Daytona International Speedway announced today that its banked 2.5-mile tri-oval will be repaved soon after the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR event in July, effectively shutting down all activity at the racetrack for the rest of the season and thereby negating any motorcycle activity, including tire testing and the October running of the CCS Race of Champions, until next year’ s Daytona 200. Daytona is hoping to have the project completed by January 1, 2011.The track came under scrutiny during this year’s Daytona 500 when potholes developed on the banking, causing the race to be stopped at various times while efforts were made to fix the problem. They eventually got the race in, with Jamie McMurray taking the victory after a long day of racing, but it quickly became known as the Pothole 500.This will mark just the second time in the track’s history that Daytona will be repaved.
“This is a historic moment for NASCAR’s most storied race track – Daytona International Speedway,” track president Robin Braig said in a release. “Daytona was originally repaved in 1978 and the time has come again to put new asphalt on this legendary race track.”There was plenty of talk during this year’s Daytona Bike Week of the possibility of Superbikes returning to the big track that utilizes both bankings in 2011, but riders unanimously stated that there would have to be at least two tire tests this off-season to see if that would be feasible. With the track now being shut down until January, that is likely a dead issue for 2011.In addition to the tri-oval, the skid pads, apron and pit road will also be repaved and concrete will be used for the pit stalls. All of the existing asphalt will be removed down to the original 52-year-old lime rock base, according to the Speedway. The repaving of Daytona International Speedway will remain true to Bill France Sr.’s original vision, layout and geometry of the track that was constructed in the late 1950s.The first race scheduled for after the repaving will be the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 29-30.Lane Construction, which repaved other ISC race tracks including Talladega Superspeedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway, has been contracted to do the work.Daytona says that fans will be able to view the progressions of the repaving project from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands, which will open free to the public. Track tours will also be still be available.