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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Suggests Change To Major Racetrack

SpongeBob SquarePants 400

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 09: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, stands with his girlfriend Amy Reimann during the national anthem ahead of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 9, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

As a driver and a racing team manager, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been to just about every major racetrack in the country. But of all the historic venues he's seen, there's one that he thinks could use some changes.

During the latest edition of The Dale Jr. Download podcast, Earnhardt said that the famous Texas Motor Speedway needs some serious fixes. He listed off a variety of ways that the track managers could treat various areas that have needed re-paving and caused problems over the years.

“The bottom of the racetrack is untreated by two grooves. So the bottom of the racetrack is let’s say is two lanes wide. Good old school asphalt. And then we have this very dark treated PJ1 plus resin, multiple applications, bam bam bam for years. And it’s a very dark dark part of the racetrack. About, starting at just below the third groove, and all the way up toward the wall, pave all of that.

"Take that area up off the racetrack, I think that the treatment is already pretty much ruined that part of the track anyways. If they get anything out of the third groove, they all crash. They tell you it’s dirty up there. The adhesion of the resin attracts all of the tire debris like a flytrap, like flytape. So when you get up out of the groove, you just run on top of all these marbles that are glued to the racetrack. So rip up all of that treated surface, and pave it. And let’s just try that before we go spending hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding this racetrack. Tens of millions just to reconfigure Turns 1 and 2.

If they wouldn’t just pave the treated part of the racetrack, so then you would have different ages of asphalt. I remember we put in a grip strip at Pocono and it was a blast. In Turn 3. Yes, it’s possible that all the cars would just attract to that new asphalt and we have basically a one groove track right in the middle of the corner. I don’t know if that’s a terrible thing to sort of go through for a couple years because once that asphalt starts to age a little bit, I think they start trying to move around a little bit. And then you got those two bottom grooves of asphalt that’s several years older, on the lower groove, that’ll be a different grip level. You won’t have to ever treat this track again, which they shouldn’t. Some tracks should be treated, some shouldn’t. And so, that’s one thing to do. It’s either something like that, little bit outside the box that we’ve never done before, or they only reconfigure Turns 1 and 2.”

Effectively, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is suggesting that if Texas Motor Speedway wants to avoid spending hundreds of million to rebuild the entire racetrack, they need to make some specific changes at various parts of the track where drivers most frequently encounter problems. 

Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth first opened in 1996 and was where both Earnhardt and Jeff Burton won their first Cup Series races. It hosts multiple races in the NASCAR Cup Series, IndyCar Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series.

So much activity on one track is bound to cause issues unless the track is properly treated and maintained. 

By the sounds of things, Texas Motor Speedway could do with at least a little bit more care.