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NASCAR Adjusts Watkins Glen Curbing for Driver Safety Following Mouthpiece Data

Watkins Glen International curbing changed NASCAR 2024 Mouthpiece data driver safety

Photo Credit: Connor Zilisch on X

NASCAR and Watkins Glen International have made changes to the curbing in the bus stop area of the race track in the interest of driver safety.

Last season, Kyle Larson and several other NASCAR Cup Series drivers volunteered to wear data-gathering mouthpieces, which showed sobering data in that particular area of the race course. Larson shared the data read-out from his mouthpiece on Thursday.

NASCAR confirmed to TobyChristie.com that the change to the curbing in the bus stop at Watkins Glen was necessitated by the mouthpiece data from Larson and others that utilized the device last season.

“Yes, the mouthpiece data from Larson (and all those who wore it) necessitated this move,” a representative said. “We saw that an abnormally large number of ‘incidents’ were triggered in this area. Credit to NASCAR safety team and the drivers who participated in this mouthpiece program. It was an initiative started to continue improving on safety, and this is one of the results.”

NASCAR says it has removed the elevated rumble strips that were in place previously, and replaced them with more flat red rumble strips. The area of the track was paved all the way up to the Armco barriers. The Armco around that corner was also extended, and on the concrete pad, the sanctioning body has placed interchangable rumble strips as well as one-inch rumbles right next to the Armco.

The pyramid-shaped elevated rumble strips in the photos on Thursday are one of the two options for the area next to the regular rumble strips. NASCAR also has the option of a flush/flat strip. The decision of which strip to add in that area will be decided following a June tire test at Watkins Glen International.

While the official decision has yet to be made, the representative says the likely choice will be the flush/flat strip, which was not in the photos shared on Thursday.

NASCAR says the mouthpiece data-gathering program is still in place, and the sanctioning body plans to have the voluntary use mouthpieces available at the Watkins Glen tire test in June for comparison data analysis from the mouthpiece data acquired last year at WGI.

At this time, NASCAR says there are no other tracks on the schedule that are expected to have any changes made due to mouthpiece data.

On Thursday, several people, including 17-year-old racer Connor Zilisch shared photos to X of the new curbing at Watkins Glen, and many had expressed frustration over the changes. But it turns out the move was made to aid safety for the drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series, which have experienced head-jarring issues while moving through the bus stop in the Next Gen car.

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2 Responses

  1. What about the other series that are run at Watkins Glen? I feel that those “pyramids” will be dangerous, possibly life threatening as well as costly to the other series of cars. Let alone that when they have the corrals your car could get damaged if there is an issue.
    Are these removable for the other races? I feel this maybe the end of IMSA at The Glen due to foolishness and other options not thought out.

    1. The pyramids are removable, and it is still being decided which version of strip NASCAR will use in that area. NASCAR tells me that they expect the flat/flush option to be what they go with rather than the “pyramids”.

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