Owens Corning Foam Helps SAFER Barrier Protect Drivers

The energy-absorbing Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier has been protecting race car drivers since it was first installed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 2002. John Budinscak, Owens Corning FOAMULAR® product and program leader, appreciates the company’s role in the sport each time the SAFER Barrier is struck. The SAFER Barrier was created two decades ago by INDYCAR through the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MWRS), part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Engineers there examined and tested nearly 100 energy-absorbing materials before deciding Owens Corning® FOAMULAR® worked the best. The SAFER Barrier is constructed utilizing blocks fabricated from multiple Owens Corning boards. Because polystyrene, which is used in Owens Corning’s material, is subject to degradation from continued exposure to sunlight, company officials recommend tracks paint the blocks to protect them. “Fans don’t know what’s behind the barrier because they never see it, so they don’t know what the material is,” Budinscak said. The “F” comes from Owens Corning, even if most people don’t realize it.

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