NASCAR unveiled more information regarding it’s new track drying system on Tuesday, the new system, titled “Air Titan” is phase 1 of Brian France’s vision to dramatically decrease the time it takes to dry the track after it rains. The system runs on diesel fuel, which will be better on the environment as it burns about 100 gallons in nine to ten hours while Jet fuel burns at a rate of about 100 gallons per hour.
The “Air Titan” will be ready during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, if it is needed.
Director of Racing Operations, Steve O’ Donnell explained how “Air Titan” will work.
He said that there will be two sets of identical equipment on opposite sides of the track that will move in the same direction which will do one complete pass of the race track. Compressors feed air at a high rate of speed and through a hose to the modules on the Air Titan, then the Air Titan is able to blow air in narrow, highly pressurized sheets over the race surface down to the apron. On the apron there will be regenerative air vacuum trucks provided by Elgin which absorb the water. Jet dryers will will follow behind each cycle that will move at a rate of speed of 3-5 miles per hour.
He stressed that it will be important for them to maintain a consistent speed during the drying process.
O’Donnell did not have a time frame for when Air Titan would be available at every track,”There’s still some challenges there and some logistical challenges depending on where we’re racing. We’ve still got to work through those. We’ve got some relationships to develop for the racetracks, and once those are in place, we feel confident that we’ll get there.” he said.
“I can tell you that the priority for us is obviously our racetracks and our fans, so as soon as we can, we’ll obviously deploy it to every track as soon as we can.”
France’s ultimate goal is to have Air Titan reduce track drying time by 80%. O’Donnell estimates Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval could be dried in 30 minutes.
Last years Daytona 500 was the first to be delayed by rain. When the race finally started on Monday night, Juan Pablo Montoya ran into a jet dryer spilling fuel all over the race track. O’Donnell said he hopes that one day Air Titan will be able to remove debris but for now jet dryers will still be used.
Photos courtesy of: Mike Meadows/ISC