As anyone who has seen a Nascar race in the last 5 or so years knows, a Safer Barrier is a wall that has some give to it so when a car hits it, it absorbs some of the impact. It has drastically reduced the number of injuries in racing.
Our carpet track has a 3/4 plywood wall at the end of the straight that takes a beating. It is so chewed up that if you get into it, it has a tendency to rip parts off your car. It actually has a hole it it at one point.
We were talking about replacing the plywood when I came up with this idea. I installed it a couple of weeks ago and it looks to be working better than I had hoped. It is much more durable than wood and it is very kind to cars that aren't so kind to it. Here's how you can make one.
You will need a sheet of 3/4 inch MDF (Medium Density Fiber board). A sheet of plastic laminate like Formica or Wilsonart. Get the cheap stuff. A can of contact cement and a throw away 3 inch natural bristle brush. Some 3/4" by 6" metal straps. Some 3/4" screws. A can of Great Stuff window and door insulation (the stuff that expands less). Some foam carpet padding. A roll or two of double sided carpet tape. Some 2 inch flat head screws so you can counter sink them. Adjust quantities for the length of wall you are making
Here's how you make it.
1. Put a generous coat of contact cement on the MDF and the back of the plastic laminate. Let it dry for about a half hour or until it is no linger glossy.
2. Place some dowels or whatever on the MDF to hold the laminate up off the MDF while you position the laminate it over the MDF.
3. Place the laminate on the spacers and align it the best you can with one edge of the MDF. Starting at one end, remove one spacer/dowel at a time and press the laminate into the MDF. You don't get a second chance at positioning this stuff. Once the two pieces touch, they are stuck, so make sure you have it where you want it. After you have all the spacers removed, put it on the floor and walk on it a bit to press the two pieces together and make the glue bond well. Congratulations! You just made a kitchen counter top.
4. Rip your counter top into 4 inch wide strips. Cut the ends to make them square. I used a table saw and miter saw but you could use just about anything.
5. Cut your carpet padding into 3 inch strips.
6. Take all this stuff to the track
7. Lay out your 4 inch strips face down along the wall you will be adding this too and cut one of them to length to match the length of the wall you are applying this to.
8. Using one of the strips as a straight edge, butt two strips together and fasten them together with two of your metal straps and 3/4 inch screws. Place the straps about 3/4 inch in from the edge. Continue until you have assembled the wall.
9. Apply carpet tape to the back of the MDF between the straps.
10. Apply carpet padding to the tape. Don't put the padding past the ends of metal straps.
11. With a few buddies, roll the wall up on edge and place it along the wall.
12. Drill one hole through the center of the wall about 1 inch from each butt joint and one about 3 inches from each end. Counter sink these holes well so the screw is recessed about 1/4 inch. Use the 2 inch screws to fasten the new wall to the old wall. Do not compress the carpet padding. Just tight enough to hold the new wall lightly against the old wall.
13. Use your can of Great Stuff window and door insulation to fill the area between the walls where there is no carpet padding. It will expand a little so don't get too crazy. The screws you just put in will keep the expanding foam from pushing the walls apart.
That's it. Now all you have to do is install a low turn motor in your car and squeeze the trigger.