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.