Mach 1 Racing School takes laps around newly paved MIS oval

Repave project is complete!


Michigan International Speedway is paving the way for the exciting return of NASCAR to Michigan in 2012. The fourth repave project in the track’s 44-year history is complete.

The completion of the project means NASCAR drivers will have to work extra hard to win a race at Michigan, a driver favorite and fan since the track opened in 1968.

A laser survey of the racetrack before the repave project began last August collected more than 100 million data points across the surface, allowing engineers to replicate all points of the original pavement. But crews smoothed out all of the dips and bumps that occurred over time, making MIS as smooth as silk.

“Since the track is so much smoother, it has now created a level playing field for all competitors and all teams,” Roger Curtis, president of MIS, explained. “Some teams have a larger book of historical information about the track from past events. All this data can now be thrown out the window because the new, smooth surface will mean the less experienced teams have just as much knowledge of the new surface as the larger, more experienced super-teams.”

The data points also showed MIS has always had variable banking in its 18-degree turns. Variable banking allows cars to carry more speed through the turns, enabling drivers to run multiple lines around the racetrack.

Additionally, a smoother surface usually means more grip with the tires, and more grip means better handling of the cars so drivers feel good about passing and driving high lines.

The $7 million project was done by Ajax Paving Industries in Troy, Mich., who has extensive background in paving high-speed, high-banked ovals including the Chrysler Corp. oval in Chelsea, Mich., and the Ford Romeo Test Track for Ford Motor Co., a five-mile, steep-banked oval used by the manufacturer for testing. The group also completed Phoenix International Raceway, which will host NASCAR events this weekend.

The ISC Design & Development engineering and construction team overseeing the project has paved seven NASCAR-sanctioned tracks since 2003.

Besides completion of the two-mile oval, the 1.5-mile road course inside the oval was also paved and unveiled to media Thursday. The paving of the road course will enhance the speedway’s efforts to be a test bed for various R&D opportunities, while allowing the racetrack to host karting and car club activities.

“We have always wanted to host as many activities as we can at MIS, bringing additional business and tourism to our region, along with an improved testing facility that is now even more attractive for groups wanting to test their respective technologies here,” Curtis said. “This is our plan and our brand to showcase MIS to new and potential guests.”

With paving complete, a few small projects remain to round out all the track work, including landscape restoration, reinstallation of the NASCAR scoring loops and painting the start-finish line.

This is the fourth repave in the track’s history. The track was built in 1968, and repaved in 1977, 1986 and 1995.

During the latest project, 22,000 tons of asphalt was placed on the surface, enough to construct about 5 ½ miles of a two-lane county road.

Milling of the race track began following the August race weekend and took approximately three weeks to complete. Three-quarters of an inch of asphalt was taken off the top during the milling process. The project required three inches of total pavement laid down. The track was paved in two layers with each layer 1 ½ inches thick for a total of three inches. Therefore, the track is now approximately 2 ¼ inches higher than it was previously.

Renewals for 2012 are under way. Guests have until Nov. 18 to ensure they get the best pricing for next season and automatically entered for a trip to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas on Dec. 2. New guests can place a $10 refundable deposit to take advantage of the best pricing for 2012 by calling 800.354.1010.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is a Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where race fans and sports fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the fun of NASCAR and the thrill of a great time for guests and drivers alike.

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