Jeff Gordon wants SAFER barriers all around tracks (VIDEO)

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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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III