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Daytona officials: Please don’t repave the ‘hole’ track

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.

Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Daytona officials: Please don’t repave the ‘hole’ track”

  1. mkrcr Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Jim Rome will never attend a NA$CAR race. There isn’t a track available that is large enough to hold his self important ego.
    He still comments on the fact that “Smoke” is the only driver that refuses his interview requests. At least there’s one driver with some sense.
    Hopefully, driver input will go along way to keeping Daytona as it is. Should be a no brainer for ISC. An easy excuse for them to keep millions of dollars in their pockets.

  2. SmokeFan Says:
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Although I understand what is being said here, I must disagree.
    If ISC is going to repave the track anyway, why not pull it ahead and just get it out of the way. We are going to have to deal with the new surface at some point anyways, why not do it now, so that we don’t run into an incident like we just had. I would just like to see it get fixed, rather than “patched” and risk running into that again.
    Just my opinion.
    Michigan NASCAR Fan.

  3. Justin Says:
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I agree with you SmokeFan, I dont understand the concept of, we are repaving it anyways, in a few years, so lets wait until then. The problems listed above from repaving are going to happen. Repaving it in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 will result in 3 years of bland racing, whether it is 2010-2013, or 2011-2014, etc, doesnt matter. Why wait, and risk a pot hole in next years 500 in turn 3, or a pothole in the July 400 in turn 1, etc……

    If they arent going to repave the track, I also question repaving one section of the track. Think Pocono. 43 drivers trying to get there cars into the one strip of new pavement. Then the question becomes, will drivers hit the new pavement, make it stick, then hit the old pavement, and wipe out the field…..????

  4. Richard Allen Says:
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    With all the colder than normal weather and the excessive rain(the track was completely flooded last year) there is no guarantee that what happened last Sunday wouldn’t have happened on new asphalt. Let me point your attention to the weepers at California a while back as evidence. That was on much newer asphalt.

    As for Pocono, the racing at Pocono has never been better than since they repaved the one section as opposed to the whole track. I remember writing a column last summer about that very thing.

    Part of the problem is not the age of the asphalt but the CoT. As was pointed out by another reader, the car is set up to run down on the bump stops which causes a bottoming out effect. New asphalt will come up just like old asphalt with a 3,400lbs plow digging into it lap after lap.

    Fix the CoT first, then the asphalt.

  5. Charles Says:
    February 17th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I understand that by repaving the track it could create more single file racing instead of the side by side, with the rough surface it makes it more of a handling track!

    But if they are going to repave it anyway! I think the solution should be to “increase the size of the restrictor plate again! M

  6. Justin Says:
    February 17th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I dont disagree with the racing at Pocono, it has been better since the repave. My point was simply, that there is only a strip wide enough for one car. If they repave the Daytona “pot hole area” with one strip of asphalt, like they did in PA, all of the drivers are going to try to make moves to position themselves to be able to be on the bottom in turns 1-2 (that was the complaint with getting rid of the yellow line rule, and the detractors think that means it will be 7 wide heading into 1 and 3, the same thing will happen to a lesser degree, because every driver will kill to be on the new asphalt). My broader point, was that if you repave the area where the pot hole is located, you are going to have to pave it from the apron to the wall, so that the inside lane doesnt gain a huge advantage.

    You said it yourself Rick, the repaving provides soooo much grip that the racing suffers. If there is one lane of new asphalt in turns 1 and 2 at Daytona, there is no incentive to race side by side through that section of the course……because the inside lane will prevail every single time

    Your point about fixing the CoT first, 100% agreed. Fix the CoT before considering a repave. But to not consider a repave, I dont believe that is smart either