Daytona Workers just doing 'finishing touches'
There was that final push to finish paving Daytona International Speedway in the days leading up to Goodyear's tire test last month. Now, it's more or less mop-up duty for a handful of contractors prepping the 2.5-mile tri-oval for a blitz of January testing.
"You work at a frantic pace for months, hit the finish line and that's it," project manager Bill Braniff said by telephone Wednesday. "You demobilize and get out of there.
"All of a sudden you catch yourself thinking, 'Whoa, wait, what happened?' There's a flurry of activity right up to the end."
Braniff said there is still construction-related activity at the Speedway, which will host a three-day Grand-Am Road Racing test beginning Friday.
Braniff is chief engineer at the North American Testing Company, which is the design/construction arm of the Speedway's parent company, International Speedway Corp. He oversaw the $20 million project from its start July 5 to its official end date of Dec. 31.
"There are still some things going on," Braniff said. "There is striping of the pavement. NASCAR came out and inspected the scoring loops.
"Now that we have the lights back up, they are checking the aim on the lights and making adjustments if needed. We're crushing some old asphalt and storing it."
Braniff called these loose ends the "finishing touches" of the six-month project, sparked by a pothole during last year's Daytona 500.
Lane Construction finished paving just a few days before Goodyear's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tire test in mid-December.
The Cup drivers had no negative feedback about the repaving job.
"That was music to our ears," Braniff said. "We felt like we had a winner and our team did a very good job. When you get the confirmation from drivers, it's icing on the cake."
Braniff has started his next assignment. Phoenix International Raceway will be repaved between its February and November Sprint Cup dates.
"We're getting things teed up on that project," Braniff said. "I'm looking forward to the Cup teams testing at Daytona later this month. I'll be back for that." Daytona Beach News Journal