|NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell|
"Our focus is going to be if the elements in the car did their job,” said O’Donnell, “(and) what happened once that car impacted the fence. We certainly will look at the fencing in general, but because of where it hit and the pieces (that went) through, the gate is the particular area of our focus.”
If weaknesses are found in the area of Daytona’s spectator crossover gate, O’Donnell said changes will be made before the circuit’s next restrictor plate race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 5.
“Does (the gate) supply as much support as the rest of the fencing? We believe it did,” said O’Donnell. “But we have to look at it, based on the impact.
|Larson (32) emerged uninjured|
"We've had multiple meetings this week," he said. "Superspeedway racing at Daytona and Talladega is the first concentration for us. We have a race coming up in May at Talladega, so anything we can learn to apply at Talladega, we will do that."
O’Donnell confirmed that NASCAR has retained fencing experts and engineers from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to aid in the investigation, as well as Dr. Dean Sicking, creator of the SAFER barrier. Rookie Kyle Larson's shattered race car will also be reconstructed and examined in an effort to determine whether improper fabrication or materials played a role in the crashes outcome.
O'Donnell said tethers designed to secure wheel/tire assemblies to the chassis did their job, but broke free after chassis and bolt-on components were compromised in the crash.
"The tethers did not break," he stressed. "But the part of the car it was tethered to sheared off. That's something we have to look at."
O’Donnell said it is "far too early to speculate” on causes for the crash, or what changes might be made as a result of NASCAR’s investigation. "We have to do the investigation and do it right,” he said. “There are a number of suggestions out there, and we will look at all of them.
"We have to take the time to reconstruct the car, the fence and the accident. Then we can say, 'Here's what we know happened and how can we prevent that, moving forward.'"
Photos: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, Reuters