|Jeff Gordon visited the White House Wednesday after winning Tuesday|
A new section of SAFER barriers along the entire inside backstretch wall has been installed at Richmond International Raceway in time for this weekend’s NASCAR races at the three-quarter mile oval — an improvement in safety equipment that will keep drivers protected should they take a hit like Gordon did on April 30.
When the DuPont Chevrolet was sent spinning after contact with another car late in the race, he slammed driver-side into the inside retaining wall, not only ending Team DuPont’s night early, but knocking the wind out of its driver. Gordon was vocal that all walls – including inside retaining walls – should be equipped with SAFER barriers. Richmond International Raceway officials announced on July 1, 2011, that SAFER barriers would be added to this section of track that was previously exposed.
This is not the first time Gordon has influenced the addition of SAFER barriers on inside walls. “Soft walls” were added to the inside retaining wall at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2008 following the “hardest hit [he’s] ever taken,” as described by the four-time champion.
“I hate that I’ve been the one that has pointed out the areas that need SAFER barriers installed at some of our race tracks,” Gordon said. “I don’t want to be the one who points out those areas to anybody else the rest of the season. I am happy that Richmond installed more SAFER barriers though.”
Another unique connection Gordon has had to the addition and improvement of this safety feature is through his relationship with longtime sponsor, DuPont.
DuPont, a global science company that deems safety a top priority, has teamed up with Owens Corning to combine two products that meet the special needs of SAFER barrier technology. Through combining DuPont Formacel® foam expansion agent with Owens Corning Hydrovac ® technology, a special foam was created. Working in concert, the two technologies have been engineered to meet the dynamic requirements of impact while meeting the wide range of elements to which the SAFER barrier is exposed.
In March of this year, Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska completed the qualification testing to certify the use of the new Owens Corning Foamular® with DuPont Formacel® foam expansion agent on all NASCAR and IRL tracks. As existing SAFER barrier is refreshed and as new SAFER barrier wall is added, the new Foamular® will be used.
“NASCAR has done such an amazing job at researching, developing and implementing new ways and technology to keep all of the drivers safe out there,” said Gordon. “And I’m proud to drive for a sponsor like DuPont that prides itself on safety and now has a hand in these developments.”
This weekend, Gordon and DuPont have made their impact on Richmond International Raceway before even arriving for the race.
- Performance PR Plus for DuPont Motorsports, Press Release