By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
The last few years have been rough for race fans who have traveled to Texas Motor Speedway as rain has halted on track activity numerous times.
Over the last several years the pavement at the 1.5-mile speedway has become weather beaten and it had began eroding. The track also began trapping rain water below the surface which made drying the track during a rain delay nearly impossible.
It was announced during a teleconference on Friday by track president Eddie Gossage that starting this Monday, the track will undergo a full repave.
According to Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Vice President of Operations and Development Steve Swift, the horrific rain conditions that caused rain delays of more than five hours forced the speedway’s hand to do something.
“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,” said Swift.
Lane Construction will perform the repaving process and they will use a mix similar to that used at Kentucky, which mimicks an older track surface.
In addition to the repave, the track will also be reconfigured slightly as the banking in turns one and two will be decreased to 20 degrees while turns three and four will stay at the current 24 degree banking.
Gossage said the banking changes are designed to make the track tougher for teams to dial in their setups for the racing action and to make the race more entertaining for the fans.
“No race is as good as it could be. Ever,” said Gossage. “You always try to make it better.”
Turns one and two will also be widened out by 20 feet as a part of the repave.
The track will also be equipped with French drains on the front and back stretches, which should help with track drying going forward.
According to Gossage the track hopes to have the changes done by March 1st. With NASCAR coming to town in April it will be hard for Goodyear to dial in a tire that works for the new track configuration.
Gossage said he hopes a tire test is done before the race weekend.
“I expect a tire test,” Gossage said. “Whether NASCAR expands the weekend, I can’t attest to that, but it would be smart.”
Whether there is a tire test or not, there will be a drastically different Texas Motor Speedway when teams enter the facility in April for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.