Safer barrier work finally under way at Daytona International Speedway 3 months after Kyle Busch critically injured

 
Kyle Busch critically injured in Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway Feb 21 / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headlime Surfer® /
Kyle Busch is tended to by NASCAR track employees after crashing into a concrete wall durin the Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 21, 2015, and suffering a broken leg and foot. Busch was forced to mis the Daytona 500 the next day as well as subdequent races in both the XFinity and Sprint Cup series, until the Winston All-Star weekend races.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Three months after suffering a broken leg and foot in the Feb. 21 Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway that forced Kyle Busch to missthe next day's Daytona 500 and half a dozen subsequent races, the driver was finally back to racing over the weekend.

But Speedway officials here had yet to say anything about the promised safer barrier improvements pledged following the accident.

An email sent on May 12 by Headline Surfer® to Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III and to track spokesman Andrew Booth went unanswered. However, the Speedway finally addressed the issue through a published story Monday in the Daytona Beach News-Journal stating work would begin that day on installing safer barriers in the location where Busch was injured.

Here is what News-Journal columnist Ken Willis reported in a story headlined, "DIS: Work begins on safety initiatives in wake of Busch crash:

"Daytona International Speedway officials announced work has started on safety initiatives that include additional soft wall coverage as well as asphalt in one area formerly covered with grass," Willis wrote, adding, "The addition of new Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier became a hot topic in the aftermath of Kyle Busch's Feb. 21 wreck in an Xfinity Series race the day before the Daytona 500 that left him with a broken leg and foot. Busch returned to racing Saturday at the All-Star Race in Charlotte, North Carolina."

Willis pointed out the Speedway was vague on specifics of the improvements beyond what had been released several weeks after the crash in a public relations statement. Here is what Willis wrote specifically: "Other than acknowledging the start of the new efforts, the Speedway declined to offer any information beyond what it addressed in a March 11 news release."

The Daytona Beach News-Journal's Ken Willis pointed out the Speedway was vague on specifics of the improvements beyond what had been released several weeks after the crash in a public relations statement. Here is what Willis wrote specifically: "Other than acknowledging the start of the new efforts, the Speedway declined to offer any information beyond what it addressed in a March 11 news release."

And here are the specifics of the March 11 Speedway press release regarding specifics of the work: The inside retaining wall, inside Turn 1 and beginning with the exit from the infield road course, will be realigned and fitted with the SAFER Barrier 20,000 square feet of asphalt will be put down to replace the grass in that area of the track -- the lack of traction on grass adds to the inability to slow or possibly control a wrecking car.

The clock is ticking on the promised safety improvements with the next series of races at Daytona International Speedway on the Fourth of July weekend: There's the Xfinity Subway Firecracker 250 on July 4 and the Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 under the lights on July 5.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.