NASCAR SAFER® Barrier
Year Galvanized: 2015
Galvanizers: Valmont Coatings, Birmingham Galvanizing and Valmont Coatings, Columbia Galvanizing
Summary: For many years, containment of errant racing vehicles traveling on oval speedways was provided through rigid, concrete walls placed around the exterior and interior of the track. However, accident experience found that serious injuries and fatalities occurred through vehicular impacts into these non-deformable barriers. Because of these injuries, INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, later joined by NASCAR, sponsored the development of a new barrier system by the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to improve the safety of drivers participating in automobile racing events. The new barrier, known as the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER®) Barrier, consists of a high-strength, tubular steel skin that distributes the impact load to energy-absorbing foam cartridges in order to reduce the severity of the impact, extend the impact event, and provide the driver additional protection. The tubular steel panels and connection hardware that comprise the main structural components of the SAFER® Barrier must be able to withstand exposure to the elements across a wide range of conditions. As such, all of the steel components of the SAFER® Barrier employed a hot-dip galvanized duplex system to prevent corrosion and extend the service life of the components. In addition to the structural components of the SAFER® Barrier, alternative backup structures made of galvanized steel have been developed to support the barrier. These alternative steel backup structures have proven economical and allow the SAFER® Barrier to be used in applications where reinforced concrete support walls do not exist or cannot be feasibly installed.