Author Topic: Dirt Track Prep  (Read 2493 times)

techman

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Dirt Track Prep
« on: April 25, 2012, 05:43:20 PM »
Why can some places get it right and other just make a mess. One thing I've seen in common with all tracks that have a decent surface is they turn the track over after a night of racing. Heck, at Williams Grove if your visiting the pits on Friday night you might have to dodge the track crews as the begin preping for the next race. Here some places that get it right consitently,
1.Williams Grove
2.Lincoln
3.Merrittville
4.Cornwall
That Don't
1.Five Mile
2.Black Rock
3.Can-Am


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herm

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 06:13:12 PM »
I maybe wrong on this ,but I dont believe the DEC allows tracks in NYS to use calceum any more.If this is correct it is hard to reason as NYS most likely dumps more road salt on it highways than any other state even comes close to doing.

no74falcon

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 06:23:33 PM »
No two dirt tracks are the same. The clay/soil, drainage, base underneath, banking... They are all different. I'm sure someone that does a good job at one track, might not do so well someplace else.
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Gomerpyle

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 07:12:44 PM »
It takes alot of time, money, and good help. Good fresh clay every other year. The RIGHT equipment, some ingredients, and knowlege. I was part of a great team that did Thunder Mountain surface from 1992-2005. We had this great Blue Clay pit 1/4 mile from the track and we put 300 loads of clay on the track every other year. The weather dictates when you tear it up EVERYWEEK. We would tear it up Friday night, work our magic, lay it back down, water it till dark so when we started on it again Saturday morning it wouldn't be dry. I was asked by Gary Roberts if I could help out Ronnie and Jamie at The AFTON SPEEDWAY. I gave Ronnie some of my secrets and it seems to be a big hit over there. To bad Afton is so far away from my house because I would love to help out them out more. The blue clay they put down looks excactly like the stuff we put on Thunder Mountain every other year. I have some vacation time coming up and I hope to get over to Afton to help them some more.  G
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Claychamp123

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 09:46:07 PM »
The thing that drives me nuts is the way Black Rock seems to work at getting rid of the cushion. This track builds a great cushion but the track scraps and or mashes it down between races. I know the four cylinders and streetstocks have issues breaking shocks so they don't like it but Latemodels and Modifieds love to have it to lay into as it can hold a loose car and just gives you more options as a driver to help get your car around. I consider the cushion to be an intregal part of dirt track racing. Much like bumps and ruts or dust it's something you have to deal with and is just another challenge. JMO but bring back the cushion!

Half Fast Bob

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2012, 12:48:46 AM »
Add Canandaigua to your list of ones that do. It's a little dryer than it has been in years past, but it's consistant, no question.

Calcium Chloride is a HUGE no-no by NY State DEC. Other parts of the country still allow it in regulated quantities, and in the midwest, no limit.

Williams Grove and Lincoln both have phenominal clay to work with right from the beginning, so that's a HUGE plus. But they also don't have Modifieds tearing the track up, either. Something everyone should be watching... hotlaps. Pay attention to what the other classes do to the track, and then watch what the modifieds do to it. Just an observation I've made over the years after having been part of the track crew at Canandaigua and Weedsport when I was in my teens and early 20's.
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posse89fan

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 12:57:59 AM »
I am not sure why Black Rock is on the "consistently don't" list.  The track is very smooth and fairly tacky just about every night of the season.  The only issues are the early and late shows, when there is racing all day with hundreds of cars.  It's almost unrealistic to think that any dirt track will hold up with that.

Can Am is another.  I only get there a few times a year, but it was great every time I have been there.

Sunny

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2012, 06:05:25 AM »
Please add Utica Rome to the tracks that do. That place is a palace of racing, and they open Sunday for the season.

They tear that track up after the heats for all classes and re-lay the surface before the feature. tacky, fast, takes a little rubber, nice cushion..... When Scott Bloomquist compliments your track, you know you have a good deal going on. All hail, Gene Cole and his track prep crew!!!

