Michigan, Bristol adding SAFER barriers ahead of upcoming race weekends

Michigan International Speedway currently has SAFER barriers in the corners and on the inside backstretch wall, but the track will make additional safety upgrades ahead of the June race weekend. 

Gregory Shamus

As part of NASCAR’s continued push toward safety, both Michigan International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway announced Thursday it is taking steps to better secure its walls ahead of their upcoming race weekends.

After completing a "significant review" of the 2-mile MIS by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and NASCAR, Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers will be installed to the pit in and pit out walls, while tire packs will be added to the angled walls inside Turn 1.

In addition, the infield at the exit of pit road will be paved to serve as a skid pad. This will also be where the pace car will enter and exit the track.

Once the August race weekend is completed, the track will install additional SAFER barriers to the frontstretch, backstretch and tri-oval pit wall.

The track currently has SAFER barriers on the outside walls in the corners of the track and along the inside backstretch walls. There are also tire packs along an angled wall going into Turn 3 and at the entrance to pit road.

"The safety of our guests, competitors and staff is our number one priority," said track president Roger Curtis. "We will continue to review our facility and provide updates as circumstances warrant."

Bristol will also add an additional 600 feet of SAFER barriers on the front and backstretch walls before the Food City 500 on April 19. 

"The safety of our fans and competitors continues to be a focal point for Bristol Motor Speedway," said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway. "SMI (Speedway Motorsports Inc.) engineers and NASCAR reevaluated the track and made additional recommendations. We’ve been able to secure an additional 600 feet of SAFER barriers and will complete the build out of the front and backstretch outside walls before the Food City 500 race weekend."