Report: IMS will add additional SAFER barrier before May

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will add more SAFER barriers coming out of Turn 2 and driver’s left on the short chute between Turns 3 and 4 before the month of May, track president Doug Boles confirmed to USA Today. Per the report, that’s roughly 1,560 additional feet of barriers.

“We’re so tight to begin with, the likelihood of getting into those (unprotected areas) is really slim and getting into one with any significant speed is even slimmer,” Boles told USA Today’s Brant James. “But we decided that the best thing to do was to add (SAFER) to those two locations.”

IndyCar crashes from exiting Turn 2 have occurred rather frequently in recent years, either where drivers hit the outside wall on corner exit or hit the outside wall and then spin down to the inside. It’s the latter where the SAFER would be installed.

Boles had previously told the Indianapolis Star that they were considering the possibility of additions, in the wake of Kyle Busch’s crash in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona to open the 2015 racing season.

IndyCar’s month of May commences with oval testing on May 3, before the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 24.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).