MIS part of the ServiceMaster Clean crew at the Daytona 500
The focus of NASCAR is on Daytona International Speedway for the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. And Michigan International Speedway's maintenance team will take on a significant role as part of the spectacle as proud members of the ServiceMaster Clean crew.
The ServiceMaster Clean crew works with NASCAR and helps ensure the track stays clean, dry and ready for racing, driving and maintaining trucks and other track cleaning equipment.
Four MIS team members and three of its ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers are at the Great American Race to assist.
MIS Senior Director of Facilities Craig Hatch is getting first-hand experience at operating the new Air Titan™ track drying system NASCAR developed this year. While he hopes to not see action on Sunday, Hatch will be ready if necessary.
Hatch will focus his efforts on operating the system to dry the track on the backstretch.
In the group of three Air Titans on the backstretch, Hatch will be in the middle truck using a high-pressure air system to dry the track. He will be traveling 3-5 mph while watching the equipment behind him on a video monitor inside his vehicle. He will have three different angles to monitor the progress of the drying and to adjust to the circumstances.
"It's been fun and a thrill to be a part of Speedweeks and to help our sister track, Daytona International Speedway," Hatch said. "While we hope we aren't called into action, it's an important part of the weekend to be ready and we don't take assisting lightly."
The three Air Titans operated by Hatch will be attached to three Ring Power CAT generators by a hose blowing compressed to air to the equipment. He will work in conjunction with a driver in semi hauling the generators to get the racing surface prepared.
Specially built trucks will circle the bottom of the track and sweep up the excess water that is blown off by the Air Titan. ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers will continue to follow the entire system to complete the drying process. The entire system is to aid in preparing the track and returning to racing quicker.
Hatch will not be the only member of the MIS Maintenance staff working on the ServiceMaster Clean crew. Tim Lamb, Ryan Clark and Gary Cox will each be operating ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers to aid in the clean-up process.
Being a part of the ServiceMaster Clean crew is an important and historical significance for MIS. The jet dryer was invented at MIS, initially used as a mechanism to melt snow off the racetrack in wintertime in the 70s.
Over time, MIS track officials began using the jet dryer to dry the track after rain delays during racing events.
But all technology must evolve.
The new Air Titan track drying system debuted during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. This innovative technology, steeped in science and created by the NASCAR Research & Development Center, will reduce track drying time, improve the racing product and enhance the fan experience.
"In a short amount of time, our talented team at the NASCAR R&D Center imagined, designed and built the Air Titan, an innovative device that will dramatically improve the race-viewing experience for our fans," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said of the initiative's first phase. "With its far-reaching potential and impact, we believe the Air Titan is a big win for the motorsports industry, and eventually will enhance many surface cleaning and drying industries as well."
With the goal of reducing track-drying time by up to 80 percent, the NASCAR R&D team took an advanced scientific approach during the production of the Air Titan. Using compressed air, the Air Titan efficiently and reliably pushes water off of the racing surface and onto the apron where vacuum trucks will remove the remainder of the moisture. ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers will follow each Air Titan, drying any excess water that remains on the racing surface.
As part of the Air Titan's testing process, NASCAR enlisted the expertise of the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) in Auburn, Ala., International Speedway Corporation's track construction group, Racing Surface Technologies and QualPro Inc. Additionally, Elgin Sweeper Company, Sullair and Ring Power CAT also provided equipment during the testing, and will be part of the track-drying process at Daytona during Speedweeks.
ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers and vacuum trucks will continue to be used during track-drying efforts. Over time, the innovations of the Air Titan will lessen the carbon footprint of track drying, decreasing both emissions and noise pollution. The next evolution in the innovative technology will be to optimize the power source.
For photos of the Air Titan, visit NASCARMedia.com at http://bit.ly/nascarphotos. For animation visit the NASCARMedia.com video page here:http://bit.ly/video-2012.
The MIS crew will also be following the progress of Brad Keselowski. In 2012 he became the first Michigan-born driver to win the NASCAR Sprint Series Championship and will start 15th in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. The race starts at 1 p.m. on FOX.
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