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ATYL: Iowa Speedway’s Partial Repave Raises Concern

Iowa Speedway is ready for the race weekend with a sold out crowd and a new look, a look that is raising concerns from drivers.

Several months ago, NASCAR made the decision to repave sections of the 7/8 mile track. Now, the speedway’s four corners feature fresh asphalt in the first and second grooves.

According to NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Competition, Elton Sawyer, the repave was not originally the plan.

“The one thing that over time that with this facility, obviously the winters are hard there in Iowa, and it took a toll on the surface. Our goal all along when we announced this race back in October of last year was to not repave.”

Among the first to test out the new pavement were Brad Keselowski, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Larson. Each driver represented their manufacturer in a Goodyear tire test towards the end of May.

Keselowski was pleased with the repave, detailing how it helped the gnarly tunnel bump down in turns 1 and 2. With this issue fixed, the driver and team owner believes the Gen 7 cars will be more raceable. Plus, he felt reassured with the overall product the track could provide.

“Yeah I think a lot of the same characteristics, like I said other than that big tunnel bump in 1 and 2 is now gone so that’s good.”

On the flip side, drivers like Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney are a bit weary about the repave, sharing their concerns with the media at Sonoma Raceway.

“it just completely ruined the the corners, and it’s gonna make it a one groove racetrack,” Bell shared reflecting on the tire test. “repaving the bottom half of the corners is gonna make it where the top half is completely unusable. But even the second groove, you know, you move up to try and get grip. And with new asphalt, you just don’t there’s not a need to move up.”

Blaney, who was not part of the test, is baffled why the repave was done this way.

“In my mind, you either leave it or you pave the whole thing. You can’t pave 2 lanes on the bottom because now it’s a 2 lane racetrack if you’re lucky and it might get to that 2nd lane. Like, forget about the 3rd and 4th lane. It’s never gonna get there.”

So, why repave just a portion of the track? Why not do the whole thing?

Elton Sawyer admitted to that they didn’t have time to commit to a full repave.

“Now, aesthetically, it looks a little different than what we would normally go into a facility (and see),” Sawyer said. “But we’re confident the repairs are to a high level, and it’s not going to be an issue and we’re still going to have some multi groove racing around the racetrack. We’re looking forward to getting out there and getting cars on the racetrack and seeing exactly how things unfold.

The green flag will drop for the Iowa Corn 350 this Sunday at 7:00 P.M. ET on USA.

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