Brian Vickers heads to Kentucky Speedway this weekend for some Saturday night racing in the bluegrass state. Despite a wreck during a tire test at the speedway Vickers seems ready to take his No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine back to the track.
This Saturday Kentucky plays host to the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.
During a May tire test for Goodyear at the track, which bills itself as the “Roughest Track” in NASCAR, Vickers suffered a wreck which was caused by a broken wheel. The wreck came during the test as Vickers worked his way through turn three. While Vickers says that the wreck caused no serious bodily damage he does admit that racing on a 1.5 mile track that is proud of being the roughest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit can be hard work.
According to Vickers, of Michael Waltrip Racing, Saturday night’s race is going to be about negotiating the rough asphalt surface and surviving 400 miles of close, high-speed racing. The MWR driver also thinks that it may be time for the track, which opened in 2000 with an ARCA Racing Series race, to undergo some repaving.
Time For Change?
Vickers voices a growing concern that may in the industry may have been thinking for a couple of years. While many drivers and teams may see a challenge in trying to figure out the track and how to set up a race car for an event there others are beginning to question if the time for a new surface may have already arrived.
Vickers spoke about the track in detail this week:
“It’s an extremely rough race track. I broke a wheel last time I was there so that tells you it’s pretty rough. I like tracks with some bumps and character, but Kentucky is really rough.
"I think it is time for a repave. On the straightaways your head is moving back and forth so much it gives you a headache. We did the Goodyear tire test there in May and we certainly learned a few things. But, this weekend it’s going to be a tough track for everyone.”
A possible reason for delaying a repaving project at Kentucky Speedway over the last couple of seasons is pretty easy to understand. The track was still relatively new when ARCA opened up things. Then came NASCAR with several races in Nationwide and the Camping World Truck Series. As lawsuits between former owners settled down the move to add more seating and improved fan areas, driver and garage facilities moving forward.
Then it happened. In 2012 prior to the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track the facility saw improvements in everything a fan could want… except for a way to get to the track.
With crowds almost doubling for a race weekend no one at the state or local level really took into consideration improvements that needed to be made to area roads and infrastructure. A traffic jam opened up the race weekend with an estimated twenty thousand fans missing the race while stuck in traffic.
Since then the track, and local governments, have worked hard to improve the way fans enter and exit the track grounds and area. With all of that going on the last thing on the list would be repaving the track. Vickers understands but thinks it’s about time a new surface was put into place at Kentucky. After a tire test wreck; he’s probably right.