Maintaining a dirt racing surface can be a tough task. Unlike pavement racing surfaces, a lot of preparation is needed prior, during and after each race event in order to put on a safe race for drivers and an entertaining show for fans. It’s a tough task, and one that is made even more difficult when you’re doing it at a new race track that has never hosted a dirt racing event before.
That is the battle that Super DIRT Week officials have been fighting this week as they prepare for the big show, a now 200-lap Big-Block Modified event on Sunday afternoon. While officials have taken all the right steps in preparing the surface, the question of whether or not it will hold up for 200 laps of Big-Block Modified racing remains unanswered.
Will there be ruts in the racing surface? Will it be dusty? How hard will the track be on equipment? Those are just a few of the questions drivers have asked themselves throughout the week.
At times there have been ruts in the racing surface, especially in turns one and three where the Dirt Modifieds kick it sideways and then dig their right-rear tire into the dirt. The track has also been dusty on a pair of occasions, once very early in the week and again on Friday when racing action had to be set back in order for track crews to rework the track.
Despite the three days of racing on the track, including practice, time trials, qualifying races and Futures races, the track conditions for Sunday’s Big-Block Modified race continue to be on the minds of many drivers in the pit area.
“Far from stellar right now,” Larry Wight said of the racing surface on Friday afternoon. “It’s new clay on a new surface but hopefully they figure out how to get some moisture in it so we can go out and put on a show.”
With steady rain showers hitting the area on Saturday, any problems with the track being dusty could be solved come Sunday. But, the ruts have been the primary concern for drivers, and a concern that has some of them worrying more about the durability of their car rather than its speed.
“I’m not sure it’s going to be an all-out speed event,” last year’s runner-up Kenny Tremont said. “I think just making sure that all the axles and gears don’t give you trouble, especially if there’s a few holes you’re going to run through. You’ve got to make that car bullet proof and make it finish.”
While the track conditions continue to be on the minds of drivers, most have agreed that there should be plenty of opportunities to pass and put on a good show come Sunday afternoon.
“All in all, I think there’s going to be more opportunities to make passes,” Brett Hearn said. “There’s some different areas on the track where there looks like there’s passing opportunities.”
If the track is able to withstand the 200 laps of Big-Block Modified racing, there are very few doubts about the quality of racing that will take place. There will be passing, there will be speed and there will be a whole lot of fun for all of those involved.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos