Track repaving begins on pit road

Michigan International Speedway will be repaved for the fourth time in its history, track officials announced Friday.

The work will begin immediately following Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race with the repaving of pit road.

The rest of the track’s 2-mile surface will be repaved immediately following the Aug. 19 Sprint Cup Series race.

The track, which was built in 1968, was repaved in 1977, ’86 and ’95.

“The racing surface is the heart of our business, and after careful inspection, we’ve decided it’s time to repave,” speedway President Roger Curtis said. “It’s important to note the repave will maintain the existing geometry of the racetrack; nothing will change but the surface. When finished, it will be the same racetrack the drivers love to race on, only smoother.”

The project involves removing the top two inches of the existing asphalt pavement, and placing two lifts of asphalt — each 1.5-inches thick on the surface. About 646,000-square feet of asphalt will be removed and another 22,000 tons of new asphalt will go in its place. Engineers have used modern technology and data in an effort to duplicate the existing surface while smoothing out bumps and dips created over time.

“Since the track is smoother, it creates a level playing field for all competitors,” Curtis explained. “Some teams have a larger historic database from running the track from past events. This data base can 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 teams.”

The $7 million project will be handled by Ajax Paving Industries in Troy, Mich., which was involved in the paving project at Phoenix International Raceway.