INDIANAPOLIS — Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO, was given the inaugural Pioneering and Innovation Award at the Autosport Awards held Dec. 5 in London. George was recognized for his leadership in the development of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier.
The SAFER Barrier, under development by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility since 1998, absorbs energy during impacts with retaining walls and is one of the more important safety breakthroughs in motorsports. NASCAR joined in the development of the system in September 2000.
This is the fourth major award that has been presented to honor George and the SAFER Barrier development team. The SAFER Barrier also received the Louis Schwitzer Award, SEMA Motorsports Engineering Award and GM Racing Pioneer Award in 2002.
The SAFER Barrier was installed in all four turns of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in time for the 86th Indianapolis 500 in 2002. It since has been installed at more than a dozen other tracks, with the latest iteration to be installed at the Speedway in the spring.
Each 20-foot module of the SAFER Barrier consists of four rectangular steel tubes, welded together, to form a unified element. The modules are connected with four internal steel splices. Bundles of 2-inch-thick sheets of extruded, closed-cell polystyrene are placed between the concrete wall and the steel tubing modules every 10 feet.
For more information about IMS, visit: www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
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