After a racing event is complete the thoughts about its success is based on numerous elements. What was the car count? How competitive was the racing? Were there too many delays because of oil downs, crashes, etc.? Did Mother Nature provide pleasant weather conditions?
Often overlooked are the details from behind the scenes. The preparation by the track staff taking care of the “small stuff” goes a long way to making an even successful. Having an adequate and efficient facility will likely be near the top of any list.
Just before Thanksgiving, I headed out to Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio. The track has been undergoing a total renovation. The racing direction has been reversed and rotated slightly from the original path. The pit and spectator areas are completely revised. Forty foot high spectator mounds have been created. This day, November 18 was going to be a critical step toward making the track ready for racing. The concrete pour was on the schedule.
This story is more about what has been happening behind the scenes, planning and construction wise, rather than any future event analysis.
Ron Matcham purchased the track in late 2013. A Christmas Hangover Race was held and that would be it as the re-construction began two months later. An architect’s design and layout provided the starting point. Once the heavy equipment began to move the landscape, there was no turning back. It hasn’t been an easy road as delays seemed to create obstacles on a fairly regular basis. But, anyone who has contracted out the building of their own home, a garage or even a basic kitchen remodel understands the pitfalls of working with contracting delays, material delivery issues and even cash flow problems.
Despite all of the social media badgering, Dragway 42 owner Ron Matcham has steadfastly maintained the project
would be completed – Ron is waving a friendly, “Can you hear me now!” and the Laser Screed operator agrees.
Unfortunately the “experts” on Social Media were having a field day with criticism of the delays and offering solutions for all of the world’s problems. Sadly, those same experts are not often the people who actually make anything happen.
Other than some construction on the tower, the track was quiet during the weekend before the concrete pour
But, on this perfect day in November, the concrete was being poured over the first 660 feet of the track itself along with an additional 110 feet of burnout area. The contractor, Xtreme Elements of Akron, OH, began the pour around 6:00 AM expecting to be done about twelve hours later. By the time this part of the project was complete, there would be 1200 yards of concrete poured, leveled and finished. There were thirty concrete trucks in constant rotation from Medina Supply to the track and back. Roughly 120 yards of concrete was hitting the ground each and every hour.
A full crew of 20-25 workers was on site throughout the day. Xtreme Elements brought their pumper truck to provide a long reach over the re-enforcing wire. They also used their Laser Screed to lay down a racing surface to level within an eighth of an inch. The Laser Screed used a GPS guidance system coupled with the laser features. It was quite the delicate monster to watch in action.
Will the concrete trucks please go to the staging lanes (well, sort of!)
Xtreme Elements Concrete from Akron, OH had multiple pieces of equipment on hand
including a Laser Screed and Pumper Rig
Wire mesh was used to reinforce the concrete
The bulk of the concrete pour was done using the pumper truck because of the long reach
Depending on the workflow, sometimes the concrete was poured directly from the mixer trucks
The concrete pour began before sunrise and was finished after sunset. It was originally scheduled for the following day, Saturday, but colder weather was on the way so it was moved up one day. It was imperative to get the concrete set before freezing weather. On Saturday a large crew of family and friends showed up to help cover the track with straw to insulate the previous day’s concrete work. The racing surface at Dragway 42 is now sort of put to bed for the winter.
In addition to the heavy equipment, here was a full crew working on details that had to be performed by hand