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Homestead-Miami Construction Nears Final Lap

Wed October 01, 2003 - Southeast Edition
Bonnie L. Quick

Race fans from all over will be coming to a new and more exciting track at Homestead-Miami Speedway when it is it finished in November. The new configuration will result in increased excitement for fans and drivers when the Homestead-Miami Speedway becomes the first NASCAR Winston Cup track to be planned and constructed to include a variable banking system.

When complete, the track’s banking will be increased from its current six degrees to a maximum of 20 degrees using a computer-generated design that showcases a variable banking system. With the system, the degree of banking is increased progressively from the bottom to the top of each turn. At the midpoint of each turn, there will be 18 degrees banking at the bottom, 19 degrees in the middle and 20 degrees at the top. The variable banking system is designed to create three competitive racing grooves around the track.

Construction Manager Howard S. Wright said that the construction project is running on time and on budget. No special reinforcement or piling was used before construction of the banking. Reconfiguring the track and increasing the banking at Homestead-Miami Speedway required 4,050,000 cu. ft. (114,700 cu m) of landfill —enough dirt to cover an eight-story building with a base as large as a football field.

Ten thousand truckloads transported 390 million lbs. (177 million kg) of landfill approximately 50,000 mi. (80,500 km) in order to complete the project.

The fencing that circumnavigates the project stretches 22 strands or 33 mi. (53.1 km).

Also, according to Wright, a fully-automated Vogel paver will lay the asphalt surface. There are only two of these new machines at use today in the United States, he noted.

Goodyear Tire Company played an important role in the design of the new track, employing the same technology used to design tires to create better transitions into and out of the turns. The computer simulated the inside, middle and outside lanes and then made adjustments until the cars could be expected to finish within two-tenths of a second of each other.

The backstretch of the track is 15 ft. (4.6 m) higher so fans may have a better view of the action.

The speedway project is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2003 Ford Championship Weekend, the season-finales for the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, set for Nov. 13 through at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Construction on the project, estimated to cost in excess of $10 million, began in May with a ceremonial demolition of Homestead-Miami Speedway’s Turn Four.

“Our decision to make a change at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with its variable degrees of banking came from race fans and drivers alike who wanted more exciting racing,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. “The fans were very vocal about the lack of exciting racing on a flat one and a half mile oval track. The three competitive racing grooves will translate into more exciting, side-by-side racing action for our race fans.

“We are already one of the world’s finest facilities and host one of the biggest weekends in all of motorsports: November’s Ford Championship Weekend, where championships can be won or lost. Now with the reconfiguration of the racetrack and the additional banking, Homestead-Miami Speedway will offer even more competitive racing and will be one of the most desirable destinations for race fans everywhere,” he said.