Texas Motor Speedway

TMS should be done repaving track by end of next week

TMS’ capital project should be completed by the end of next week.
TMS’ capital project should be completed by the end of next week. rmallison@star-telegram.com

The biggest question facing Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage these days is where to paint lines on his track’s new racing surface.

He had a 30-minute conversation with Jeff Gordon about it and didn’t come to a conclusion. He got more opinions this week at Daytona International Speedway.

TMS reduced its banking from 24 to 20 degrees in Turns 1 and 2 and expanded the racing surface from 60 to 80 feet. So should the lines be painted on the seam where the banking meets the flat surface, or below the seam on the flat surface?

“There’s no handbook that you turn to page 17 on how to paint lines,” Gossage said. “I talked with Jeff about why you’d do it this way or that way. People would think we’re nuts spending 30 minutes talking about this, but it’s important. You want to be right.

“The only thing NASCAR says is that you must have three lanes on pit road. Otherwise, there’s nobody to tell you to do it this way or that way.”

Gossage still has a few weeks to ponder that, but he couldn’t be more pleased with how the track’s capital project of repaving and re-profiling the track has gone.

The project, which came with about a $5 million price tag, began last month and should be completed by the end of next week. It became a necessary evil given that long rain delays wrecked every race weekend a year ago.

Drivers typically aren’t fans of new asphalt, but TMS will now attempt to “age” it as much as possible before the April race. They’ll use what they call the “Texas Tire Monster” and a similar device – the “Tire Dragon” from its sister track, Kentucky Speedway – to work rubber into the surface.

Additionally, they’ll use hydrated lime to try and make the track slicker and take less grip away.

“Nobody is crazy about new asphalt, we know that, but you have to repave every so often,” Gossage said.

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison