Friday, August 26, 2011

No sugarcoat for MIS repave

NASCAR drivers almost unanimously praise Michigan International Speedway for it racing surface, saying the 2-mile oval has multiple racing “grooves” on which cars can run without fear of spinout, a feature that leads to three- and four-wide racing, even in turns.
That’s why some drivers were less than thrilled to learn in June that the track will be repaved in time for the 2012 season.
New racing surfaces have changed the character of tracks such as Daytona and Bristol.
There was an undercurrent of concern among drivers in June, and when they returned in August, that new asphalt at MIS will be a detriment to what has been a favorite track.
Kevin Harvick, who drives the No. 29 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, made a disparaging reference to the repave in August.
So did Austin Dillon, who drives in the Camping World truck series.
In June, Sprint Cup drivers Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch were among drivers who expressed concern about the resurfacing, which began following the Aug. 21 Pure Michigan 400.
Last week, Jimmie Johnson didn’t say whether the repave would be good or bad, only that he expects MIS speeds to climb.
“You’re going to have to bring your big-boy shoes here when the thing is repaved,” the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet said. “We run a really intense lap now, even in race trim, a lot of throttle around this place.
“Depending on the tire they give us, you would assume we could come close to flat-footing it.”
Brad Keselowski, a native of Rochester Hills who considers MIS his “home” track, said he talked to Roger Curtis, president of the facility, about the project.
“I think it’s going to be cool,” Keselowski, who drives the No. 2 Dodge, said of the resurface. “There are a lot of drivers that discouraged the repave. (Curtis) assured us it has to be done in order to make sure we don’t have a (2010) Daytona situation (when the old surface developed a hole). We can’t have that. For our sport, it’s important we get it right when we get (back) here and have fans in the stands.
“I respect his commitment to doing that.”
Pit road at MIS was repaved between the June and August races.


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