DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Days after an 18-inch long hole on the second turn twice interrupted the Daytona 500, workers began to fill the pothole at Daytona International Speedway with concrete.
Work in the second turn started on Wednesday. The hole will be filled with reinforced concrete, track president Robin Braig said. It will be the first step in a permanent solution, which might include repaving the 2.5-mile track.
"This is the correct course of action to repair the track," Braig said. "Our team of engineers and asphalt specialists with North American Testing Corp. has previous experience with concrete being used on an asphalt track and it is a proven solution."
A pair of red-flag periods lasted 2 hours, 25 minutes and prompted millions of fans to turn away from the race on television. Thousands of fans also left the track, including the father of the eventual race winner, Jamie McMurray.
Daytona's problems weren't new to racing, other track operators said. But the combination of wet ground and cold temperatures wouldn't allow customary remedies to work.
"You get holes in the track all the time," said Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark. "That's nothing new. They had some pretty tough circumstances. Every track is prepared for something like that. What they had to fix it usually works."
Clark said tracks in the Speedway Motorsports Inc. family, including his, talked Monday morning to make sure they were better prepared for the unexpected.
"It's nothing new to go out and make a patch after a race," Clark said. "By the next morning, it's good as new. It happens all the time."
Atlanta also has several ways to fix potholes, Clark said. He hopes his crews won't have to test them when the series comes to his track on March 7 for the Kobalt 500.
Clark said one of the biggest challenges to a racetrack is that the front bumpers and large studs under the doors of the 3,450-pound Sprint Cup Series cars often bounce on the pavement, tearing at the asphalt.
"Look at all the damage to the front splitters (bumpers) after the Daytona 500. They were torn up," Clark said. "The track takes a beating."