Kentucky Speedway will invest $1,000,000 to install the second generation of the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER™) Barrier System inside the concrete retaining wall that spans Turns 1 through 2 and Turns 3 through 4 of the 1.5-mile tri-oval track at the facility.

The system is designed to minimize injuries under race conditions. The speedway chose to install the system following a thorough analysis of all on-track incidents throughout the five-year history of the 66,089-seat facility. When a racecar collides with the barrier, hollow steel tubing buffered with polystyrene blocks dissipate impact energy before it reaches a driver. On-board collision data recorders have shown a 75 percent reduction in g-force felt by drivers as the system spreads impact energy over an extended distance along a retaining wall.

Installation will begin after the season-opening ARCA RE/MAX Series "Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150" race on May 14 and will be complete before the June 18 NASCAR Busch Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" event. Installation will take place at night and will not interrupt frequent race team testing at the speedway.

"Our investor board has delivered again. This investment further demonstrates the board's commitment to the success of our independently-owned facility," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. "Our team has always been driven to provide competitors with the latest safety technology and we've followed all aspects of the SAFER Barrier System - installation methods, impact studies, repair procedure and overall effectiveness - since it's inception. Clearly, the system will ensure Kentucky Speedway remains among the best motorsports facilities in America."

During installation, five 28-foot sections of eight-inch square tubing are stacked and welded together. Two-inch thick sections of polystyrene are then stacked behind the welded sections in a pyramid shape at five-foot intervals. Finally, cables and nylon straps are attached to the tubing sections and concrete retaining wall at 14-foot intervals.

The second generation of the system differs from the original version by utilizing: - New steel tubes which help the system react to and recover from impact more quickly than before; - Slightly curved barrier sections to provide a smoother impact surface; - A five-tube exterior to replace the previous four-tube design; - A universal polystyrene shape that is more compatible with stock and open-wheel cars; - Improved anchors to attach the barrier to the retaining wall.

The Kentucky Speedway project will require an estimated 241.5 tons of steel tubing, 161 welded panels weighing 3,000 pounds each, 805 custom polystyrene blocks and 322 straps. Elrod Corp., of Mooresville, Ind., will manufacture the SAFER Barrier.

The SAFER Barrier System first was installed on the four outside retaining walls of the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in May 2002. IMS also was first to install the second generation of the system in February 2005.

Researchers from the Midwest Roadside Safety Group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Elrod Corp., engineers worked with IMS and the Indy Racing League during a four-year period to the develop the system. NASCAR joined the development effort in September 2000. The system is in use at all facilities that host NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events.

Kentucky Speedway season and single event race tickets are on sale now and can be reserved by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), online at and, through outlets including Meijer stores and at Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and the speedway Fan Center outside the track in Sparta, Ky. Visit the track Web site for the complete schedule.

~ Kentucky Speedway ~