The Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently announced they will repave the legendary 2.5-mile oval with the same asphalt compound used in the state-of-the-art Chicagoland Speedway. According to Kevin Forbes, director of engineering and construction for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the asphalt compound used in the paving of Chicagoland Speedway is a very successful mixture for racing. "Oh, yeah, it is something we've used with virtually every track that's been paved since we repaved in 1995. We learned a lot in '95 and applied it to racetrack pavements at Kansas City and Chicagoland..." Preliminary work is scheduled to begin Aug. 9, the day after the 11th Brickyard 400, and paving should be completed by mid- to late October, Forbes said. The historic oval was last repaved in the fall of 1995. The 2004 repaving will mark the first time the warm-up lanes and current pit lane, which were constructed in 1993 and 1994, respectively, receive new asphalt. In total there will be three or four layers of asphalt applied in the repaving process at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, weighing a total of 36,500 tons. The total area to be paved is 1,085,085 square feet, or 120,565 square yards, and that will be covered either three or four times. Forbes, who will oversee the entire repaving process at Indy, was the special paving consultant at Chicagoland Speedway, which began in September 2000. "What we refer to as a special paving consultant is a person who watches the paving process and helps the paving contractor understand the differences between standard street-and-highway paving and racetrack paving." In its three-year history, the 18-degree banked, 1.5-mile racing surface has already been the site of several historic finishes and close, side-by-side racing. Chicagoland Speedway has had the closest 1-2 finish in IRL IndyCar? Series history (2002), the closest 1-2-3 finish in IndyCar Series history (2003) and the closest 1-2 finish in IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series? history (2003). In 2002, Chicagoland Speedway also set a track record with 19 lead changes during the Tropicana 400, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. Since 2001 drivers have praised Chicagoland Speedway for its grip, smooth transitions and competitive layout. 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart, recently said of Chicagoland Speedway after driving in the Tropicana 400, "...I like this track. It's a racetrack Illinois fans can be proud of. For just its third year, it's a pretty damn good racetrack right now." 1996 IRL IndyCar Series co-champion, Scott Sharp, echoed Stewart?s comments. "This place is awesome! The track is really smooth, which is important for (IndyCar Series cars). It?s extremely fast and the cars get in and out of the corners effortlessly. (Chicagoland Speedway) is very unique because it's almost a continuous oval. Because of that, it gives us the opportunity to pass other cars and race side-by-side."
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