First phase to be complete by Nov. 5 American 200
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 4, 2011) – For over 40 years, Rockingham Speedway has been a tough place to get around. Time and time again, one little miscue or a worn-out tire has led to some hard hits against the track’s unforgiving concrete walls.
[media-credit name=”rockinghamspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]While the track won’t be any less difficult for drivers to navigate when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes its inaugural trip to Rockingham on April 15, 2012 for the Good Sam Club Roadside Assistance Carolina 200, the hits will not be quite as bone-jarring as the speedway has begun the installation of Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers along the inside back stretch wall.
Installation of the SAFER barriers in the turns will begin at Rockingham after the running of the American 200 doubleheader (Nov. 5, 2011) and the Polar Bear 150 (Nov. 26, 2011). In all, a mile’s worth of the soft walls will be installed around the facility.
Commonly referred to as “soft walls,” SAFER barriers are designed to absorb a portion of the energy in a crash, lessening the impact on the driver.
The project, when complete, represents a nearly one million-dollar investment. But to speedway president Andy Hillenburg, it’s a worthwhile expense.
“As a racer, safety is always my number one concern,” said Hillenburg, who made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup start at the track in 1991. “Regardless of NASCAR’s decision to come back to Rockingham, SAFER barriers were a need for us and I’m glad we are able to get that process underway. As we’ve seen over the years, there are some hard hits along that inside wall coming off of (turn) two and when things go bad getting into (turn) one, they go very bad.”
NASCAR requires the technology at any facility at which it sanctions an event in its top-three National Touring Series.
“NASCAR is looking forward to returning to Rockingham Speedway with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in 2012,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice-president for Racing Operations. “The fans and community have shown strong support and the track is making significant improvements to its facility. We appreciate all the hard work by Andy Hillenburg and his staff to get to this point. It should be a fun event.”
Can’t wait for April?
Racing action returns to Rockingham Speedway next month with the annual running of the American 200 CARS Pro Cup and UARA-Stars Late Model Series doubleheader on November 5. Chase Elliott, son of 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Bill Elliott, won the Pro Cup portion of the Carolina 200 in May. Brennan Poole took the checkered flag in the UARA race.
Both series will be crowning their 2011 champions at Rockingham.
On November 26, the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals take to The Rock for the fourth Polar Bear 150. Up to 99 street stocks will take the green flag.
For more information, or to order tickets for any event at Rockingham Speedway, please contact the ticket office at 910.205.8800 or visit us online at www.rockinghamspeedway.com. Great seats and suite packages are still available.