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Daytona to get new surface

Daytona 500 start 2010Daytona International Speedway is set to be repaved in time for next year's NASCAR season opener, track officials have announced.

Following disruption to the Daytona 500 this year due to a hole in the asphalt, which caused the race to be stopped twice for a total of more than two hours, the track's owners have decided to lay down a new surface two years ahead of their original plan.

Work on the 2.5-mile tri-oval is set to start following the second NASCAR event of the year at the track in July, so that it is ready in January 2011 in order to allow Goodyear to test the new asphalt before selecting the tyre specification for next year's Daytona 500.

"We just can't risk it," said the track's president Robin Braig. "It's the Daytona 500. We owe it to NASCAR and our TV partners. We can't risk it again. There was only one window to do it, immediately following the Coke Zero 400. We probably couldn't have done it before July."

Braig also confirmed that there are no plans to alter the current 31-degree banking in the corners, one of the track's trademarks.

Since this year's Daytona 500, the hole at Turn 2 has been fixed by making a concrete patch, which officials are confident will last the distance of the summer events, when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series compete at the track again.

Double Daytona winner Dale Earnhardt Jr is in favour of the change, which he expects to give the track a "facelift" for next year's season opener.

"I think is it a good choice to put a new surface down," said Earnhardt. "The old surface was a lot of fun, but it is kind of getting past its prime I think. The sooner we get a new surface down that can get some weather on it, the quicker we will get to the kind of race track that everybody wants.

"It is one of the most popular and important tracks on our circuit. I'm glad to see it get a facelift. It should be a lot of fun when we go back there. It should be a really good looking track and surface when we get back there."

The planned repave will only be the second in the history of the track since it opened in 1959. The last time the track was resurfaced was back in 1978.

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