Ryan Newman was right as Watkins Glen to improve safety

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Newman spoke and the Glen listened. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman is known for hard driving and speaking his mind.

The two came together during the recent NASCAR weekend at Watkins Glen International. Newman was caught up in a massive wreck that sent cars flying in the air and other bouncing around like pin-balls. After the wreck Newman ripped Watkins Glen for not keeping up with improvements in safety.

It looks like Newman made a great point on live TV when he chastised the track and the lack of improved safer barriers. It’s now been reported that officials at Watkins Glen will work to improve many of the safety aspects at the track. Newman made it a point following his exit from the care center that something had to be done.

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"It's just a very antiquated racetrack and the safety is not at all up to NASCAR's standards and it's a shame that we have to have accidents like that to prove it. Hopefully something will change the next time we come back."

Making a Change

According to reports the Glen will in fact make changes to the track following their review of the wrecks and racing during the NASCAR race weekend. The move comes after several wrecks at the Glen that resemble the ones that often occur on superspeedways and are often termed “The Big One.” Over the last several seasons the improvements in the Sprint Cup Series cars has made for tighter racing on road courses which has seemingly increased the number of high-speed incidents in the tight turns.

Track President Michael Printup said during a recent interview on that following the wrecks he went to Daytona Florida and International Speedway Corporation where he spent three days working with ISC president John Saunders and the design team to address the track's safety issues.

"We'll get the University of Nebraska up there, we'll get NASCAR up there, we're going to evaluate everything we can," Printup said. "We'll do whatever we need to do to make sure it is the safest track we can."

University of Nebraska

What does SAFER actually stand for? The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, University of Nebraska-Lincoln broke new ground in 1998 in efforts to improve the safety of race car drivers. The MwRSF was selected by the Indy Racing League, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and NASCAR to develop, test, and evaluate safety features for high-speed race tracks. MwRSF developed the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier for use on high-speed oval race tracks.

The safer barriers now installed at NASCAR and ARCA Racing sanctioned tracks across the country were a product of highway safety research done at the University of Nebraska. Since its conception the safer barriers have gone through design changes as more research was done. Dr. John Rohde of the University of Nebraska said one example of the new barriers could be found at Talladega Superspeedway.

 “The inside wall at Talladega was the first installation of the second generation SAFER Barrier," Rhode said. "The leadership and dedication of the Talladega staff was a key element in the successful deployment of the barrier across the nation.”

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