News & Media

Michigan announces complete repaving project

June 17, 2011, Mark Aumann,

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- For the fourth time in its history, Michigan International Speedway will undergo a complete repaving, track officials announced Friday.

Track president Roger Curtis said work will begin on the $7 million project with a repaving of pit road immediately following Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, with the bulk of the operation taking place after NASCAR returns in August. Barring any weather issues, Curtis and ISC senior director of construction Bill Braniff said the new asphalt surface should be sufficiently cured in time for the 2012 season.

The plan is to mill off approximately two inches of the current pavement to eliminate any dips and bumps. Following that, a Michigan-based paving company -- the same one involved in the repaving of Phoenix International Raceway -- will put down two new asphalt layers, one a leveling course and the other a wearing course.

"We'll have a much smoother track than we have right now," Braniff said. "We'll give the track a facelift and create a new competitive surface for the drivers which is smoother than the current surface but maintains all the same rate of rotation through the transitions, banking, bank angle changes, those kind of things."

The track had been repaved previously in 1977, 1986 and 1995, but one unexpected result of a recent laser survey of the current surface found that the track's banking was actually variable from bottom to top.

"The very bottom lane, which is the first one up from the white line, is anywhere from a 1 degree to 3 degree angle break from the next one up," Braniff said. "Those are the kind of details we want to replicate."

According to Curtis, drivers have told him they use that inconsistency as a way to improve handling in case their car is tight or loose. That, among other things, is one reason why Curtis said no major redesign of the track was necessary.

"We're very happy with the track as it is," Curtis said.