MMP's new drag strip starts construction

Construction Crews Hard at Work on Mansfield Motorsports Park Drag Strip MANSFIELD, Ohio (January 11, 2007) -- The first shovels of dirt have been moved as construction has begun on the new drag strip at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park. Crews...

Construction Crews Hard at Work on Mansfield Motorsports Park Drag Strip

MANSFIELD, Ohio (January 11, 2007) -- The first shovels of dirt have been moved as construction has begun on the new drag strip at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park. Crews moved the first equipment into position shortly after 9 a.m. Monday morning and by the end of the day, the first layers of topsoil had been graded and moved.

"We've had a lot of hoops to jump through with the Ohio EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, but we have those issues worked out and we're full speed ahead on construction," said Chris Mize, president and general manager of the oval track at Mansfield Motorsports Park. "The first phase is simply getting the land graded, and it's a pretty decent sized project. We'll end up moving over 250,000 cubic yards of material. Just to give an idea of how much work that is, we plan on having about 10 pans out there and each one holds about 15 to 16 cubic yards of material."

Plans to make the entire length of the racing surface on the strip concrete will ease maintenance concerns and should give racers one of the quickest and fastest venues in the nation to race on. The construction schedule puts the drag strip opening several weeks before the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the end of May.

"With the winters being so rough where we are, concrete is the way to go for the drag strip," said Mansfield Motorsports Park drag strip general manager Wade Rich. "If we have a rough winter, we can just go and cut out any damaged areas and do a virtually seamless repair. With asphalt there would be issues with the repaired area settling or even breaking up under the stress of some of the classes of cars we'll be racing here. Concrete will give them a consistent surface and we expect to see record speeds and times."

Mansfield Motorsports Park owner Mike Dzurilla has waited a long time to see this project get started.

"We drew up these plans for the drag strip about five years ago," Dzurilla said. "We had been so focused on the oval track and making sure our NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race came off every year that we put this on the backburner for a long time. With our move to special events only on the short track the time was right to move with the drag strip. Once we get it done, it will put Mansfield in a very small class of facilities that have both an oval track and a drag strip."

IHRA will sanction the opening event on the all-concrete quarter-mile June 15 -- 17 with the World Nationals, the fourth event of the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series. IHRA president Aaron Polburn said the new Mansfield strip will eventually host one of the largest IHRA events in North America.

"When we get this event up and running, we expect we'll have 40,000 spectators for the entire course of the event and over 1,000 teams participating," Polburn said. "The competitors will come from 40 states, Canada, Puerto Rico and even Aruba. We have very big plans for Mansfield Motorsports Park. If what they have done with the oval track is any indication, the drag strip will be one of the very best in the nation."

-credit: ihra

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