“The window of opportunity is very short in the northern region,” says Quick. “The delay made us a little nervous, but it couldn’t be helped.” Not only was the deadline extended, but the budget also was increased, with the final tally topping $850,000 at completion, just two weeks before BIR’s first event in May 2003.
Work resumed in early spring 2003 and was completed in time for BIR’s first event — but not before an initial test of the new surface. Shaughnessy was the first drag racer to make a 300--foot burnout and two passes on the reconstructed quarter--mile drag strip, piloting his 850--horsepower super comp dragster down the right lane. “Smooth as glass,” was his initial comment.
BIR held its National Hot Rod Association--sanctioned drag race in August, when weather was once again a factor. The new surface at BIR became so hot that NHRA officials had to hose the track down before the second professional session to help teams maintain optimum traction.
After the NHRA event, racers broke world records during the top--fuel bike races. Pro Stock Bike competitor Geno Scali praised the new track, telling reporters, “The new track is very nice and very smooth in both lanes now. There’s just one little bump at the transition area where it switches from concrete to asphalt — that’s it.”
“Feedback has been very favorable,” says Quick. “These cars generate 4,000 pounds of downforce, so the drivers feel every little bump, but they were very happy with the track this year.”
Quick admits it was a large investment and a bit of a gamble, but in order for the facility to remain competitive, he believes he must provide drivers with the best surface possible. He’s already fielding inquiries from other drag tracks as far away as Australia and the U.K. “The racing community is a small one,” he says. “When you talk about super flatness, it responds.”
Lori Lovely is an Indianapolis--based freelance writer. She has covered the construction industry since 1998, and also frequently writes about racing and the automotive industry.