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Add Pocono to the list of NASCAR tracks soon to boast new asphalt

   That's right, the big Cats are ripping up Pocono's asphalt, preparing for a major repaving job for next June's NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 (Photo: Pocono Raceway)


   By Mike Mulhern


   KANSAS CITY, Kansas
   When NASCAR drivers arrived at Pocono Raceway for next June's Pocono 400, they'll have a big, big surprise.
   The new boss at Pocono Speedway is wasting no time making big changes in the New York City-Philadelphia market track.
   Brandon Igdalsky, grandson of the man who built the track some 40 years ago, Dr. Joe Mattioli, just took over in August, and first thing he cut the 500-milers back to 400, as requested by drivers.
   Now Igdalsky is having the entire 2-1/2-mile track repaved.

   Safer barriers have come down, pit wall has been removed. This week the track is being heavily milled down, and already Igdalsky says most of the old asphalt has been ground off.
   It's the first repave since 1995, and it should definitely change the character of the track, which has been one of the bumpiest on the NASCAR tour.
   One big issue, of course in the Pocono Mountains, is weather. There was light snow over the past few days in fact.
   Igdalsky says all the banking will remain the same, and the track's unique three-corner configuration will not be changed, though Igdalsky says he did look at that.
   The game plan is to get the track repaved in two stages: from now till the weather stops work, and then again in the spring, with the goal of being ready for tire testing sometime in mid-April. The Sprint Cup tour will have an off-week in early April for East, then resuming at Texas and Kansas.
   Kansas and Michigan are also being repaved. Kansas will be repaved next year; Michigan is currently being repaved. And Phoenix has just been repaved; stock car teams have been there this week testing for the November race weekend.
   And Watkins Glen president Michael Printup says he wants to repave that New York road course, though a specific date isn't clear.
   Pocono is one of the few independently owned tracks on the NASCAR tour. Kansas, Michigan, Phoenix and Watkins Glen are all owed by the France family's International Speedway Corp.


      A lot of rock and asphalt to dig up at Pocono. New pit road wall coming too (Photo: Pocono Raceway)

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