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DATE News (chronologically)
01/25/07
track news
Texas Motor Speedway fixing ’the bump’ UPDATE Texas Motor Speedway will conclude a special track renovation process today that is expected to help alleviate a dip that has formed between Turns 1 and 2 on the 1.5-mile superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced today.

The delicate process, known as “Concrete Lifting By Structure Urethane,” will in essence “pump” up the surface below the track and ultimately raise targeted areas in the affected 200-foot stretch over the South Tunnel that is situated in the middle of the two turns. The depth of the dip varies throughout, but it is at a maximum of two inches at any given point.

The track work is being addressed in response to the comments made by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the Dickies 500 race weekend in November and the previous week at the race in Atlanta. Earnhardt Jr. said that the dip was an issue for drivers and the speedway further investigated his claim. Speedway officials, known for being pro-active to drivers’ suggestions over the years, spent the time since his comments consulting with a variety of surveyors and going as far as having structural x-rays taken of the area.

“While Junior’s comments at the time surprised me since he never mentioned it before, it was a concern and we thought it would only be appropriate to investigate the issue further and determine if it warranted any action,” Gossage said. “We spoke with several drivers, team owners and NASCAR officials in carrying out our due diligence. After further consultation, we decided it would be beneficial to alleviate the dip as much as possible through this process. We’ve been pro-active since Day 1 to the suggestions of the drivers and fans of this facility and we will continue to do so in the future.”

Earnhardt Jr. spoke in positive tones in November about Texas Motor Speedway being a fun track to race at, but also discussed the need to address the dip to enhance the racing.

“Texas is a fun race track,” Earnhardt Jr. said in November. “We’ve had a lot of success here and it is a fun track so I’m glad it is in it [the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup]. It [the track surface] is starting to age a little bit and it is starting to move the grooves up a little bit so you can race side by side through the corners a bit. It’s really starting to come into its own. The asphalt or the dirt underneath the asphalt has settled over the tunnel, which it does at every race track they build, but it seems to be a little more pronounced here. And that will hold this place back for a few years to come until they repair that. As far as being able to run two and three wide through that corner, it will hold it back a little bit.”

The process is being undertaken by Uretek ICR of Arlington, Texas, which is in the midst of the second day of the expected two-day procedure. The method employs high-density special polymers to lift, realign, underseal and fill voids under the concrete slabs, which are resting directly on base soils. As the resin mixture expands, voids are filled and a controlled mold pressure is exerted on a limited area of the slab. Uretek uses multiple-pattern drilled injection locations to re-support and accurately realign the slab. The composite material quickly cures into a strong, stable and long-lasting replacement base material.

This process involves drilling roughly 15 to 20 half-inch holes in the area, inserting a 3/8-inch copper tube through the asphalt and into the soil below in each hole, and then injecting a special structure urethane through the tubing. The urethane is expected to raise the different surfaces that exist between the track and the soil – an 8-inch thick drainage mat, a 12-inch thick concrete slab and four inches of asphalt – and help alleviate the dip.  TMS PR



01/24/07 Dale Earnhardt Jr. spoke and Texas Motor Speedway listened. TMS will announce Thursday that it is repairing the dip in the track that Earnhardt complained about before and during the Dickies 500 last November. TMS sent out a release Wednesday saying it would announce a track reconstruction, which sources say is the dip between the first two turns. Earnhardt said the dip over the South Tunnel between Turns 1 and 2 kept the drivers from racing side-by-side through the turns. TMS president Eddie Gossage was surprised at Earnhardt's remarks and wondered why Earnhardt didn't mention the problem after the TMS race last April. Gossage said the dip was a normal settling of the ground above the tunnel and didn't have any affect on the racing. But Gossage will make Earnhardt happy by hiring crews to repair the dip this week. The process is expected to take a couple of days. ESPN.com
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