Texas Motor Speedway gets makeover
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway in 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth is getting a makeover in time for the April 7-9 NASCAR weekend that will culminate in the running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Work is scheduled to begin Jan. 9.
The project, expected to be completed in mid-March, includes a complete repaving, a French drainage system on both the frontstretch and backstretch and a four-degree reduction of banking in turns one and two from 24 degrees to 20. The width of the track in the turns one and two end also will expand by 20 ft. from 60 to 80.
“The fans are why we are doing this,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “The old pavement no longer dried as quickly, because through the years of use and weather, the asphalt became porous, kind of like a sponge. Even if we only had a brief shower, it was taking us far too long to get the track dried in order to get on to the racing. We owe it to the fans to present the best possible race track so they will be assured of seeing NASCAR and IndyCar races, even if we face some brief inclement weather. This will accomplish that goal.”
The asphalt used for the repave will be similar to that used at Speedway Motorsports Inc. sister tracks Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Meanwhile, the installation of the French drainage system will include the digging of trenches in several locations of the frontstretch and backstretch to provide multiple places for water to drain away from the racing surface.
“Due to the issues we had in 2016 with moisture and track drying, we had to take steps to correct the problems to give the fans the experience they deserve,” SMI Vice President of Operations and Development Steve Swift said. “With that task at hand, we looked at what would be the best way to create more exciting racing and to correct the water issues. We are excited to put these practices in place and create another great SMI race.”
TMS will host all three national divisions of NASCAR (Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck) twice each in 2017 and the Verizon IndyCar Series once over the course of three race weekends, all after the scheduled completion of the renovation project. The Cup and Xfinity Series will race during the April race weekend. The Camping World Truck Series and IndyCar will race during the June 8-10 weekend at the track. NASCAR will close out TMS’ race schedule with a tripleheader weekend featuring all three national divisions Nov. 2-5.