On the heels of Air Titan, NASCAR's new track drying system that was just expanded to the entire Sprint Cup Series circuit for the 2014 season, there's now Air Titan 2.0.
Yes, there's really a decimal there.
When announcing the newer version of Air Titan, which will be a self-contained unit on the back of a Toyota Tundra truck. Because it's smaller than the previous version, the sanctioning body says that more units can be used at each track and drying time can be cut 25-50 percent and less fuel will be used.
But it's 25-50 percent of what?
When the original Air Titan was introduced, NASCAR said that it hoped to cut track drying time by up to 80 percent on previous track drying efforts with jet dryers. That was obviously a long-term goal, and one that still seems to be far in the future.
February's Daytona 500 was delayed by rain and after the rain finally stopped, it took 2 hours and 15 minutes to dry the track with Air Titan and assorted jet dryers. Based off NASCAR's original estimate at last February's annoucement, track-drying time at Daytona with jet dryers was 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Yes, for all of the hoopla surrounding Air Titan, it was a 15 minute reduction. Taking the best-case 50 percent from that, it's still a dry time of over an hour at Daytona. NASCAR CEO Brian France's bold proclamation of a 30-minute drying time at Daytona is still a long way off. Heck, some tracks still have never had an Air Titan on its premises yet.
Any efforts to help reduce track drying time and get races started and resumed as quickly as possible are noble ones. No one likes waiting around. But the increases in drying efficiency to-date have been modest at best. And if they continue to be modest increases, so be it. Progress is usually measured in small steps rather than giant leaps. It just looks disappointing when we're all being teased about a world-record long jump.
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