SPARTA, Ky. - Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger affirmed a commitment to maintaining safe, competitive racing conditions on his venue's challenging 1.5-mile tri-oval by confirming plans to install additional Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER™) Barrier System on all-concrete backstretch retaining walls.

The speedway invested $1,000,000 to install the system on retaining walls that span Turn 1 through Turn 2 as well as Turn 3 through Turn 4 in June 2005 per recommendations from NASCAR and industry consultants.

Plans for new full SAFER Barrier installation on the interior backstretch wall and exterior frontstretch wall along the tri-oval are following an incident in which well-known NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, a five-time Kentucky Speedway race winner, sustained multiple leg injuries after his No. 54 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) car connected with an unprotected Daytona International Speedway concrete wall on Lap 113 of a 300-mile race on the facility's 2.5-mile oval Feb. 21.

Busch did not compete in the NSCS season-opening Daytona 500 yesterday. He is scheduled for surgery to repair fractures to his lower right leg fracture and left foot this week.

"Sometimes you have to see what can possibly happen before you realize that you've got a problem that needs to be corrected," Simendinger said. "Obviously it's an expensive thing to do. It takes time. But it's something to which we're committed.

"I've always said safety is our No. 1 priority, so that's what we're going to do, assuming we can get the work done between now and our (July 9-11) races."

His only concern is the availability of materials. 

"There's not that many people that make SAFER barriers, so we've got to make sure we can get it, get it properly installed," he added.

The system was created by Dr. Dean Sicking of the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln and was first installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002. 

NASCAR returns to the Bluegrass State and the speedway for a three-race weekend July 9-11. The fifth NSCS Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts will provide the Saturday night weekend finale. Action opens with Thursday with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 and continues Friday with the NXS Kentucky 300.

Single-race tickets, ticket specials, infield Fan Zone passes along with weekend ticket and camping packages can be purchased through the respective pages of this website, by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the speedway's Sparta, Ky., ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.

- Kentucky Speedway -