Crossover gates will be a main focus of NASCAR’s investigation into improving fencing systems at their race tracks.
In the Feb. 23 Nationwide Series crash at Daytona International Speedway, the car of rookie Kyle Larson went into the air and slammed into the catch fence, sending pieces of debris into the grandstands. Larson’s impact was near a section where a gate connects the seating and the 2.5-mile track, and allows fans to access both areas.
“I think because of where [Larson’s car] came through and having pieces that did get through and it being a gate area, that’s really going to be the focus for us to look at,” NASCAR senior vice president Steve O’Donnell said to the Associated Press and the media at Phoenix International Raceway.
“We’re certainly going to look at fencing in general, but I think that particular area, that it was a gate, did impact it. We know the gate was locked, but does that provide as much stability as the rest of the fencing we believed it did? We’ve now got to look at that impact.”
O’Donnell also told the media that Larson’s shattered machine will be reconstructed at its research and development center in Concord, N.C., and that the sanctioning body will bring in outside experts such as SAFER Barrier developer Dean Sicking to look over possible fencing improvements.
At least 28 spectators were injured in the Feb. 23 incident at DIS. According to O’Donnell, all but two of the injured have been released from hospitals.
In yesterday’s Nationwide race at PIR, Larson finished 13th in his first event after the crash.