Dover extends pits and wall A long winter’s work has finally reached completion as construction crews at Dover International Speedway recently bolted the SAFER barrier into place to complete the renovation of the new pit wall.
With the steel tubing secured and the foam blocks installed, the new, longer and safer pit wall is ready for action when NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on May 29-31, 2009. The new improvements are expected to impact the competition on the track and pit road, and add another exciting element that will keep drivers guessing and fans cheering.
The SAFER barrier (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) is supported by a new 1,592 ft. concrete wall that wraps from Turn 4 down the frontstretch to near Turn 1. The new pit wall is 432 ft. longer than the previous steel boilerplate wall. The SAFER barrier consists of rectangular steel tubing backed by foam blocks, and reduces the force of the initial impact of a crash. SAFER barriers are currently in place in all four turns at the track and on the inside retaining walls of the one-mile, concrete oval.
Since the project began in December 2008, much has changed to the original landscape of pit road. Crews first removed the existing 1,160 ft. steel boilerplate wall, working backwards from Turn 1 to Turn 4. After digging a trench the length of pit road, drainage was installed, and concrete was poured to create a foundation for the new concrete wall to stabilize the additional 40 in. of concrete that stands vertically above the ground.
Also by eliminating the grass strip on the frontstretch, crews were able to place the new wall closer to the apron of the track which created four additional feet of room to the width of the passing lane on pit road.
With the additional length of the pit wall, track officials were able to reconfigure the 43 pit stalls and make them longer in size allowing more room for cars to enter and exit their stalls. They are now 32 ft. long, compared to 28 ft. The new space also reduces the likelihood of cars getting boxed in by cars while pitting, which should improve the race off pit road and on-track competition. Seven stalls now sit directly in front of grandstand sections 116-126 in Turn 4, and feature a concrete inside retaining wall from behind which crews will work.
“While this phase of our Monster Makeover focused on the areas used by the competitors, race fans will reap the benefits of the newly configured pit road,” said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “Turn 4 has always been an action-packed area to sit, and now spectators in this area will also get a great view of teams working on pit road. Getting a seat in these sections will be a hot item this year. Some seats remain near the new entrance to pit road, but we expect them to go quickly.”
By eliminating some of the grass in the infield of Turn 4, new apron space was created between Turns 3 and 4 to allow more room for the cars to slow down as they approach the entrance to pit road. This also created a new entrance for track emergency service vehicles to enter the Speedway from the infield near the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage.
Dover International Speedway is in the midst of its multi-year, multi-million dollar capital improvement project dubbed the “Monster Makeover.” The first phase of construction was completed in 2007 and included, among other things, a new skybox complex, an expansion of the Infield Media Center and continued beautification of the entire property. In 2008, Dover completed construction of the 46-foot tall Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, presented by AAA, an expansion of the FanZone display area, and the addition of a new emergency services building.
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