The next time you see the NASCAR roll into the Lone Star State, (which will be in a few short weeks) the track you’ve come to know and love as No Limits Texas will look slightly different. The 2016 season at Texas Motor Speedway was plagued by rain. BOTH the Duck Commander weekend in April as well as the Firestone weekend for the Indy Cars saw lengthy delays, so much so that the Indy cars waited nearly two months to finish their race. Nascar ran on a Monday for the 3rd time since 1998, so when your Eddie Gossage how do you fix the problem? Not only do you repave, you redesign as well!!
The old surface, (in it’s original form) has become sponge like and porous making it nearly impossible to dry in a timely manner. Most drivers hated the idea because new surfaces generally take a couple of seasons to “break in” and be less grippy which most drivers like. However, Eddie Gossage simply ran out of options and had no choice.
A unique idea was also implemented as part of the project. A drainage system has been put into place allowing water to essentially run down the banking and into a trench where it will be fed away from the track allowing track drying to be done in a lot less time.
The most exciting part of the repave and rework is the fact that Texas will lose it’s “Cutter Cutter” moniker. A nickname given to a lot the 1.5 mile tracks on the Nascar circuit that look and feel a lot like other tracks in similar markets. That’s because Texas has reworked it’s banking in turns 1 and 2 lowering it from 24 to 20 degrees and making the corners 80 feet wide instead of 60. (that’s 5 wide for you non math readers!!)
The banking in turns 3 and 4 will remain unchanged though which means most crew chief notes will have to be altered in a few weeks as this is seemingly a new racetrack with a new layout which is different and unique to Texas Motor Speedway What it means for race fans is what the track hopes will be passing opportunities and an overall more exciting race.
What do Drivers think? 2015 Xfinity Champion Chris Buescher and Indy driver Ed Carpenter both had the opportunity to make some laps upon completion of the project, both had many positive things to say about the project.
The only question left is will the drainage work? If year’s past is any indication we will probably find out. It’s not designed to stop the rain from falling on the track BUT if it can decrease drying time by even an hour that will definitely help the drivers, the crews and especially the population of No Limits Texas!!!