Summit Point Raceway Undergoes Dramatic Facelift SUMMIT POINT, W.V. (Aug. 4, 1999) -- Summit Point Raceway -- a two-mile road racing course 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. -- is undergoing its largest improvement program since the circuit was...
Summit Point Raceway Undergoes Dramatic Facelift
SUMMIT POINT, W.V. (Aug. 4, 1999) -- Summit Point Raceway -- a two-mile road racing course 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. -- is undergoing its largest improvement program since the circuit was built in 1969. The track's plan includes installing gravel traps and energy-absorbing barriers around the 10-turn circuit, similar to those used in the Formula One and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) racing series. Additionally, the track is being entirely repaved for the first time since the original pavement was applied more than 30 years ago.
The track hosts 35 events each year including Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), Intercontinental Events and motorcycle races. According to Bill Scott, who has owned Summit Point Raceway since 1980, the facelift will improve competition as well as add an additional margin of safety for competitors.
Gravel traps, like those used in Formula One, CART and other professional road racing series, are being installed in corners where speeds are the greatest. More than 2,000 tons of pea gravel will be used to a depth of 10 inches.
The energy-absorbing barriers are being installed at the end of high-speed runoff areas. As in Formula One, thousands of discarded car tires will be bolted together in four-foot vertical stacks. The barriers, which will run approximately 290 yards, will be layered from one to three tires deep, depending on location.
Scott believes racers will be most pleased with the track repaving, however.
"We test-paved a portion of the track several years ago using both a non-polishing aggregate and a polymer from Elf Aquitaine (a French petroleum company)," said Scott, who holds a Ph.D. in geology from Yale University. "The surface turned out to be very smooth, not slippery and non-raveling."
Jefferson Asphalt, Inc., has been contracted to apply approximately 3,200 tons of asphalt.
Brian Redman, a retired U.S. Formula 5000 and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) champion driver and president of the Road Racing Drivers Club promotes the Jefferson 500 vintage sports car race at Summit Point. Redman believes the vintage racers will enjoy the improvements.
"These improvements will be most welcome," Redman said. "The smooth track surface is particularly beneficial to the prototype vintage cars, and the attention to safety features is always a major concern to drivers, and they are being proactively addressed."
All construction and paving are due to be completed in September. The next scheduled event at the track begins Sept. 18 with a motorcycle race. It will be followed by the SCCA Marrs event Sept. 25-26.