Dover to add 1,800 feet of SAFER barrier ahead of June NASCAR weekend

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By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

The Monster Mile is becoming a bit safer ahead of its two 2017 race weekends.

Dover International Speedway announced Monday plans to add approximately 1,800 feet of Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers to the track, a move that will see the one-mile oval’s outside retaining wall fully covered by the energy-absorbing technology.

Construction of the safety improvements is expected to begin at March, with a completion date ahead of the Delaware facility’s first NASCAR race weekend on June 2-4.

“Dover has really done a great job in making the facility as safe as possible for us as drivers,” Team Penske driver Joey Logano said in a Dover release. “The Monster Mile is an extremely fast track. For only being a one-mile track, the high-banked corners and concrete surface produce really high speeds and with that you increase the risk for heavier impacts.

“As a driver I really appreciate the investment in safety. The initiative to add 1,800 feet of SAFER barrier to completely cover the outside walls is another great step.”

The announcement comes following the completion of a similar project by Dover just last fall, when the facility added nearly 500 feet of SAFER barrier to sections of Turns 2 and 4 ahead of the October NASCAR playoff weekend.

Dover made headlines last May when Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray slammed into the outside wall during a practice session in an area not protected by SAFER barriers. Stewart, who was just weeks into a return from a broken back, climbed out of his machine gingerly after the accident, though he was ultimately deemed eligible to compete in the race.

The incident, while ultimately harmless, propelled NASCAR stars including Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to request Dover to completely cover the track with SAFER barriers in a USA Today report.

All three of NASCAR’s national series will head to Dover for the June 2-4 weekend, culminating in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism.

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