Kentucky Speedway to be repaved, banking increased in Turns 1 and 2
Kentucky Speedway officials announced Tuesday that the track’s 1.5-mile surface will be repaved and the banking in Turns 1 and 2 increased.
Other changes include drainage improvements and 3,200 additional feet of SAFER barrier.
This will mark the first time the track, which began hosting races in 2000, has been repaved.
“Modifying Turns 1 and 2 will present an exciting challenge to the drivers while addressing issues of the track surface, SAFER barrier and drainage will improve safety, which is always our paramount concern,” said General Manager of Kentucky Speedway, Mark Simendinger.
The track will have progressive banking in Turns 1 and 2 with the banking up to 17 degrees. It had been 14 degrees. The banking in Turns 3 and 4 will remain 14 degrees.
With the SAFER barrier added, the entire outside wall will be covered by the energy-absorbing barriers. SAFER barrier will be added to the inside wall and tire packs will be added where needed.
Work has begun and is scheduled to be completed before NASCAR races there in July with all three national series.
“I am excited about the finished product as we wanted to present a unique challenge to the drivers,” said Steve Swift, who will oversee the project in his role as vice president of operations and development for Speedway Motorsports Inc. “This design, with Turns 1 and 2 completely different than 3 and 4 accomplishes that goal. The big winner will be the race fan,” said Swift.
When questions were raised in November about if the track would be repaved, Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that only the frontstretch should be repaved. “Awful rough there,’' Earnhardt stated in a tweet. “It’s a pretty fun slick race track otherwise.’'
Drainage has been an issue at the track in the past with weepers keeping cars off track. An abundance of rain contributed to issues with weepers last year, canceling practice and qualifying sessions.