Well, that didn't take long: just hours after racing concluded at Michigan International Speedway, crews began taking down the SAFER barriers around the two-mile oval to prepare for the upcoming track repave.
Crews will remove more than 5,500 feet of SAFER barrier (though we can name a driver or two who could probably do it faster), and nearly 650,000 square feet of asphalt will be torn up shortly afterward. The top three-quarters of an inch will be removed, and a 1.5-inch dual layer of asphalt will be laid down. The $7 million project will be handled by Ajax Paving Industries, which has handled several track repaves, including Phoenix International Raceway.
The eternal question, of course, is whether repaving makes racing better. Recent repaves at Talladega and Daytona have led to the dreaded two-by-two racing, and that well could be the case at Michigan as well. So you've got that to look forward to; we won't know for certain how the track will run until everyone arrives there next June.
One element to consider before you scream about the changes in racing brought about by repaves: it can open the door to more potential winners. And considering the fact that fans stayed away in droves this year, and the track is nestled in the heart of auto country, MIS could use any kind of boost it could get.
The project will begin in September. And in sharp contrast to tracks where drivers are still running on decades-old asphalt, this is the fourth time the 43-year-old track has been repaved, the most recent coming in 1995.