Nysprintfan

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2012, 07:02:23 AM »
I would add selinsgrove that do get it right every night. I wondered the same thing about the cusion at black rock.
The big thing i see that is different here than say in the mid west where they get the great tracks is that they have the cars pack the track instead of packing the track with heavy equipment. I think sometimes tracks pack the track too tight and them the moisture cannot come up. The other thing that all the drivers complain about here is when the track gets rough because it tears up some stuff. I dont know if you can get a consistant heavy tacky surface without having a rough track every once in a while.

Five mile point is the worst plane and simple because of the owner. He gets the cars every week and dont care about the surface. JMO.

herm

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2012, 08:32:25 AM »
Another factor is the tires that certain classes are running at the tracks.Ever notice following a mod feature where the track has been glazed over that the surface comes back around when a class comes out next that has narrower tires.
In studying the history of racing one can plainly see in my opion that a few factors that occurred in the mid 60s proved to be detrimental to racing as to the quility of the racing itself and tires are one of these.What was at that time the beginning of the tire known as the wide oval came in use.Now cars ran on top of the surface instead of in it.As time would prove out ,the practice of many tracks being paved over so not to have to do all the weeky track prep nesessary with a dirt surface,these advanced wide tires would prove to be way more detrimental to paved racing than ever to dirt.The tires and the need for new tires, then the need for real horse power that could use all the traction the new tires provided would send paved racing at the local level to a state of decline and dirt track racing on the rebound.

techman

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2012, 09:00:57 AM »
I think a lot has to do with the base surface a particular track has like another poster said, but I'll also add that after you have had the track for a while you should be able to address surface issues with the track and make changes where neccesary. A great example has been I-88. They knew they had a problem and are aggressively working to make things better.
Canandaigua is vastly improved, as Bob aluded to. I don't agree at all about Utica Rome. I went three times last year, all night shows, and once was decent the other two times were slick and locked down. The Mods tip toed around the place.
I somewhat believe in the bigger body Mod theory, but if you look around the Late Models have larger bodies and yet a track like Selinsgrove that runs them and 358 Sprints as well as two more full fender classes prepares a great surface with lots of bite and minimal dust on a nighttime surface.

kinserfan11

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2012, 09:09:40 AM »
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« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 10:14:16 AM by kinserfan11 »
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Groundpounder

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2012, 10:28:54 AM »
I somewhat believe in the bigger body Mod theory, but if you look around the Late Models have larger bodies and yet a track like Selinsgrove that runs them and 358 Sprints as well as two more full fender classes prepares a great surface with lots of bite and minimal dust on a nighttime surface.
The difference between a dirt mod body and a late model body is the tunnels on the sides of the mod body that create downforce.  The theory is that those tunnels suck the moisture out of a track.  I think the fact that Selinsgrove (and other PA sprint tracks) can have a great surface discounts wide tires as the problem.
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herm

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2012, 12:59:20 PM »
Groundpounder,Wide tires are not the only factor but I believe they are one of the major causes of a track glazing over.If the glaze is removed many tracks still have moisture present under the glaze.
Anybody on here think that with todays resticted engines that are choking to death by the time they reach the end of the straight and have to be steered into the corners instad of being backed in with the driver hard on the gas with the sides of the tires riping into the track have anything to do with it at least in a small way.
Prepairing a dirt track is an art form.I my opion the most skilled job anyone could have that works at the track.A few have become well known for this talent.I have great respect for the few that have put forth the effort and mastered it.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 01:05:27 PM by herm »

112SMW

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2012, 01:22:35 PM »
I agree ,the PA tracks are a fine surface to race on.One track in mind here in NY state the DOSENOT is Rolling Wheels.That was a great track but now it's a dump.

matt_s86

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2012, 01:24:20 PM »
DIRT Mod aero lifting the moisture out theory... LOL.  There are way too many examples to discount that theory.

