NASCAR: New track-drying system to reduce delays caused by rain image

NASCAR’s new track-drying system will be available for the Daytona 500, despite the fact that it is not perfect yet.

With the new system, NASCAR aims to get a track such as the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway dry in about 30 minutes, instead of what is typically a two- or two-and-a-half-hour process. For a half-mile track such as Martinsville, drying could be shortened from the usual 45-60 minutes to 15 minutes.

Last year’s Daytona 500 was delayed a day and a half by rain, with organizers forced to run it on Monday night. The race was stopped for another two hours when Juan Pablo Montoya’s car crashed into a track jet dryer, which burst into flames.

Not much is known about the new system, as patents are still being obtained. Basicly, the system will use vacuums and blasts of compressed air and heat pushed through pipes behind a pickup truck to create a wave of water as it dries the track.

NASCAR has 24 of the systems ready to go, according to NASCAR senior vice president of operations Steve O’Donnell, who said there will be a mix of jet dryers and the new system at Daytona. The new system won’t use jet fuel, but compressed air and a lot more vacuums.