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DATE News (chronologically)
04/26/10
irl
DIS to pursue IndyCar race
Why is Daytona International Speedway paving the 2.5-mile tri-oval?

After a 32-year run, the racing surface needs a facelift. The Speedway can't afford another pothole incident like the one that happened in the Daytona 500, NASCAR's premier event. Not only was it frustrating for fans but it was embarrassing to the parent company, International Speedway Corp.

Engineers work on the initial paving of Daytona International Speedway in 1958 Daytona International Speedway is repaved for the first and only time in 1978. The track will be repaved again in 2010. Layers in the 2010 repaving of the Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway Daytona International Speedway Daytona International Speedway

When does the work start?

The massive construction project will begin on July 4, the day after the Coke Zero 400. Speedway president Robin Braig said the current track surface has been analyzed, studied and fortified so the pothole problem won't occur during Summer Speed Week.

"There's only one window for us weather-wise and schedule-wise, and that's the July-to-January window," Braig said. "We are really confident the present track surface has many more races in it and fans should not be concerned about the 400."

How long will the construction crew have to complete the work?

The contractors must be finished and off the property by Jan. 1, 2011. Goodyear hopes to test stock cars at Daytona before the Jan. 1 date so that it can design and build enough tires (6,000) for Speed Weeks races.

Will this cost much money?

This project costs so much money that the ISC board of directors had to sign off on the expenditures from its capital improvement budget. The Speedway won't give a price tag, but it's a multi-million dollar project.

Any side effects from this construction?

Other than December's go-kart events in the infield and dirt track, Daytona's busy fall and winter schedule has been canceled. No track, no racing.

When was the last time the Speedway surface was paved?

In the winter of 1978, before 1979 Speed Weeks. But this will be much different. In 1978 they paved over the original asphalt. This time the old asphalt will be pulled out down to the limestone bed.

So, no bumps in Turn 4?

The bumps, ripples and dips will all be gone with the repave.

Upside? Downside?

The upside is obvious: a smooth track, which by the way, opens the door to Daytona talking race dates with the Indy Racing League.

"We haven't talked to the folks in Indianapolis about this, but our phone lines are open," Braig said. "We would listen to any call they would make."

The downside is not so obvious: a smooth track. Goodyear Tire and other tire manufacturers must scramble to design and build new tires for the new surface. Goodyear has an extremely tight window about 30 days -- to test and build a new tire for 2011 Speed Weeks.

Goodyear racing boss Stu Grant said, "We can do some research ahead of testing, but ultimately you have to have a race car on the racetrack to really determine if you have a good tire for that race. We have to get on that track before Jan. 1."

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