Brickyard To Be Repaved

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2.5-mile oval will be repaved after the 2004 Brickyard 400, track officials announced March 31.

The historic oval was last repaved in the fall of 1995. The 2004 repaving will mark the first time the warm-up lanes and current pit lane, which were constructed in 1993 and 1994, respectively, receive new asphalt.

The Speedway's 2.605-mile road course, which was built in 1999, will not be paved.

According to Kevin Forbes, IMS director of engineering and construction, 36,500 tons of asphalt will be laid in two or three layers, covering 1,085,085 square feet per layer.

The height of the racetrack, and the track's SAFER Barriers - the energy-absorbing system located on the outside walls in each of the four turns - will not be affected, as 4 inches of the surface will be milled and replaced with an identical amount of new asphalt.

The 9 degrees, 12 minutes of banking in the turns will remain the same. The Speedway oval's banking and overall configuration will not be altered.

Preliminary work is scheduled to begin Aug. 9, the day after the 11th Brickyard 400, and paving should be completed by mid- to late October, Forbes said. Formal private testing among teams will not likely resume until spring 2005 to allow the new surface to cure over the winter, Forbes said. Hall of Fame Museum track tours will resume within days of the completion of paving.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's racing surface has taken several forms since the track's construction. The original coal-tar emulsion and crushed stone surface proved dangerous immediately upon the inaugural weekend of racing in August 1909, and 3.2-million paving bricks were laid down in late 1909, giving the track its venerable nickname, "The Brickyard."

Patches of asphalt were placed on rough portions of the turns in 1936, and by 1939 all but the middle portion of the main straightaway was covered with asphalt.

In 1961, the main straightaway was finally covered with asphalt.

The track did not receive its first comprehensive repaving until summer 1976, and the process was repeated in the summer of 1988 and again in the fall of 1995.

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