It’s always an uncertain time for NASCAR fans and drivers as to what the outcome will be when racetracks have to undergo repaves. Most recently, Texas Motor Speedway has had a major renovation that was much needed, but was also met with trepidation. As we have seen from the recent news that Atlanta would not be undergoing a repave following an outcry from drivers and fans alike – the topic of a repave is often somewhat contentious. We explore how this might affect the upcoming weekend of racing by the Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
Texas Motor Speedway opened in 1997, and has only undergone two full repaves. The first of which was back in 2001. The main reason for the recent decision was due to an inability to dry the track because of the circuit’s age. This significantly affected last year’s racing which was rained off, and even caused a 76-day delay on the INDYCAR race.
The track has been widened by 20 feet in turns 1 and 2, whilst turns 3 and 4 have retained their 24-degree banking – meaning that the track will be somewhat unbalanced.
“Marcus Smith, president of Speedway Motorsports Incorporated which is our parent company, suggested why don’t we re-profile Turns 1 and 2. Let’s make it a little flatter – that’s something we’ve always wanted to do is reduce the banking here if we could to make the cars slow down a little bit. He said let’s re-profile it and as it turned out we were able to lower the banking from 24 to 20 degrees in Turns 1 and 2 and widen the track in the process.”
Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage.
On one hand, drivers have shown enthusiasm for the repave by commenting:
“So far, it looks good, it’s smooth and Turns 3 and 4 still have some of the characteristic bumps through it we always enjoy having.”
Whereas other drivers aren’t on board with the changes just yet.
“To me those are the absolute worst race tracks we can ever go to. I hate repaves, but it’s a part of our schedule. It’s a part of our sport. Five years from now, six years from now, it’s going to be great.”
Finally, some are unsure.
“It’s going to be a race track that will be different from any mile‑and‑a‑half that we run at. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”
There’s a lot of apprehension as to how the track might perform because it has never been touched by a race car. The practice sessions will only be 2 hours and 25 minutes long. Commenting on this was driver Jamie McMurray, who made some good points.
“I thought it was interesting that they added only an extra hour at a repave. I’m shocked that we don’t get a whole day of testing for getting the car set up. That’s not even as important as getting some rubber on the track and a lot of cars out there.”
Whilst no race cars have been on the track, Gossage did release a video about a contraption called the “Texas Tire Monster” in order to “rubber-up” the track. He certainly seems particularly proud of this invention and the impact it might have. His care for the track is undisputable as he simply wants what everyone else wants: The best racing possible. However, that doesn’t solve the issue of drivers only having a little bit of extra time to make relevant adjustments to their cars to get them running optimally on this refurbished surface.
— Texas Motor Speedway (@TXMotorSpeedway) March 21, 2017
Many questions are being asked, suppositions are being made and opinions are definitely differing, so we don’t know how the racing will turn out on this 1.5 mile track. What we do know here at CLICKON, is that this weekend at a newly repaved Texas Motor Speedway will certainly be a very interesting one, where answers will be seen and given. With drivers and fans all having different opinions on how it might end up, it’s simply just a matter of “let’s wait and see.” Because ultimately, no-one can accurately predict what the weekend will bring. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed and stay tuned.