Repaved Tracks Pave the Way to Fast Racing
Photo by Bill A / Flickr.Com
Kasey Kahne was one of three drivers to top the speed charts during Pocono's tire test sessions.
By Zachary Lange
In a world that features new arrays of evolving entertainment in all genres; one thing that usually stays the same is sports entertainment. You know what to expect from an average baseball, football, and soccer game. You expect athletes that passionately throw, catch, and kick different projectiles in order to bring a city, a coach, and a team glory and bragging rights until the next match.
The same thing happens in NASCAR, but not only do rules change, but so does the playing surface that they are on.
Granted, the aforementioned sports also change their playing surfaces, but to be honest, grass is grass, dirt is dirt. But 20 year old pavement, and brand new pavement under a car zooming down the straightaway 180mph, is a big change.
And for the 2012 season of NASCAR, officials decided
that after certain tracks were experiencing their attendance and viewership
deteriorate, something needed to be changed.
They came to the conclusion that select tracks
needed to be given a boost so that the Sunday race was the hottest topic around
the water cooler the next work day.
So with open minds and open checkbooks, presidents
of Pocono, Michigan, and Kansas all decided to, with NASCAR’s approval, repave
No one know really knows what the speeds are going
to be at Michigan and Kansas yet, however driver Greg Biffle, who has held the
Michigan trophy twice in victory lane, was genuinely concerned about the speeds
at the newly repaved Michigan.
"My favorite track has always been Michigan --
I love that racetrack," said Biffle. "I always have an extra amount
of fun there. But, it might not be my favorite track just yet. I think it could
be too fast," Replied Biffle about the speeds at the repaved Michigan in
an interview for Freep.com.
Anytime a driver is concerned about speed, the
concern shouldn’t be taken lightly.
After a Goodyear tire test at Pocono to test a new
tire formula for the repaved Pocono, a blown away Juan Pablo Montoya simply
stated, “This place is fast -- I mean fast, fast."
Two practice sessions have been run, and speeds are
significantly faster, touching 215mph entering turn one, which is roughly 10mph
faster than last year before the repave.
The qualifying record for this race is rumored to be blown out of the books by at least two seconds.
Two…seconds. That’s enough different to lap the pre-newly paved car at Pocono in about 22-25 laps. Pocono is a two mile track.
The difference is clearly large, so large NASCAR’s
Robin Pemberton contemplated using a restrictor plate to slow cars down, the
first time that has ever happened on a non-superspeedway.
With faster speeds, there will be more drafting then
we’ve ever seen at Pocono. And with drafting in close packs, and with cars only
being a separated with only a few inches and tenths of a second on track, we
should see more wrecks.
We should see more bump and run.
The saying “you get
what you pay for” is in effect for these upcoming repaved tracks. And after
millions of dollars being thrown into these repaving projects, the end result
should and hopefully will be an entertaining race that has hundreds of
thousands of fans across six continents viscously rooting for their favorite
And overall, we should see better races for tracks that have kind of been notorious to some for not having a modicum of entertainment.