AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Harvick was near the front of the pack at the Daytona 500 when he was involved in a crash on the final lap.
His No. 4 Chevy spun through the infield and hit the inside wall at Daytona International Speedway head-on.
The wreck left him a little sore – physically and at the track for not having a SAFER barrier at the end of pit road, where he hit.
“It’s a little bit frustrating because it really shouldn’t even be a debate,” Harvick said from Phoenix International Speedway.
“I know they have data that shows where the most frequently hit sports are, but we wear all this safety equipment and do all the things that we do to these race tracks for that one freak incident to keep from happening like happened back in 2001 (with Dale Earnhardt).
“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.”
A year after Earnhardt died at the 2001 Daytona 500, NASCAR began using softer SAFER barriers on the walls of its tracks to absorb some of the impact from cars hitting the wall at close to 200 mph.
Daytona is undergoing a $400 million renovation that will be completed in 2016 and Harvick wants the speedway to add SAFER barriers to the inside walls as well.
“The tracks, for the most part, don’t listen to really anything unless it’s profitable for their shareholders,” Harvick said. “So when you have somebody spending $400 million on their track and they don’t have soft walls around the inside, maybe they could spent $403 million to go ahead and finish the inside of the superspeedway at Daytona. I was sore all week and, just today, feel good enough to do what I need to do.”