Days after Jeff Gordon sustained what he has called “one of the hardest hits [he’s] had in a race car,” the four-time Sprint Cup champion called upon NASCAR to utilize the energy-absorbing SAFER barriers all around its tracks.
Gordon was slammed into Charlotte Motor Speedway’s tri-oval wall – which had no SAFER barrier – during a multi-car incident on Lap 325 of last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 (see video above). The crash caused Gordon to go on Twitter and plead that the barriers be installed “everywhere.”
At Dover International Speedway, site of this weekend’s races, he indicated that he would continue to state his case on the matter.
“I had no idea there was no SAFER barrier at that dogleg on the front stretch,” said Gordon. “That blew my mind that there wasn’t one. I mean, there’s one at the start/finish line and it stops and then there’s one at Turn 1. It goes around to Turn 2. That kind of shocked me. So, I certainly said something and when I get the opportunity, I’ll talk to others as well about it.
“As I’ve learned in the past, they’re going to look at those circumstances and make their calls based on that. Me sitting down and having a conversation with them isn’t necessarily going to change that, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to stop me from doing it.”
According to Gordon, there’s just one lone reason why NASCAR hasn’t yet decided to install the SAFER barriers everywhere.
“Cost,” he said. “That’s it.”
Dover has SAFER barriers but not all the way around its high-banked, one-mile oval.
On a related note, Dover pole sitter Denny Hamlin’s injury this past March at Auto Club Speedway came after he crashed into an unprotected inside wall on the final lap of the race. The wreck caused Hamlin to suffer a compression fracture in his L1 vertebrae, putting him completely out of action for four weeks.