The one thing that has occurred in the last few years is that tracks have gone under a change, specifically the track surface, due to age or other issues. In 2010 the Daytona 500 was delayed hours due to a pothole that got opened up in the asphalt, and by the following year the track had a new surface that was fast, and had a lot of grip.
A couple years after, both Michigan and Pocono had the same thing happen, minus the pothole.
In 2006, Charlotte got an entirely new surface after the year prior they “levegated” the track by grinding it down, which in turn caused over 20 cautions in each of that season’s races.
But then again, there’s some tracks where drivers basically do not want things changed, and enjoy the difficulty that it brings. Case in point, the Kentucky Speedway. This track has some age on it, and even though this is only the fourth Sprint Cup race at the facility, it has hosted both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series for years, and it’s worn in over that time. There’s bumps not just in the corners, but in the straightaways.
It is very hard for drivers to keep the truck in a straight line sometimes is difficult. The cameras on television show the cars bouncing like basketballs on the track, almost like how Charlotte was before it was repaved.
Some track owners may want to start fresh and put in a new surface, but for these drivers they do not want the track touched.
In a way, it gives the track something that a repaved one doesn’t have, character. Sure many tracks have a different kind of character, like Pocono with it’s three corners or Darlington with it’s egg-shaped design, and even Daytona has character still despite the new surface since handling is always an issue. But with a worn in surface, it makes it a challenge for drivers, crews, and even the shop workers to make a car handle the bumps, seams, and cracks.
It’s unfortunate for Kentucky that it’s stigma of having so much trouble with traffic in it’s inaugural Sprint Cup weekend ruined what was a big debut for the series. This track has a unique character that doesn’t need changed.
Just ask Brad Keselowski, as he was the one in victory lane for the second time this season on Saturday night, and the second time at the speedway. Only thing he would want to change is his victory celebration, considering during the champagne shower his bottle broke and cut his hand, meaning a trip to the care center for a few stitches.
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Kyle Busch 3-Newman 4-Kenseth 5-Earnhardt Jr. 6-Gordon 7-Harvick 8-Kahne 9-Logano 10-Johnson
NOTABLE FINISHES: 12-Kurt Busch 17-Edwards 42-Hamlin
CAUTIONS: 6 for 34 laps. Lap 30-34 (#11 Accident-T3), 78-84 (#42 Accident-T2), 127-131 (Debris-T3 and T4), 154-160 (#1, 5, 23, 43 Accident-BS), 177-181 (#33 Spin-T4), 215-219 (#43 Accident-T1).
LEAD CHANGES: 12 among 3 drivers. Keselowski 1-78, Logano 79-83, Keselowski 84, Logano 85-86, Keselowski 87-127, Logano 128-147, Keselowski 148-155, Logano 156-162, Keselowski 163-180, Logano 181-183, Keselowski 184-216, Kyle Busch 217-247, Keselowski 248-267.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 51 Mins, 59 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 139.723 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.014 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS: 1. Gordon, 619 points*; 2. Johnson, -24*; 3. Earnhardt Jr, -24*; 4. Keselowski, -58*; 5. Kenseth, -63; 6. Edwards, -82*; 7. Logano, -99*; 8. Newman, -104; 9. Harvick, -109*; 10. Kyle Busch, -110*
*Race Winner, Chase Eligible