NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 73: Eddie Gossage on Texas repaving and driver rivalries

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Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage stood on his fresh coat of asphalt in February and liked what he saw – or more specifically, what he couldn’t see.

The view of the new pavement, which should alleviate several years of drainage problems, was particularly pleasing staring into the first corner of the 1.5-mile oval.

“I can stand on the front straight, look into Turn 1 and have no earthly idea what the line is because it’s so wide,” Gossage said on a new episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast that was released Wednesday. “It definitely looks different.”

As part of an offseason repaving project, the banking in the first two turns was reduced from 24 to 20 degrees and the surface was widened from 50 to 85 feet wide. Meanwhile, the 24-degree banking and dimensions were kept the same the other two turns.

Gossage said the idea for distinct turns came from Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., parent company of the Texas track.

“By cutting the banking in 1 and 2, if you can get your car to run good through 1 and 2, it won’t run good through 3 and 4,”Gossage said. “It gives people passing opportunities. At least, that’s the theory.”

Gossage also discussed the difficulty in kick-starting rivalries in NASCAR, saying it was partly because of sponsorship, partly because of NASCAR penalties and partly because drivers are parked next to each other weekly in their motorhomes.

“It’s hard to hate the guy parked next to you,” Gossage said. “Because your wives like each other, and you’re all going to have dinner tonight and cook out a couple of steaks. It’s hard to have that rivalry.

“It may sound silly, but it’s a reality. They see each other every day of the year. It’s tough to hate your next-door neighbor.”

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