FedEx 400 2013: Jeff Gordon wants SAFER barriers installed everywhere

Patrick Smith

Jeff Gordon sees no reason why SAFER barriers aren’t installed on all walls surrounding the racing surface and it's an issue he wants NASCAR to address.

Jeff Gordon has hit the wall many times throughout his career, but Sunday's wreck in the Coca-Cola 600 was one of the hardest of his career and left him quite sore afterward.

What he couldn't understand, though, was why the impact was so forceful. Then he looked at the replay and instantly knew why.

"I had a rough week," Gordon said Friday at Dover International Speedway. "I didn't quite understand the pain that I was feeling that night until I went back and watched the video and realized the angle that I hit as well as the fact that there was no SAFER barrier. I had no idea there was no SAFER barrier at that dogleg on the frontstretch.

"That blew my mind that there wasn't one."

From Gordon's viewpoint the only reason NASCAR hasn't required SAFER barriers to be installed everywhere is simple: "Cost. There's only one reason. Cost. That's it."

NASCAR CEO Brian France said last week at Charlotte the sanctioning body is always reviewing the placement of SAFER barriers. However, because of a variety of factors including tracks hosting various forms of racing, installing the energy absorbing walls wasn't feasible.

"We think we have them in all the right places, and if we don't, we'll make an improvement, like anything else,'' France said.

It is because of this Gordon isn't expecting change anytime soon, though he is adamant that won't prevent him from continuing to lobby NASCAR.

"I'm not anticipating any change," he said. "I understand their theory is they go through their testing and see where multiple impacts have happened and highest impacts and those things.

"I certainly said something and when I get the opportunity, I'll talk to others as well about it. As I've learned in the past, they're going to look at those circumstances and make their calls based on that. Me sitting down and having a conversation with them isn't necessarily going to change that, but it doesn't mean it's going to stop me from doing it."

Charlotte wasn't the first time Gordon had an encounter with an unprotected wall. Previous crashes at Las Vegas and Richmond led to both tracks installing SAFER barriers along the inside walls on the backstretch.

Dover is another track without SAFER barriers installed all the way around the racing surface.

"I found the one off of (Turn) 2 here and they haven't fixed that one," Gordon said. I saw somebody in the Truck Series found it, too, and they haven't done that."

Denny Hamlin struck an unprotected wall at Auto Club Speedway sustaining a compression fracture of his L1 vertebrae. The injury sidelined him four weeks.

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