(TOLEDO, Ohio – May 14, 2015) – Toledo Speedway has extended the number of Styrofoam blocks to create a safer barrier for potential impact with the outside retaining wall at the high-banked half-mile. The eight additional blocks were installed earlier this year in anticipation of a full slate of racing this season – including Sunday’s Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
ARCA President Ron Drager said track officials are constantly looking at ways to make the track safer for drivers. The foam barriers are a result of those steps.
“Over time, we’ve identified a couple of common areas in which we’ve seen cars impact the outside retaining wall on a regular basis,” Drager said.
In those two spots – heading into turn one and another spot in the middle of the third- and fourth turns – ARCA has installed foam barriers that are 36-inches high and 36-inches wide and 7-foot-long. They weigh 300 pounds apiece and will serve as a barrier in case a car hits it, just as ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver Thomas Praytor did during the 2014 Menards 200.
Praytor’s car spun and tagged the wall and then hit the foam barriers. Upon impact with the barrier the car came to rest. One of the foam barriers was damaged.
“Right after the halfway point, we were coming off turn two and something broke and we backed into the wall,” Praytor said. “It was a pretty hard hit. I’m okay, but the car’s pretty bad.”
The ARCA Safety Initiative team cleared the debris and the field went back to racing soon. The foam barriers do not interfere with racing on the track.
“The hit at Toledo was one of the hardest of my career, including wrecking at Talladega,” Praytor said. “The big Styrofoam blocks made for some wild video that's still getting You Tube hits, but they really help soften the impact. Hopefully this year I won’t be making any more videos with the Styrofoam!"
The 2014 Menards 200 was the first race in which the barriers were used.
The speedway initially installed eight foam blocks in both turn one and turn three of the half-mile paved oval.