New Dryer Technology To Appear in DaytonaBy Christopher Kimball
Technology has become synonymous with racing. We see it in the changes NASCAR has made in the cars over the years, in the tech process, communications, even the “world’s biggest television” that Bruton Smith installed on the backstretch at Charlotte Motor Speedway just a couple of seasons ago. Why wouldn’t we expect to see it in track drying process?
This year, one of the things we are going to see change is the gradual replacement of the jet dryers that NASCAR has been using to dry the track after rain delays or storms over the speedways.
In a press conference during this year’s Media Tour, NASCAR CEO Brian France and President Mike Helton announced NASCAR’s plan to unveil a system that will dry the track as much as “80 percent” faster. Really? No more sitting around watching the dryers go ‘round and ‘round the track for two-plus hours because a shower passed over? This is welcome news to many, I would think.
The new system uses compressed air to sort of “squeegee off the water” rather than blowing super-heated air onto the track surface.
“It’s designed to expedite, obviously, the removal of water using compressed air and heat,” Helton said, “where the jet dryers were simply designed around blowing and depended more on hot air. The new system depends more on compressed air.”
“Appearance wise it’s considerably different. It’s a gain of pipes behind a pickup truck that the air is being pushed through as opposed to a jet dryer,” said Helton.
Whether or not the new system will truly dry tracks as large as Daytona in 30 to 40 minutes as some would have us believe remains to be seen, but I am sure fewer noisy, hot jet dryers on the track will be welcomed by fans and drivers alike, including Juan Pablo Montoya.
For those of us that remember the days of trucks parading around the track, some pulling old tires behind them, and taking hours to dry the surface, the jet dryers were a welcome change. High-pressure air and 30-minute drying times; well, that is what dreams are made of for many avid NASCAR fans.