NASCAR: Speedway fixes 'Dale's Dip'

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 26, 2007

Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas Motor Speedway completed a project Friday to alleviate “Dale’s Dip” — a 200-foot section of track between Turns 1 and 2 that got its name after complaints by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. last fall.

The process to “pump up” the surface below the track and raise targeted areas was expected to take only two days, but wasn’t finished until Friday. The depth of the dip over the track’s south tunnel was no more than two inches at any point.

Before the Nextel Cup race last November at Texas, the 11/2-mile track where Earnhardt got his first Cup and Busch victories, the driver expressed concern about the section. He said it would “hold this place back for years to come” if not repaired.

“While Junior’s comments at the time surprised me since he never mentioned it before, it was a concern and we thought it would only be appropriate to investigate the issue further,” TMS president Eddie Gossage said this week.

After the November race, which completed the track’s 10th season of racing, Gossage spoke with several drivers, team owners and NASCAR officials about Earnhardt’s concerns and “decided it would be beneficial to alleviate the dip as much as possible.”

The process involved drilling 15-20 half-inch holes, inserting copper tubes through the asphalt into the soil below and then injecting a special structure urethane.

Despite his complaint about the dip, Earnhardt also called TMS “a fun race track.” His seven top-10 finishes, including his victory in 2000, are more than any other Cup driver in the 12 Texas races. The Samsung 500 is April 15.