Jeff Gordon: Barriers for all tracks

Updated: May 31, 2013, 3:37 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

DOVER, Del. -- Jeff Gordon doesn't understand why there isn't a SAFER barrier on every wall at every track in NASCAR's top three series.

The four-time Sprint Cup champion called Sunday's crash into a non-protected area on the outside concrete wall going into Turn 1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway "one of the hardest hits I've had in a race car." He blamed that and the pain he's experienced this week on the lack of a SAFER barrier.

"I had a rough week," Gordon said Friday at Dover International Speedway. "I didn't quite understand the pain I was feeling that night until I went back and watched the video and realized the angle I hit and there was no SAFER barrier.

"I had no idea there was no SAFER barrier on [that part of the track]. I was kind of shocked."

After the race, he tweeted about the incident with the hashtag "#Saferbarrierseverywhere!" Gordon, who has dealt with back pain in recent years, has found non-protected areas several times. He hit the inside wall at Las Vegas in 2008 and at Richmond in 2011. He also hit a non-protected wall at Dover during qualifying a couple of years ago.

Denny Hamlin was sidelined for four races with a compression fracture in his lower back after hitting an unprotected inside wall at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Gordon said he discussed the situation at Charlotte with officials just as he did following previous big hits. CMS spokesperson Scott Cooper said "we review our safety equipment on an ongoing basis."

NASCAR chairman Brian France said last weekend there are several reasons barriers aren't everywhere.

"We're not the only thing that runs on a given facility," France said of NASCAR. "That's No. 1. If it's a motorcycle event, Moto GP, something else, which is contemplated being run at different facilities, that has to be considered.

"From NASCAR's standpoint, we look at that very carefully. We were all over the California circumstance. When we need to put additional SAFER barriers anywhere, we will do it. There's nothing that prevents us other than that we look at this, we think we have them in all the right places, and if we don't, we'll make an improvement, like anything else."

Gordon said there's only one reason there aren't barriers everywhere.

"Cost," he said. "There's only one reason. Cost. That's it."

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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