If you're a big NASCAR fan, the pothole that stopped the iconic running of the Daytona 500 this past February was undoubtedly one of those "not-suppose-to-happen" moments in sports history.
It took nearly two hours to fix before anxious racers and fans could continue their annual ritual, and it sent track and race officials into emergency deployment mode on initiating a more permanent fix. The track was not scheduled for repaving until 2012, but the pothole incident proved to be all that was needed to move the rehabilitation work up two years.
Immediately following The Coca-Cola 400 race on July 4, Lane Construction Corp. began working on the Daytona International Speedway, the ninth racetrack the paving contractor has been contracted to rebuild.
The demolition of the most well-known racetrack in NASCAR consists of milling $2,833 square yards at seven inches deep in the front stretch, back stretch and pit road, as well as 36,000 square yards at five inches deep on the aprons. In turns one trough four, 5,185 cubic yards of asphalt and lime rock will be raked off with a long stick Hitachi 450 and then hauled off for crushing.
Roughly 20,000 cubic yards of material will comprise the access roads being build behind the crash walls in the turns. This road is utilized by the Cat D-9s required to support the paving equipment in the 31 degree turns.
The competitive areas of the track will have four lifts of HMA placed during the construction process. The first bottom lift will be a 2-inch open-graded drainage layer that ends at the hinge point of the track. Running parallel to the drainage course will be a 6-inch perforated under drain. Place over the drainage course will be a 2-inch base course, followed by a 1 1/2-inch leveling course, and a 1 1/2-inch wearing course. The skid pads and road course tie-ins will each receive a 1 1/2-inch overlay.
When completed, approximately 50,000 tons of mix produced at the track with a portable plant will be used to construct the new track, which must be completed by Jan. 1 to allow enough time for tire testing and preparations for the 2011 running of the Daytona 500 in February.
Equipment and personnel support from Lane's Florida District, along with the previous track paving experience of the crew working on the project will ultimately guarantee a successful completion, according to company officials. John Rauer is project manager, Daniel Snow is project engineer, and Danny James is senior mechanical supervisor.
James has been in charge of the plant operation at the track and he's well aware of the unique challenges in paving a racetrack. While his experience includes other well-know venues, like Darlington Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, and Talladega Superspeedway, which has steeper banked turns, James was informed that this particular track was different simply because it's Daytona. What James quickly realized is that expectations were high. Numerous test strips and lab reports were required before one ounce, let alone 50,000 tons, of mix produce at the 400 tph mobile plant could be placed on the sacred 2.5-mile tri-oval.
The track was first paved in 1959 and then again in 1978. But the third and most extensive paving of the racetrack requires full removal of the two previous pavement structures, replacing the old asphalt with 7 inches of high performance HMA. The drainage, base and leveling courses are all constructed with mix containing a PG 76-22 binder. The wearing course will be constructed with a PG 82-22 binder with polymer modified additive to provide a more durable performance for high-speed environment.
Lane's experience in racetrack paving is evident by the ingenuity the company employs to execute banked curves.
With safety fencing removed and backfill placed along the outer safety wall to serve as a roadway for dozers, which are used to anchor paving equipment with a cable system, Lanes grading and paving crews can safely and effectively operate the heavy equipment on those 30-degree banked curves.