAFER barrier will be installed inside turn 1 starting at the infield road-course exit as well as the retaining wall at the pit exit, among others. The track will also replace grassed areas with 20,000 square feet of pavement, a measure that will allow cars to have a greater ability to slow down if they spin out. The track will complete as much of the SAFER barrier installation as possible before the Coke Zero 400 race weekend. Further work on the SAFER barrier installation will occur after the Coke Zero 400 weekend.