AVONDALE, Ariz. -- On the final lap of last week's Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick smacked into a wall unprotected by SAFER barriers at Daytona International Speedway.
Though he was uninjured in the crash aside from being "sore all week," Harvick wasn't happy that any of Daytona's walls would be without the impact-reducing barriers -- especially since Daytona is spending $400 million to redo the grandstands.
"The tracks, for the most part, don't listen to really anything unless it's profitable for their shareholders," Harvick said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. "So when you see somebody spending $400 million dollars on their track and they don't have soft walls around the inside, maybe they could spend $403 million to go ahead and finish the inside of the superspeedway there at Daytona."
Danica Patrick also crashed into an unprotected wall at Daytona on Sunday. And last year, Denny Hamlin broke his back when he hit a wall at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California that had no barrier (the speedway has since covered that area with a soft wall).
The tracks say they follow NASCAR's safety recommendations. NASCAR has said it makes recommendations when it identifies areas to improve.
But since the barriers are estimated to cost $500 per foot, there's a reluctance to install them on every inch of wall until it's necessary.
Harvick, though, said it might be too late by the time an area is identified.
"I know they have data that shows where the most frequently hit spots are, but we wear all this safety equipment and do all the things that we do to these racetracks for that one freak incident to keep things from happening like happened back in 2001 (when Dale Earnhardt was killed in the Daytona 500)," he said. "So it shouldn't even be a debate. It's just one of those things I guess that you just wait around for something else to happen and then they'll fix it."
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