NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fan’s View: You Know It’s Time to Repave Daytona When…

You know, life often goes on in a pretty bland miasma of non-interfering episodes. We get up in the morning, drink the coffee, take the shower, climb in the car and scoot off to work. Day after day, week after week… it’s awfully boring when you think about it. However, there’s usually something that will impede upon your predictable daily path. In the Northeast, they are called potholes. If you watched the Daytona 500 on Sunday, you too can recognize this phenomenon.

They start as a little bump under your tire in the autumn. Time goes by and you learn to swerve around the bubble in the road. About New Year’s, you start to wonder when the local town is going to resurface that particular piece of asphalt. Then, no matter what you do, come March, the gaping hole suddenly expands into a car eating canyon. The local DPW will then declare that repairs will immediately commence on this now huge hazard in the next 6-12 months.

It seems those responsible for maintaining the surface at Daytona International Speedway work in this same expedient manner.

For the past few years, we’ve watched countless stock cars bobble over the “bumps” in turn 2 at Daytona. We’ve listened to thoughts about resurfacing the aging track and even heard competitors state they wished it wouldn’t be done. In fact, this weekend Carl Edwards said he hoped they would leave it be… he likes racing on dirt.

I’m pretty sure Jimmie Johnson does not share his opinion. Neither do I. And after NASCAR lost nearly three hours of competition, thousands of at-the-track fans, and millions of television viewers to the ravages of time and pavement, I think it can be safely assumed paving Daytona is now at the top of the ISC maintenance calendar.

I can’t say I’m pointing a finger at those who “could or should have known” that turn 2 was teetering on the edge of its useful lifespan. I really do have more than a fair share of compassion for the poor guy whose sole aim in life is the maintenance of the racing surface. I’m just finding it vastly amusing to see the dead-on comparison between those that seem to do a haphazard job of keeping my local roads in one piece with the small yellow army that spent 180 minutes puzzling how to fix just one of these winter wonders at Daytona.

I could almost hear the gentlemen at the Massachusetts DOT smacking their foreheads while NASCAR scrambled to find enough epoxy to fill the gaping wound in the track. It was… a true Three Stooges moment.

You see, if there’s one thing we know up here in the Winter Wonderland of New England, a cold patch doesn’t do nothing. Yes, we make the phone call to City Hall reporting the latest car-trap lying in wait on Stevens Street. And we are relieved to see the pothole brigade arrive within a day or two with their truck of black, sticky rubble. But, we know that the hole will return before the spring thaw is truly under way. It’s even a guarantee that after they make a really good go at it over the summer, involving backhoes, bubbling ooze and jackhammers, the problem really hasn’t been fixed. The very pretty square chopped into the middle of the road will fall apart under the next winter’s assault.

So, take this from somebody who knows just a little bit about roads: The only thing that will guarantee that we will not see a repeat of Sunday’s marathon driver interview special is a complete resurfacing job at Daytona. NOW. I just hope the powers that be don’t decide that the repair was not part of the approved 2010 fiscal budget. I’m not looking forward to watching July’s Coke Zero 400 finish in the dawn’s early light.

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