Report: IMS to examine SAFER wall expansion, but confident 99 percent is “covered”

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the birthplace of the SAFER barrier – it was first introduced to the world ahead of the 2002 Indianapolis 500, and the safety push has continued in the 13 years since.

However in the wake of Kyle Busch’s accident Saturday at Daytona, and Daytona track president Joie Chitwood III confirming shortly thereafter the track plans to install SAFER barriers “at every inch” of the track, the topic of whether IMS would expand its SAFER walls has come up.

IMS track president J. Douglas Boles told the Indianapolis Star it is something the track would consider, but left it right now as a “maybe.”

“We could add (barrier) if we need to, but we are really, really covered in places where 99 percent of the cars are going to hit with anything but a pancake hit,” Boles told the Star‘s Curt Cavin.

Any track alterations that would see further SAFER barriers installed could affect the racing line and available track space, particularly in the North and South Chutes of the 2.5-mile oval.

In terms of accident possibilities, IMS and Daytona are different beasts. The style of racing at Daytona lends itself to larger packs and often greater size accidents, although this year’s Daytona 500 was one of the cleaner ones in recent years.

IMS, meanwhile, tends to lend itself more to single file racing and rarely has more than a two or three-car accident at one time. While Busch’s accident was a single car veering into an unprotected wall, it occurred after a spin across a wider distance, over grass.

Spins off Turns 2 and 4 at IMS into the inside retaining wall would likely involve the most distance traveled in an accident there.

IMSA at Mid-Ohio Sunday: How to watch, schedules, TV, stream info

IMSA Mid-Ohio schedule
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The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to a sprint as the circuit enters the stretch run of the 2020 season with a packed weekend schedule at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Acura Sports Car Challenge will be a two-hour, 40-minute race around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio, for the DPi, GTLM and GTD classes.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar teams will practice Friday and Saturday. Qualifying will take place at 8 a.m. Sunday before a 2 p.m. green flag (same-day delay 11 p.m. ET, NBCSN; streaming on NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold) for the headlining race of a busy weekend.

There will be eight other races at Mid-Ohio across four series: the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

The GTLM class of IMSA’s top series will be short two entries with Porsche pulling out because of positive COVID-19 tests at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend.

This will mark the seventh race of the season. After Mid-Ohio, there are three events left for the premier DPi and four for the GT division, including two of the year’s longest (the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring season finale).

Here are the details for IMSA this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (all times are ET):


IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Mid-Ohio

WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m.

TV:  11 p.m. (same-day delay), NBCSN (streaming link); 2 p.m. NBC Sports App (streaming link) / TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold

STREAM: NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold (live flag to flag starting at 2 p.m.)

RADIO: IMSA Radio will have live radio coverage throughout the weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, as well as SiriusXM

RACE DISTANCE: Two hours and 40 minutes around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 81 degrees with a 1% chance of rain at the green flag.

ENTRY LIST: Click here for which WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams are racing at Mid-Ohio


IMSA Mid-Ohio weekend schedule

Friday

6:10-7:10 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Saturday

10:55 a.m.-12:10 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Sunday

8-9:05 a.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

2 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge