In a teleconference Thursday morning, Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR senior vice president of innovation and racing development, announced that teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY series will need to strengthen the chassis in 2017 at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
Starting with the beginning of Speedweeks next year, teams will be required to modify the floorboard, driver’s anti-intrusion plating and firewall and footbox area, all in which will strengthen the machine, hoping to prevent injury.
“We work on the safety of the vehicle on an ongoing basis,” Stefanyshyn said. “We’ve been doing an extensive body of work over the last year and a half with analysis, crash testing and such. We’ve come to the point that we believe the package is mature and we want to introduce it.”
Due to violent crashes at Daytona and Talladega, the strengthening of the areas is to prevent injuries such as the broken leg and broken foot that Kyle Busch suffered last year in the Alert Today Florida 300, the season opener for the XFINITY Series at Daytona.
“We’re replacing existing materials with materials in instances which are thicker or being formed in a way with less welds,” he said. “Also the way we attach part of it is we are creating, for lack of a better term, a zipper so we provide a lot more weld surface.”
For now, the four restrictor plate races are the only events slated for this safety adjustment. However, depending on how well the modifications work, it could be expanded to other tracks.