NASCAR’s Air Titans lose fierce TMS battle with Mother Nature

04/06/2014 9:18 PM

04/07/2014 11:15 AM

In Sunday’s only contested match, a clash of wills between two equally stubborn participants, score one for Mother Nature and her April showers.

NASCAR’s new Air Titan 2.0 almost proved equal to the morning and early afternoon deluge and damp atmospheric conditions that persisted throughout the day.

The relative humidity, temperature and lack of wind and sunshine all worked against race officials, who got on the track after noon and worked until after 6 p.m. to eliminate water and evaporate moisture that invaded the track at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Nothing was in our favor today,” said Jerry Kaproth, NASCAR’s manager of track infrastructure. “We’ll dry the track this morning if we have any type of environmentally favorable conditions.”

Kaproth and his crew will return at 5:30 a.m. and put the state-of-the-art Air Titan 2.0 back to work. The NASCAR crew had five Air Titan 2.0s and 11 Air Titan 1.0s working to dry the course.

The Air Titan 2.0, which made its debut last week at Martinsville, is NASCAR’s next-generation weapon against wet track conditions.

The Air Titan 2.0 more than triples the blade capacity of the original version and delivers more than 2 1/2 times more air volume (3,000 cubic feet per minute) at a speed of 568 mph, while raising the air temperature by 70 degrees over the ambient air temperature.

The objective is to reduce track-drying time by 80 percent.

The newest Air Titan is environmentally friendly, too, hauled around by Toyota Tundras, which are much less bulky than those needed for the 1.0.

Officials estimated that the Air Titan 2.0 will consume nearly 80 percent less fuel and emit 80 percent less carbon dioxide.

Kaproth said the technology has many potential applications, such as on a city street to eliminate sediment, or at an airport.

Those same officials boast that it can dry a football field in slightly more than 20 seconds.

“The Air Titan 2.0 performed as we expected,” Kaproth said. “It enhanced what we were trying to accomplish.

“We were making progress. I can’t tell you if we were 45 minutes away or an hour away, but there was a change in color in the track surface.”

Ultimately, the crews and Air Titans were up against a tougher opponent.

“The difficulty was it continued to rain,” Kaproth said. “The added moisture presents added challenges. When you look at the pores of a track, it retains a lot of water.”

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