Tuesday, October 04, 2011

SAFER Barriers Going In At The Rock

The SAFER barriers are going in at Rockingham Speedway. Works crews from Southern Bleachers have now installed nearly half of the impact-absorbing barriers along the inside backstretch wall at "The Rock," in anticipation of the NASCAR Campng World Truck Series' inaugural event there on April 15 of next year. The "Good Sam Club Roadside Assistance Carolina 200," will mark the return of NASCAR to the historic, North Carolina speedway in more than a decade.

SAFER barriers will be installed in the turns following the running of the Pro Cup Series "American 200" and UARA-Stars Late Model Series finale on November 5. When complete, the project will represent an investment of nearly $1 million; an investment speedway president Andy Hillenburg said is worthwhile.

"As a racer, safety is always my number one concern," said Hillenburg, who made his first NASCAR Cup Series start at the track in 1991. "Regardless of NASCAR's decision to come back to Rockingham, SAFER barriers were a need for us and I'm glad we are able to get that process underway. As we've seen over the years, there are some hard hits along that inside wall coming off of Turn Two, and when things go bad getting into Turn One, they go very bad."

Brian Keselowski can testify to that, after cutting a tire and pounding the first-turn wall late in the running of last year's "Carolina 200," and NASCAR Senior Vice-President for Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell said the track and its surrounding community have done everything necessary to earn the sanctioning body's approval. "NASCAR is looking forward to returning to Rockingham Speedway with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in 2012," said O'Donnell. "The fans and community have shown strong support and the track is making significant improvements to its facility. We appreciate all the hard work by Andy Hillenburg and his staff to get to this point. It should be a fun event."

Also on tap this season is the fourth annual "Polar Bear 150" Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals on November 26, with up to 99 Street Stocks scheduled to take the green flag. A year ago, Sprint Cup star Kurt Busch steered the #22 Sirius Speedway Chevrolet to a second-place finish. For more information on upcoming events at The Rock, contact the track ticket office at (910) 205-8800, or go online at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.

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