Hoosier Tire, ARCA prepare for first race on new Michigan surface
(BROOKLYN, Mich.) Thursday, April 12, 2012 - Representatives from Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards visited Michigan International Speedway today to conduct a tire test on the two-mile oval's new surface, paved last October.
CGH Motorsports driver Chad Hackenbracht, who currently stands third in series points, was ARCA's driver representative at the test. The Friday, June 15 RainEater Wiper Blades 200 at Michigan will be ARCA's first event at the track since the repaving, and the first stock car race contested on the new surface.
Last fall's repaving was the fourth for MIS, which was built in 1968. After repaves in 1977, 1986, and 1995, the complete surface makeover was the first in 16 years. Hoosier Racing Tire is accustomed to preparing different tire compounds for the wide variety of tracks - speedways, short tracks, dirt tracks, and a road course - on the annual ARCA schedule, and an essentially new track provides another challenge altogether. It's not one, however, for which the tire maker is unprepared.
Hoosier sent seven people, including four engineers, to Michigan to collect data at today's eight-hour test, and the group offered a variety of tire compounds for Hackenbracht to test on a clear day with moderate temperatures.
"We're pleasantly surprised," said Doug Barnes, Hoosier product manager for the ARCA Racing Series. "Any time you go to a newly-paved track you expect to see high heat and high wear, but we're not really seeing that here compared to what we've seen elsewhere.
"We haven't made a final decision about the compound we'll use for the open test and race, but it will be similar to what we've run before. We'll use variations of that based on what we project would work for the new paved surface."
ARCA Racing Series teams have adjusted to a full track repaving as recently as last season, as Daytona International Speedway received a new surface for the 2011 season opener. So far, Hoosier and ARCA have shared success in reacting to other track surface changes, and today's test was another step in maintaining that record.
"This is the responsible thing for us to do as the sanctioning body with our tire partner," said Ron Drager, president and CEO of ARCA. "Hoosier builds great tires and adapts well, and together we've prepared successfully for similar changes at other facilities in the past. We appreciate Michigan International Speedway's commitment to improving its world-class facility, as well as their assistance in allowing this research and development to take place before we return for our open test in May and the race in June."
ARCA and Hoosier will also hold private tire tests at Pocono Raceway and Kansas Speedway later this year. Pocono is in the final stages of its repave work, and work will begin at Kansas after the racing events there this month.
Milling of Michigan's surface began last August, with just under an inch of asphalt removed from the top of the track. The project required three inches of pavement to be laid down, in two equal layers; as such, the track now stands just over two inches higher than it did previously.
In all, 22,000 tons of asphalt was placed on the surface, enough to construct over five miles of a two-lane road.