Phoenix International Raceway may add SAFER barrier after race

Phoenix International Raceway may add a SAFER barrier covering to the inside wall near the entrance to pit road.

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

After announcing plans last week to install a new tire pack barrier along the interior Turn 4 wall in advance of this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race, Phoenix International Raceway is reportedly considering replacing the tire pack with a permanent SAFER barrier.

A decision on the proposed change won’t come until after Sunday’s 500, the Arizona Republic reports.

Track president Bryan Sperber announced last week that PIR was adding the tire packs, which will reside near the entrance to pit road, in the wake of two crashes involving two of the sport’s biggest stars — Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon — in the first two race weekends of the 2015 season.

Both Busch (Daytona) and Gordon (Atlanta) had hard collisions with concrete walls unprotected by a SAFER barrier.

A third driver, Erik Jones, later collided with an unprotected wall in last Saturday’s XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

While Gordon and Jones were uninjured in their respective incidents, Busch suffered a compound fracture of his lower-right leg and a mid-foot fracture when his No. 54 Toyota barrelled head-first into an unprotected wall in the XFINITY season opener at Daytona on Feb. 21. He has not raced since.