TALLADEGA, Ala. – Talladega Superspeedway officials announced today that the legendary Alabama racetrack is set to be repaved for the first time since 1979, and the project is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2006 UAW-Ford 500, race four in next year’s Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. The project will include complete asphalt repaving of the 2.66-mile tri-oval track, apron and pit road.
A portable asphalt plant will be mobilized to the site in December of this year, and on-site work will begin in February, when trial batches of the asphalt pavement will be produced and asphalt test strips will be constructed on superspeedway property. Engineers are expected to begin formulation of asphalt mix designs and designing the required equipment modifications in December. The repaving project will begin immediately following the April 28-30, 2006 Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega.
“Twenty-six years has certainly been a long time to go without necessitating a project this extensive, so there is no question that the time has come for us to repave. It will ensure that Talladega Superspeedway continues to uphold its reputation for the most exciting, most competitive racing throughout the entire NASCAR circuit for years to come,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Grant Lynch. “If our track history is any indication, it will increase the level of competitiveness. The first race held here after our last repaving project was one of the most exciting on the record books.”
This will be the fourth paving project for Talladega Superspeedway, with the first being the actual construction of the track for its opening in September 1969, which was followed by a repaving project completed in time for the 1970 season. The third and most recent paving was completed at the conclusion of the 1979 racing season. When drivers tested and practiced on the new surface prior to the May 4, 1980 race, they gave it rave reviews - - pointing out how the new, smooth surface greatly enhanced drafting and overall handling ability. The result was one of the most exciting races and dramatic finishes yet at the still-young superspeedway. A dozen drivers swapped the lead 40 times, and Buddy Baker took his fourth Talladega Superspeedway victory in that event, winning by just three feet after crossing the line side-by-side with Dale Earnhardt.
In the quarter of a century of racing that has since passed, the track has firmly established itself as the most competitive track on the circuit, holding both the record for most lead changes in a race (75, May 6,1984) and the record for most leaders in a race (26, most recently April 22, 2001).
Several top NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers said the project comes as no surprise considering the age of the existing surface, and that the new surface will likely make the racing even more exciting at the legendary superspeedway.
Tony Stewart, two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion (2002, 2005):
“Everyone should be able to hold it wide-open all the way around the whole day. The fastest car will rise to the top.”
“Repaving is something you’ve got to do every now and then. It’s part of what racing is all about. And in Talladega’s case, to go that many years without having to repave a race track is pretty impressive. It shows how good a job Talladega Superspeedway has done of maintaining their facility and their race track. I’m pretty impressed with what they’ve been able to do. Hopefully this new surface will last them another 30 or 40 years.”
Dale Jarrett, 1999 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion and two-time Talladega Superspeedway winner:
“Talladega’s surface is one that the weather and other things have taken a toll on over the years. Putting a new surface down should make the racing even more exciting.”
“We won’t be dealing with a single-groove track that some other resurfacing projects have presented at other tracks because it is a different type of racing. If anything, where the present surface limits us on what we can run as far as springs we run because of the bumps and dips, this should allow us more options and to really get the cars down which will make for some good side-by-side racing, or I should say side-by-side-by-side racing.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., five-time Talladega Superspeedway winner:
“The track hasn’t been paved since 1979, which was when my dad won Rookie of the Year. So, the new asphalt will definitely make for much smoother and more competitive racing. The current surface has provided a lot of great races at Talladega over the years, and I’m looking forward to many more exciting races and wins there.”
Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
and four-time Talladega Superspeedway winner:
“Racing at Talladega Superspeedway is spectacular. Repaving it is only going to make it better.”
From : Kristi R. King