NASCAR Chairman Brian France revealed at the Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte that the sanctioning body is developing a new generation of track dryers that are expected to significantly shortening the time necessary to prepare oval tracks for racing following rain showers. Typically, the current jet-propelled dryers take several hours to complete the task.
“(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 also are going to do it in a much more green, carbon-emission friendly way,” France added.
NASCAR President Mike Helton said the new system “uses compressed air as opposed to a jet engine. It's designed to expedite, obviously, the removal of water using compressed air and heat, where the jet dryers were simply designed around blowing and depended more on hot air. The new system depends more on compressed air.”
“There's a few faces out here that will remember when we used to dry tracks off with just a fleet of vehicles going around the race track, or dragging tires behind pickup trucks,” Helton added. “And then someone came along with the jet dryer that expedited it quite a bit and served its purpose for a long period of time, but in today's world with the expectations of getting the show done and getting it on, there was a high priority placed by Brian and the rest of us to come up with a way that we could expedite that. Robin and the folks at the R&D Center responded to that and came up with ideas, and this one seems to have quite a bit of validity to it.”
Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vp for race operations, told NASCAR.com that 24 of the new dryers will be on site at Daytona next month.