NASCAR kicked-off their season this past Sunday with the 52nd running of the Daytona 500. The premier event of the season featued 500 miles of 200 m.p.h. side-by-side racing and an exciting finish.....that was interrupted by two red-flag delays totaling over two hours to fix a pothole. Yes, The Great American Race was halted, twice, to fix what we civilians face every day in traffic. Here's a shot of the first attempt to fix the pothole.
See the guy with the blowtorch? He's heating the material used to fill in the hole. It needs to be hot to work. The cold temperatures apparently didn't allow the material to set up and cure properly so 36 laps later we had this
For the second fix, NASCAR called for each of the 43 teams to come to their trailer. There, they asked for the teams to bring over their Bondo body filler. That was then put into the hole and the race continued with cars bottoming out when they went over that spot.
So how does this happen? Well, the track was last paved in 1978, so the asphalt isn't exactly new. There has been a lot of rain in the Daytona area so far this year and combined with the cold temperatures can cause problems with asphalt.
NASCAR takes great care of their tracks but, as someone once said, "stuff happens".
Was the hole there before the race? Money quote:
The morning before every Cup race, each speedway (Daytona included, as officials confirmed) has a team of people who walk every inch of the track. Some will line up across Turn 1, some in Turn 2, some on half the backstretch, etc., looking for any signs of a problem on the pavement.Unless the hole already had started, there's no way track engineers could foresee it coming, even if they walked right over it, which someone probably did.
What is NASCAR doing about it? Another money quote:
Daytona International Speedway today has begun installing reinforced concrete in Turn 2, according to DIS President Robin Braig.“This is the correct course of action to repair the track,” Braig said. “Our team of engineers and asphalt specialists with North American Testing Corporation has previous experience with concrete being used on an asphalt track and it is a proven solution.”
The next NASCAR race will be in early July. We'll keep an eye on the track.
Until next time.