Darlington Raceway has repaved Turn 2 in preparation for its NASCAR races over Labor Day weekend, track president Kerry Tharp told NBC Sports on Friday morning. Tharp said the portion of the track repaved had underlying cracks that allowed water to seep in.
“We were finding that over the last few years that we were having to go in there and do some patching before the event almost every year,” Tharp said. “Now that we have two (Cup) events, we brought in what I would say is the best of the best when it comes to asphalt experts and really took a hard look at Turn 2.”
Tharp said analysis was done in late winter and it was determined that patching that area of the track was no longer effective. So, work began on the surface in July with the repave taking about three weeks. The project was completed last weekend with Tharp noting that SAFER barriers are currently being put back in place in that corner.
Track repaves aren’t usually popular with drivers nor fans of NASCAR, as was evident with Atlanta Motor Speedway’s recent announcement. The track is undergoing a reconfiguration and repave of its surface prior to next year’s events. The move was met with stern criticism from several drivers, including Kyle Busch.
After winning the Xfinity series race last month, Busch utilized his postrace press conference to blister the track’s ownership for the move. “I sure am glad to win the final Xfinity Series race on a real Atlanta racetrack,” Busch said. “Because the next one is just going to be a showpiece, and it’s going to be (expletive).”
Tharp told NBC Sports the banking and the geometry of the Turn 2 at Darlington will remain the same. He said there are no plans to drag tires or do anything else to surface before the NASCAR races next month. Manufacturer representatives are scheduled to examine the track on Monday. The project was done in consultation with NASCAR competition officials and Goodyear officials.
Darlington’s Labor Day weekend tripleheader is set to begin on Saturday, September 4th with the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help a Hero 200 Xfinity race at 3:30pm. On Sunday, September 5th, Darlington hosts the “In It to Win It” 200 truck series event at 1:30pm, prior to the annual Cook Out Southern 500 at 6 o’clock.