close
close

NASCAR News: All activity at the Sonoma racetrack is halted after huge sections of the newly paved surface fell apart

0

First repaving in 23 years for Sonoma Raceway, but not done right! At the beginning of March, Bay Cities Paving & Grading from Concord, California, received the contract to resurface the old route. They began tearing up the old surface on Dec. 28, with California-based ABSL Construction helping to tear down 1.5 inches of the old asphalt and pit road. In total, they ground up about 10,000 tons of the material, which Sonoma Raceway officials said was then reused to repair the roads surrounding the racetrack.

But why is the new track surface already falling apart in places? The hiccup forced the big boys to cancel Thursday's scheduled SRO America round at Sonoma Raceway. As a result, show officials and series officials decided to scrap the second and final day of pre-season testing at the 12-turn, 2,520-mile track in California.

SRO Motorsports America has an updated schedule

ADVERTISING

The article continues below this ad

SRO America has announced a revised schedule due to some major repairs and track repairs required at Sonoma Raceway. It looks like the races, including the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America and GT America powered by AWS, will not take place at the track until Saturday.

The official statement from SRO Motorsports America read: “SRO America is working with Sonoma Raceway to address the situation quickly and efficiently. Repairs to the track surface are underway and planned on-track activities for the remainder of the race weekend have been adjusted. Activities on the route on Friday were affected. We welcome fans to the racetrack to experience the GT machines up close and prepare for racing on Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy the on-site facilities, with open access to the paddock and activations taking place behind the main stand.”

It turns out parts of the 2.52-mile track began crumbling Wednesday on the first day of what was supposed to be a two-day preseason test. To be on the safe side, SRO America and the track people decided to cancel the remainder of Wednesday and all practice sessions on Thursday. The track's Turns 4, 7, 9 and 11 will be thoroughly reworked, with Turn 11 even being completely redesigned. But that doesn't work without interruptions either. It looks like the weather has thrown a wrench in the plans, as rain continued to thwart repaving plans on Thursday.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Cup North America is the only show in town on Friday and it will be a ghost town with no fans. At 4:00 p.m. PDT they hit the track for a short 30-minute training run. As for the rest of the group, on Saturday morning they will have the opportunity to do combination-free practice and qualifying for each series. As for NASCAR, they have already completed their Good Year tire testing, so they are well prepared in that regard.

Goodyear's tire test at the newly paved Sonoma Raceway

Get notified immediately about the hottest news NASCAR Stories about Google! Click “Follow Us” and tap Blue Star.

Follow us

Sonoma Raceway just got a fresh coat of asphalt, and to put it through its paces, 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr, Ross Chastain and Josh Berry took a Goodyear tire test for a spin. Their goal was to find the best tire compound for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 taking place this June.

ADVERTISING

The article continues below this ad

The tire test was crucial because the folks at Speedway Motorsports have developed a special asphalt compound that they believe will wear well and quickly. The Bay Cities Paving & Grading team that laid the tracks brought in nearly 2,000 tons of this custom mix, while ABSL Construction did the heavy lifting of milling the old surfacece away.

After Martin Truex Jr. really accelerated on the new track, he said: The tire wear was part of the magic we found and I was comfortable with it, so with the new road surface this is a whole new ballgame. We have to approach it a little differently, but still the same route and the same lines. We learned a lot today and hope we can choose a good tire and work on making the car even faster. If we can do that, it would be our first five-win stretch, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Completed Sonoma makeover wins over racing fans as spring highlights ungodly Lord of the Rings Shire recreation

ADVERTISING

The article continues below this ad

Ross Chastain noted that the new Sonoma surface was super sticky, putting them over 2.5 seconds off the course record. Everything goes faster; I don't use the curbs as much as I used to; I developed further throughout the day. We're in different gears – we're in second place where we used to be in first place, we're in fifth place where we used to be fourth – everything's up a gear and everything's happening quickly. “

Josh Berry agreed and said the new surface was a hit – much grippier than last year. He believes things will only get better and faster by the time they return. But will the asphalt still be the same with the same grip after the new repairs?