I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to see the redesign at Texas Motor Speedway.
I’ve spent a lot of time watching videos and reading press releases from Track President Eddie Gossage to get a good feel for what they expect to see. The main changes are the new drainage system underneath the track surface, a wider and less banked turn 1 and 2, and a pretty interesting strategy to help age the track.
Last years spring race at Texas Motor Speedway was an absolute disaster. It rained, it stopped raining, the track refused to dry. It took five hours to dry the racing surface, which was a terrible experience for the fans. But
I love how Marcus Smith, Eddie Gossage, and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated responded. They knew they had a major problem and they took immediate action. The most important change made during the Texas repave is what has changed underneath the surface. TMS dug a trench system shown in this video that consists of a band that runs around the outside of the track nearly 10 feet off the wall. They then installed diagonal trenches that run from the main trench to the bottom of the track and into the infield drainage system. The trench system will allow the track officials to dry the track efficiently as well as greatly reduce the likelihood of “weepers” that caused so many problems last year.
The most exciting change to Texas Motor Speedway is a reconfigured turns 1 and 2.
SMI and TMS elected to flatten out the turn by decreasing the banking from 24 to 20 degrees. They also increased the width of turns one and two from 60 to 80 feet wide. This excites me for multiple reasons.
Restarts! I picture the restarts looking a lot like Auto Club Speedway. I want to see cars going four, maybe five wide as they fight for positions getting onto the back stretch. The back stretch is nowhere near 80 feet wide so the drivers will have to tighten it up, or knock the wall down leaving turn two.
We’ve seen with tracks like Darlington, and Kentucky that two different turns make setting the car up a little more difficult. The cars are less likely to be perfect. The car being less perfect leads to more passing and closer racing. Add that to the speeds we see at Texas and I think we’re going to have a show. I’m excited to see the speeds at the end of the front stretch and how the drivers have to get their cars slowed down enough to navigate turn one.
The most interesting change Texas Motor Speedway made was the process they implemented to repave the track. Naturally all NASCAR fans and drivers hate repaves. It means boring racing. The cars have too much grip and very little off-throttle time. Repaves typically mean very little passing.
However! Texas Motor Speedway even accounted for the fresh asphalt. According to Eddie Gossage, the TMS crew have been “shampooing” the track. The track is being soaped up and then tractors are running over the surface with brushes to help wear the new off. The speedway is also dragging tires and using this pretty sweet “tire monster” tool, pictured, to help get rubber into the track. One of the first things you’ll notice when the practice broadcast begins at 12 p.m. ET is the color of the track. It won’t reflect the color of brand new pavement – the track already has a gray shade to it.
Texas Motor Speedway has lived up to the adage “Everything is Bigger in Texas” by leaving no stone unturned. It didn’t simply slap a new layer of pavement on the track in order to cut costs. It elected to go the extra mile and reinvent itself. I love the racing here. It’s personally one of my favorite tracks. I’m so fired up to see the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series guys hit the track and do their best to wrestle the 1.5 mile beast.
What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear it!