Friday, April 9, 2010

Daytona pothole: Is repaving next?

The pothole on your commute never got this kind of scrutiny.

But when engineers analyzed the 9-inch by 15-inch hole that disrupted this year's Daytona 500, they turned up familiar culprits: Cold weather, water and wear and tear.

Now speedway officials say they'll know in a matter of weeks whether the entire track needs repaving sooner than 2012, as originally planned.

In a conference call this week, International Speedway Corporation president John Saunders said he is confident the pothole patch will hold up, but officials won't know for a couple of weeks if repaving needs to be accelerated.

"The upper portion of that racetrack is roughly 32 years old. The bottom piece, the base, is as old as the racetrack is," Saunders said. "It's over 52 years old."

Saunders said a preliminary analysis found three things caused the pothole. An unusually cold Florida winter, moisture below the surface and cars bottoming out immediately before the pothole.

The damage forced two delays to the February race. Track officials apologized for the incident, which sent many fans home early.

- Doug Miller

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