Can you imagine Daytona International Speedway dry and ready for racing 30 minutes after a deluge?
What might seem far-fetched at first blush is actually a concrete goal, thanks to more effective, greener technology developed by NASCAR.
In a press conference Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France elaborated on the innovative technology that uses compressed air and ideally will be able to reduce track-drying time by 80 percent.
Track drying "has always been a difficult thing for our fans, both on television and certainly at the track, that once it rains, how long it takes us to get the track dried again," France said. "So what I declared to our team a couple years ago is ‘Let's change the way we do it, let's innovate, let's get a system, and the goal is to improve it by 80 percent.' So that means if we're drying Daytona off, where it usually took two and a half hours, we get it down to 30 minutes. That's the goal.
"And we're real close. We'll be debuting our first cycle, our first generation of this track drying system, which is pretty interesting, and we also are going to do it in a much more green, carbon-emission-friendly way. So what that means is obviously when you're at the track, we're going to be able to dry Martinsville off in 15 minutes.
"It's going to be a spectacular thing, and all auto racing will benefit from this as we go down the road."
The very real expectation is that the new system – which will be used incrementally with existing track-drying equipment – will allow NASCAR to take advantage of shorter breaks in bad weather and to complete races that otherwise would have been shortened or postponed.