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Daytona to repave after Montoya crash

16 March 2012

Daytona International Speedway confirmed this week that the area of the oval track affected by the fire that broke out following Juan Montoya's collision with a jet dryer will need to be resurfaced before the Sprint Cup series returns to the venue in July.

Montoya's rear suspension failed after exiting the pits under a caution in the Daytona 500 in February and the car spun into one of the jet dryer safety vehicles working out on the track under the yellow.

The impact ripped open the 200 gallon tank of jet engine fuel carried by the vehicle and used to power the drying unit that it operated. A major fire quickly broke out that blazed for several minutes until the fire crews could bring it under control.

Montoya escaped significant injury in the accident, as did the driver of the jet dryer, Duane Barnes.

The area of the track in turn 3 was treated with laundry detergent in order to take care of the slippery surface, but the chemicals together with the intense heat have caused lasting damage that will need to be dealt with by repaving the affected area before NASCAR races at Daytona again in the summer.

"Since the jet dryer incident occurred on February 27, we have washed and cleaned the affected area of the racetrack in turn 3 multiple times, and applied street bond," said a statement from Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.

"We are going to conduct long-term repairs to that area of the asphalt, which will include removing and repaving the affected area," the statement continued. "Once this work is complete, we expect to have no further issues related to the jet dryer crash and we'll be ready to go for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola in July."

The work has not been possible before, as Daytona is hosting another prestigious week of motorsport events this week that includes this weekend's 68-lap annual Daytona 200 motorcycle race.

Chitwood was confident that even before the full repaving can be undertaken, the track was in a good state for this weekend's motorcycle activities.

"We're looking forward to a successful Daytona 200 on Saturday," he said. "We have worked closely with AMA Pro Racing officials and we're both very confident it will not present any issues during the Daytona 200."

DIS said that it would be using Lane Construction for the repair work, the same contractors that had undertaken the major repaving of the speedway in 2010. That major project had to be pulled forward after the embarrassing and lengthy delays during the running of that year's Daytona 500 because of the surface breaking up into a dangerous pothole.


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