IRL, Indy 500: PEDS-2 Barrier to Enhance Safety for Drivers at Indianapolis
25 May 1999INDIANAPOLIS- The PEDS-2 Barrier, an enhanced version of the revolutionary energy-absorbing barrier installed last May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be in place for the 83rd Indianapolis 500 on May 30.
The new Polyethylene Energy Dissipating System (PEDS-2) Barrier will be installed on the inside of Turn 4 at the Speedway, the same location as the original PEDS Barrier.
Improvements to the system include:
.A new, 12-inch-diameter secondary polyethylene cylinder placed inside each of the existing 16-inch cylinders in the barrier modules. The secondary cylinder will greatly improve energy dissipation and also enhance the structural integrity of the unit during impact.
.A new horizontal cable system, using two 7/16th-inch diameter steel cables, to improve the retention of the barrier modules to the existing concrete wall. The cables run through each of the high-density, polyethy lene modules and then through the existing concrete wall, secured behind the wall with turnbuckles.
.An enhanced fastening and assembly system to strengthen the barrier in case of impact.
"The new cylinders will provide more progressive energy dissipation during impact," said designer John Pierce, retired engineer from GM Motorsports who serves as a safety consultant to the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. "The wall now will better accommodate the safety needs of all the vehicles that compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, from light Pep Boys Indy Racing League cars to the heavier NASCAR Winston Cup and IROC stock cars."
Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk struck the PEDS Barrier during an accident in the inaugural IROC at Indy stock-car race last August. Luyendyk suffered a concussion in the heavy crash and credited the PEDS Barrier with preventing more severe injuries.
"We acknowledge that last year was our first experience with the materials and assembly of this unit," Pierce said. "This is an evolution of the system, which we think will provide an even greater measure of safety for drivers."
Engineers at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, worldwide leaders in highway barrier design, assisted the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Safety Committee with the redesign of the system.
Each module contains overlapping polyethylene impact plates fastened to 16-inch-diameter cylinders, with the new 12-inch cylinders inside each of the larger cylinders. The upper portion of the impact plate is folded over the top of the cylinders. Every module is anchored to the concrete wall with the original vertical steel cables and the new horizontal cables.