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Michigan track surface receiving extra prep work before next NASCAR race

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Michigan track surface receiving extra prep work before next NASCAR race
By:
Aug 19, 2016, 9:58 PM

Michigan International Speedway is doing some extra preparation to its track surface before the return of NASCAR action next weekend.

Michigan atmosphere
Start: Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota leads
Race action
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in trouble
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Pace laps

The speedway has been utilizing a “tire dragger” – which is dragged along the surface to help apply extra rubber – since the beginning of the week and plans to continue to use it through Tuesday of next week.

The tire machine is being run every day for eight hours a day, officials said. It’s the same device used by Kentucky Speedway after its repave and Bristol (Tenn.) after it “polished” the lower racing groove.

“We elected to do it because we work closely with and listen to NASCAR and the experts who drive the track – the drivers, who say the racing will get that much better when the top groove gets rubbered in and widens out,” Sammie Lukaskiewicz, the speedway’s vice president of marketing and communications, told Motorsport.com.

“It’s fast here, as you know. So having a wider groove will allow cars to pass each other and allow three-, four- and five-wide passing.”

Importance of prepping track surface

Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson, who finished third in the June race at Michigan, said the track surface is just as important as the aerodynamic rules package used by NASCAR when it comes to the quality of racing.

“I feel like if we hadn’t repaved all the race tracks a while ago we wouldn’t be complaining about bad races. Not that the races are bad, but it’s just so hard to pass on fresh pavement and it’s got more grip,” he said.

“You look at our best races – Fontana (Calif.), Atlanta, Texas – those tracks are worn out.”

MIS completed it most recent repave in November 2011.

Next Sunday’s Cup series race will also feature the same “low, low downforce” aero rules that were in place for the June race. It will be the rules’ final on-track test before their expected use in the 2017 season.

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Michigan II
Location Michigan International Speedway
Author Jim Utter