Darlington Adds SAFER Barriers

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DARLINGTON, S.C. - Darlington Raceway officials announced Tuesday that installation of SAFER barriers at the historic track is under way. A recent announcement by NASCAR stated that all facilities hosting Nextel Cup Series events would be equipped with the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system by January 2005.

"Our goal is to have the SAFER barrier up at every track where it's recommended by the experts by 2005,'' said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of research and development.

Darlington joins Richmond, Phoenix, Homestead-Miami, New Hampshire and Indianapolis on the list of tracks with the SAFER system. Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway have announced plans to have the barriers in place in time for their upcoming events in April and July.

The SAFER barriers' installation at Darlington will be completed in time for the spring event, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 weekend, coming up March 19-21.

Dean Sicking headed the University of Nebraska team that developed the SAFER barrier, which absorbs some of the energy in a crash, lessening the impact for a driver. The barrier is made up of steel tubes and pads of hard foam and is affixed to the concrete wall.

In 2003, Dr. Sicking and the University of Nebraska were honored as the recipients of NASCAR's Award of Excellence for their work.

"Safety is of paramount importance in our sport, and we are pleased to be installing the SAFER barrier at Darlington Raceway," said Andrew Gurtis, president of Darlington Raceway.

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