Phoenix repave to add a little more banking The dogleg - Phoenix International Raceway's signature backstretch bend - soon will have a stronger bite. The tighter and more-challenging turn will be the most-visible change in a $10 million repaving and reconfiguration of PIR. Other modifications - all designed to facilitate more entertaining side-by-side racing - will include a wider front straightaway and a slight variable banking in the corners. Track length will remain 1 mile. The six-month project, expected to be officially announced today, will start soon after the Feb. 27 NASCAR Subway Fresh Fit 500. It will be the Avondale oval's first major repaving since 1990 and the most-significant overhaul in the track's almost 50-year history. Speeds, according to computer models, will increase by 2-3 mph. Carl Edwards set the PIR Sprint Cup one-lap qualifying record of 136.389 mph last November. Computer modeling has been successfully used to redesign other speedways. Several hundred man-hours of modeling, plus consultation with drivers and NASCAR officials, resulted in:
- Width of the front straightaway will increase 10 feet, to 62 feet. Banking will stay at 3 degrees. - Pit road will be moved back. Individual pit boxes will be concrete. - Turns 1 and 2, now banked at 11 degrees, will have variable banking starting at 10 degrees on the bottom up to 11 degrees at the outside wall. Maximum width will be 80 feet, and the turning radius will be opened up from 370 to 400 feet. - Turns 3 and 4, currently banked nine degrees, will be 50 feet wide. Turn 3 will be banked 8 degrees and Turn 4 variable at 8-9.
Most noticeable, though, will be the dogleg. In recent years, drivers have been able to shortcut the corner, usually running single-file. That section of the track will be pushed out 95 feet from the existing asphalt and be 55 feet wide. The new configuration will have 10- to 11-degree banking at the apex. Significantly, the radius will decrease from 800 to 500 feet. That will affect competition, because drivers will be able to arc more into the corner entry but then must deal with a sharper left turn. Arizona Republic
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