New clay was brought in this year; It brought issues which the track is now solving
Ahead of last month’s dirt racing events on The Dirt Track at Charlotte officials made major changes to the racing surface. New clay was brought in and the banking was changed slightly.
The track was faster than it’s ever been. Kyle Larson set a new late model track record on November 5th at 14.183 seconds. That broke his own track record, which he set the night before in the World of Outlaws Late Model Division, timing at 14.305.
However, it also brought more dust than ever. At points, TV cameras struggled to get a view of the track through the dust. And fans, who expect dirt in their beer, were shocked.
In early November, the dirt track hosted the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. Each class ran on it’s own nights with two nights of sprint cars and two nights of late models, due to social distancing guidelines required for the pit area.
With the limited number of classes, you might expect the track to stay moist and refrain from drying out. Instead, we saw the driest dirt track in the south.
“Hey, why don’t you guys put some water on it next time,” fans yelled from the stands following the World of Outlaws Last Call feature in early November.
In reality, the track dropped plenty of water on the track. But, the clay didn’t handle the water correctly. Typically, water will come back to the surface after running the water truck several hours before. That would usually keep the track moist all the way through a 6 hour show.
With the new clay, that was not happening. Instead, the track got dryer and dryer. At the same time, the clay wasn’t bonding to itself, creating a must larger dust issue. Two separate issues that resulted in the same amplified problem.
Now, Charlotte Motor Speedway is going back to work to fix their dirt track. Following lab tests, fans can expect those issues to be solved for 2021.
Eric Singhaus: Charlotte Motor Speedway Event Manager
“It’s been a very educational and humbling couple of weeks for our team at The Dirt Track to say the least. We have pinpointed the issues with the surface and began the necessary steps in order to correct the problem. Let the art of farming begin!”
“In short: Three samples of the surface were sent to a lab in California to be tested. It was determined that the new clay had a significant chemical imbalance (mainly hydrogen and PH levels) along with very minimal organics.”
“1. Once you applied water to the surface, it would soak down into the surface but would not rise back up throughout the event because it was essentially ‘sealed off’ into the track between the new surface and the old surface.”
“2. The significant amount of hydrogen and low PH would not allow the clay to bond to itself and stick together thus creating dust.”
“3. The solution is lengthy but it involves ripping the track apart (18 inches minimum) and applying organic matter such as cotton gin trash, green waste, etc to bring our levels back down to where they should be.”
“The process is lengthy but absolutely necessary. Follow along on our journey throughout the next couple weeks/months.”