By admin | February 16, 2010
By Richard Allen
Once people took a few minutes to think about something other than Danica Patrick after the Daytona 500 they probably thought of the now infamous hole that appeared in turn 2 of the track just after the halfway point of ‘The Great American Race’.
The hole caused two separate delays in the race which then caused such racing experts as Jim Rome, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon to chime in with their highly thought of opinions on the matter. Which, by the way, their opinions are highly thought of by themselves and few others if you were not able to detect the sarcasm. When those three sage sources of wisdom actually show up for a NASCAR race sometime their opinion might be worth something, but until then they need to just go back to kissing up to the NFL.
Now, back to the situation at hand. Although the opinion of some is that the Daytona International Speedway should step up its plan to repave the whole track by one year, I say they should stay with the plan as it is. I am not alone in that opinion. Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart have also weighed in with that same suggestion.
On her twitter page ARCA Series driver Leilani Munter said, “Please, oh please, don’t repave Daytona and make it smooth as glass like Talladega. The bumps are what make Daytona fun!”
Whenever a track is repaved it causes the entire surface to be smooth as glass and have excessive grip. With that being the case there is no reason for drivers to do anything other than take the shortest way around. In other words, if Daytona were to be repaved the next several races held there would turn into a single-file parade of cars glued right on the yellow line all the way around.
As the Daytona track is now, the lesser grip caused by the aging asphalt forces drivers to search for the best place to find speed. For some that is on the bottom and for others that is at the top. A multi-groove track with less grip provides the best racing.
It is my hope that the officials at the Daytona International Speedway will repair the bad spot but leave the rest of the facility alone for as long as possible.
To further back my point, look at two examples. First, the Bristol Motor Speedway was once regarded as the favorite of many NASCAR fans. Then, the officials who run the track decided to not only resurface but reconfigure the track ‘to make it better’. Instead, it has been made into a bland, half-mile parade ground.
Hopefully when the day does come for Daytona to be resurfaced the words ‘progressive banking’ will not be uttered.
The Talladega Super Speedway, the track that most resembles Daytona, was repaved in 2006. The following races were made into the very follow the leader type affair previously described.
“When Talladega repaved it just made it a place that all you had to do is just put your foot down and go flat out,” said driver A.J. Allmendinger. “I’d hate to have the same thing happen here. You have to really battle this place and I’ve enjoyed doing that this week.”
Daytona officials, if you are concerned about the opinions of Rome, Kornheiser and Wilbon and do not care much about the level of competition then go ahead and repave the ‘hole’ track. However, if you are concerned about the opinions of people like Edwards, Stewart and Munter and you care about providing exciting racing for fans then repair the bad spot and leave the track as it is otherwise.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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