CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – The chain-link fences at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be replaced in time for its June race, partly in response to Carl Edwards’ airborne accident at Talladega Superspeedway.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. will spend $400,000 to put up fences made of welding wire.

“Let’s fix it because the sport is at risk,” SMI chairman Bruton Smith said Monday. “The thing we need to do at all the speedways (is) to make sure we have the strongest (fencing) there is.”

Smith said he had started the process of replacing the fence before Edwards’ accident at Talladega two races ago. Edwards’ car was sent airborne into the frontstretch fence, which bowed upon contact. Although the fence held, debris from the accident flew into the grandstands and injured seven fans.

Talladega’s fencing is a mix of chain link and steel cable. The Alabama track is owned by International Speedway Corp., the sister company to NASCAR.

“A chain-link fence, you might think it’s strong, but it’s not,” Smith said. “I had already made a decision to (change New Hampshire). We were a little ahead of the curve on that. It was not adequate. It looked bad, it was bad, and I thought, very unsafe.”

Three fans were killed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, one of Smith’s properties, in a 1999 accident during an Indy Racing League event. Debris from the accident flew into the stands, and Smith changed the fencing at Lowe’s and Texas Motor Speedway shortly after.


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