It's gotta be in how the track is prepared, what type of clay it is, and what's mixed into that clay.  Seems to me, any NY clay or any track which is either underwatered or really smooth and hard packed is prone to being polished off and going black when big tires race on it.  Late Models, Sprints, Modifieds, you name it, they'll polish up any NY track and just about anything that's not made of red clay.

Pretty much every big late model race you see is on a polished smooth track, just like just about any Super DIRT Series race.  Sprints seem hit or miss with slicking off a track, most likely due to more bite/less slide than Late Models and Modifieds.

Temperature and humidity play a big role too.  Take Rolling Wheels for example.  Mid summer races the track slicks off top-to-bottom and gets that fine dust cloud going.  During Super DIRT Week with night time temps in the 30's, the last two years have been hammer down, nearly track record speeds for the sprints.

Not sure, but I think the original post might have been about having rutted junk tracks rather than slick/locked down tracks.  Those tracks seem to have too much water, are not packed enough, or the wet layer doesn't go deep enough and gets slung off.  A somewhat dry but very smooth/hard surface is sometimes the "play it safe" type of surface... people won't complain a track is too smooth, but they'll be all over you if they're dodging rocks and mud clods while watching cars hit jumps and bicycle through ruts.

no74falcon

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2012, 01:28:00 PM »
I agree Herm. Let me refine my thoughts... I think there are some that could go anywhere and do a great job. To those few, it is an art and they will change their thinking, and procedures, to make it the best they can. I think that others do the best they can with what they have, and call it good enough. I don't think any track owners/ operators purposely groom a bad track. But who knows... LOL
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racefan3100

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2012, 02:15:33 PM »
Woodhull gets it right just about every week too

techman

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2012, 02:31:59 PM »
I don't think any track owners/ operators purposely groom a bad track. But who knows... LOL
I agree with this, but I do think complacency takes over after a while.

herm

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2012, 04:08:55 PM »
The thing I used to hate to see the most and I saw it often because I always raced in a class that was not the headline devision was,we would be lined up ready to pull out on the track for our feature and all of a sudden here comes the water truck hosing down everything.Track covered with slime on top of a hard packed track.To late to adjust the car from what you though the track was going to be like.We would make a few laps to repack the track but it was never enough.Track wouldnt come back around until the race was half over.It was about enough to make me feel like wishing I had stayed home.If we raced after the headline class we would be ok as track matainance would be over with for the night.

posse89fan

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2012, 04:12:07 PM »
The thing that drives me nuts is the way Black Rock seems to work at getting rid of the cushion. This track builds a great cushion but the track scraps and or mashes it down between races. I know the four cylinders and streetstocks have issues breaking shocks so they don't like it but Latemodels and Modifieds love to have it to lay into as it can hold a loose car and just gives you more options as a driver to help get your car around. I consider the cushion to be an intregal part of dirt track racing. Much like bumps and ruts or dust it's something you have to deal with and is just another challenge. JMO but bring back the cushion!

Agreed Dale.  I think the last time I saw a cushion there was in 2012 for the Fall 360 Sprint Nationals on Friday night.  That was some good racing.  I wish more tracks would leave the cushion.

Claychamp123

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Re: Dirt Track Prep
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2012, 08:19:02 PM »
The idea that the side chutes on a dirt mod dry out a track is pretty funny. Not sure they even really create much downforce except for the big flip spoiler at the back. But wide tires do polish the track if you can't dig into the surface. This happens at Woodhull weekly. It doesn't get hard or rubber coated it just gets polished. If you walk on it, it's spongy but you can't get a good bite on it. Then when they send the street stocks out on skinnier tires they peel that polished top off and the track is full of bite again! We hit the track in the Modifieds and in about eight laps we have it polished again. It's one of the reasons Woodhull is such a challenge particularly for outsiders coming in for the first time. They often leave the track wondering what the heck just happened?!! I think Black Rock generally has a good surface except quite a few rocks and the packed down cushion issue. I think a lot of people have the wrong impression cause they've only been to the all day semi-daytime shows. Nobodies track stays good for that scenario uless you want to rework it every three heats.


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