Opinion: Time for Richmond to Use an Old School Trick

For the past few seasons we have heard a lot about Bristol and their use of the VHT compound laid on the bottom groove to open up another lane of competition.

So far and from what fans and competitors alike seem to be in agreement it’s working, in fact in 2017 they went back to the compound and laid it along with using the tire machines from other tracks like Kentucky in addition to the VHT.

What we haven’t heard of and what most people have forgotten over the years is a throwback from the past from way before the time of International Speedway owning Richmond. This was back in the days of Paul Sawyer who built the track up over the years from a half-mile dirt track in central Virginia to the three-quarter mile short track we know today.

But one of the secrets of the track that has laid dormant all these years is the compound substance that Paul would lay across the track after the racing season combined with dragging tires a few months later prior to the racing season starting back up again.

Paul and the staff would lay the surface with a product called Jetite J-16 made by the Chevron corporation, much different than the “bear grease” we have heard of down in Darlington.

The J-16 would cover the entire surface Paul’s son Bill Saywer and current owner of Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va. tells Speedway Digest from the wall down to the yellow line on the inside groove line.

It would then sit all winter into the early part of the year when they would drag the track with tires to clear the glaze off which would then stay on the track surface through the whole season.

 With Bristol and Kentucky using not only the VHT but the tire dragons to work the surface in it just might be time to look back to an old trick that once worked in Richmond for many years.

Maybe, just maybe along with moving back to night racing with the compound laid on the surface it will open the grooves up as Hamlin and others have said they enjoyed with the day time racing from this past weekend during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond but fans will once again pack the stands again.

Editor’s Note: Speedway Digest has reached out to Chevron seeking information on the product and is awaiting their response.

Speedway Digest Staff

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