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For Safety's Sake, Fences Reinforced, Raised at Track

NAPA AUTO PARTS 500 / SPORTS EXTRA

April 26, 2000|SHAV GLICK

Changes designed to increase the safety of spectators and drivers have been made at California Speedway since the last race there.

Most readily apparent are the changes to the reinforced chain-link fence that encircles the two-mile track. The height has been increased from 17 feet to 21 feet, and several strands of cable have been added. The arc that extends over the track--designed to catch flying debris--has been increased from roughly three to eight feet.

All of the International Speedway Corp. tracks with open-wheel racing, Michigan Speedway among them, will also be changed.

"We have been careful to not do something that would impair the line of sight," said Scott Atherton, president and general manager of California Speedway. "We think we have created a benchmark for the industry."

Speedway officials also paved over the grassy area where Greg Moore's car slid before its fatal crash during the Marlboro 500 CART race last fall. The new pavement extends from the exit of Turn 2, two-thirds of the distance down the backstretch.

"It looks like a skid pad," Atherton said. "But the change is twofold. It makes the runoff area smoother, and the asphalt provides greater friction than grass or dirt in slowing cars before they reach the inside containment fence."

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