Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, said that drivers were consulted about the chances to Atalanta Motor Speedway.
The 2022 version of the track will include an increase in banking in the turns from 24 to 28 degrees. Additionally, the repaving portion of the project is set to be decreased by the width of the 1.54-mile track from 55 feet to 52 on the front stretch, 42 on the backstretch, and 40 on the turns.
Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin were not happy with the changes made to the track and hit out at the authorities for not taking drivers’ opinions.
However, contrary to such claims. Smith said that drivers were consulted for the changes.
“You think about what do we do when we design a track and think about how we improve a track,” he said. “All the time we are talking to drivers, we’re talking to Goodyear, NASCAR, partners at NBC and the fans to look at the kind of racing that we’re producing, the kind of competition, the entertainment factor. Everything about a race comes into play when we really analyze a race weekend.
“We definitely talked to drivers. We’re talking to engineers. The pavement technology, there’s so much that goes into it. It’s not just one conversation here and one conversation there. It’s really a months- and years-long process of deciding what the perfect geometry is and the pavement makeup to renovate a track like Atlanta Motor Speedway.”
Smith also said that to identify the most suitable renovation plans for the track, iRacing was used to simulate track configurations.
“Working with iRacing and NASCAR, we took all the metics from the existing Next Gen cars and plugged that into the iRacing computer engine and took all the data we had so far with Atlanta Motor Speedway current and the new planned Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“We actually tweaked it as we went along. … It’s been 10 months of development virtually, and it’s been a great process to come up with this new track profile during that process.
“To your question of how do you do that with a new car, it’s amazing what you can do with data today. With NASCAR’s help, all the data about the new car that is known to date is plugged into the iRacing computer to make these kind of decisions happen and come to life.”
The CEO said that the track had to be repaved as it was the second-oldest asphalt racing surface on the circuit.