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NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: ALERT TODAY FLORIDA 300


February 21, 2015


Joie Chitwood, III

Steve O'Donnell


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

KERRY THARP:テつ Good evening.テつ We have with us NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell, and also Joie Chitwood, who is president of Daytona International Speedway.
At this time let's hear from Joie.
JOIE CHITWOOD III:テつ Obviously the first thing is that our thoughts and prayers go to Kyle.テつ Last thing we want to see is a competitor injured here at the Daytona International Speedway.テつ Our thoughts and prayers go to him.
The Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today.テつ We should have had a SAFER barrier there today, we did not.テつ We're going to fix that.テつ We're going to fix that right now.
We've got the team out tonight.テつ We're going to install tire packs along that 850‑foot linear square feet of wall, so we're ready to go racing tomorrow.テつ Following that, the Daytona International Speedway is going to install SAFER barrier on every inch at this property.テつ This is not going to happen again.テつ We're going to live up to our responsibility.テつ We're going to fix this and it starts right now.
KERRY THARP:テつ Steve.
STEVE O'DONNELL:テつ From our perspective, obviously I want to echo what Joie said.テつ Thoughts and prayers with Kyle and his family.テつ Certainly wishing him a speedy recovery.
As Joie said, from our perspective, what happened tonight should not have happened.テつ That's on us.テつ We're going to fix it.テつ We're going to fix it immediately.
I think you heard from Joie where we stand from Daytona.
I think we all know that racing is an inherently dangerous sport, but our priority is safety and we'll continue to put things in place that make this sport as safe as possible.
KERRY THARP:テつ We'll take a handful of questions.

Q.テつ Is there a reason beyond cost why this hasn't been done before, why all the walls haven't been covered?
JOIE CHITWOOD III:テつ I don't have a good answer for that.テつ SAFER barrier should have been there tonight.テつ We're going to fix that.
We don't want to see any competitors injured here.テつ We have to fix that.テつ We can't allow this to happen again.

Q.テつ Steve, since you guys have been the ones that have worked closest with the group that deals with the SAFER barriers, have y'all ever been told it would be unwise to place SAFER barriers in certain parts of a racetrack?
STEVE O'DONNELL:テつ We have.テつ I think it goes to NASCAR is not the only sanctioning body that races at a specific track.テつ I can use Eldora, for instance, where a SAFER barrier was looked at, but wouldn't have been the safest solution.
One of the other challenges is there's a lot of other racing series that race at the racetracks we race at, but I wouldn't say it's a very common occurrence.

Q.テつ Joie, you talked about fixing it now.テつ How much discussion has there been over time over fixing this previously, how much debate, looking at financials or whatever to get it fixed before?
JOIE CHITWOOD III:テつ For us, we really can't look at financials as a reason for this.テつ We have to have a venue which we can put on NASCAR racing and have competitors be safe.
We've put in SAFER barriers over a number of years.テつ Again, we have to fix this right now.テつ We're going to fix it for tomorrow.テつ We have the team out there with the tire packs.テつ We're going to be ready for tomorrow's race.
Come Monday, we're going to start the plan so we can put SAFER barrier everywhere here.テつ Finances don't come into play.テつ That's really not a question.テつ We're going to get this fixed and be sure we're ready for the next event here.

Q.テつ Steve, we just heard Joie say that he's going to put SAFER barriers all around this track.テつ There are a lot of tracks on the circuit that do not have SAFER barriers.テつ Is this going to become a NASCAR mandate or is this something that NASCAR is going to start talking to tracks about covering more of its walls with barriers from this point moving forward?
STEVE O'DONNELL:テつ I'll answer the last part first.
We always have those conversations with the racetracks.テつ The racetracks know that and work together with us on the SAFER barrier recommendations.
What we've said here tonight is we will accelerate those talks with the tracks.テつ We want this sport to be as safe as possible for not only our drivers, but everyone who participates in the sport and the race fans as well.

Q.テつ Steve, we talk about the obligations or the recommendations from the sanctioning body.テつ From a financial standpoint, does NASCAR help out the tracks when it comes to installing the barriers?
STEVE O'DONNELL:テつ The tracks pay for the actual installation.テつ I would say our responsibility in that process is looking at the latest technology that may be in place through our R&D center, our safety experts.テつ But then it's working with the racetracks to actually install them.

Q.テつ Joie, do you know in terms of feet or percentage how much wall is covered and how much isn't?
JOIE CHITWOOD III:テつ I know that we've installed SAFER barrier in five different years.テつ At this point I don't have the exact number, but it's in tens of thousands of linear feet.テつ The first installation was 1995, 100 linear feet.テつ We've continued to add ever since.テつ We added 2400 linear feet last year following the Daytona 500.

Q.テつ Do you know in percentage how much of the wall is covered and how much isn't?
JOIE CHITWOOD III:テつ I do not.
KERRY THARP:テつ Joie, Steve, thank you very much for your time.テつ Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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