Teams will be greeted by a modified race track for the opening round of the NASCAR playoffs
In September, NASCAR will return to Darlington, South Carolina. The 1.366-mile oval hosts the opening race of the NASCAR Playoffs.
In 2008, the track underwent a $10M upgrade. That included an entire repave of the track, the first repave since 1995.
The facility is owned by International Speedway Corporation, a division of NASCAR.
Darlington Raceway is known to eat tires. The rough surface is exactly what makes the racing so great there, the tires burn off and the cars slide.
For years, track officials have been patching holes in turn two. However, they have discovered the holes are too much to patch.
Officials have repaved turn two ahead of NASCAR’s return.
“We were finding that over the last few years that we were having to go in there and do some patching … before the event almost every year,” track president Kerry Tharp told NBC. “Now that we have two (Cup) events, we brought in what I would say is the best of the best when it comes to asphalt experts … and really took a hard look at Turn 2.”
The repair included 600 feet of track. The top 4 inches were replaced.
“Over time, these little fixes that we were doing, it’s just kind of like putting a little Band-Aid on something,” he said. “After a while, that Band-Aid is not going to work very well. We felt we needed to go in there and do this after the May event.”
The team came to the decision last winter. The repaving efforts began in July. The repair was completed last weekend.
“The drivers, for the most part, like racing here, I really think they do,” Tharp told NBC Sports. “I think they’re going to continue to like racing here. I think the fans will see a good show Labor Day weekend.”
The Cook Out Southern 500 will run on September 5.