LaJoie made the comments during the September 21 episode of the “Stacking Pennies” podcast. He explained that dirty air is a problem at Texas Motor Speedway. He also indicated that the previous changes to the track were not ideal.
“First off, can I make a case that we should reconfigure Texas?” LaJoie asked during the podcast. “Because ever since 2016, they messed it up. I think that they had an idea that if they made like [Turns] 1 and 2 wide and flatter, they would have more grooves.
“I don’t know why they would think that, but I think that they obviously didn’t really have a couple whiskeys and talk that one through when they got the excavators out. But Texas was also built — the walls were also built — in a way to accommodate the most banking on the schedule. I think Turns 3 and 4 is like 28 [degrees], maybe 27-28 degrees.”
LaJoie continued and explained he has heard some “murmurs” about changes. He said that Texas could have more banking than the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway, which would be “bada**.” Atlanta currently has 30-degree banking, and LaJoie specifically mentioned 32 degrees when discussing Texas Motor Speedway.
LaJoie Doesn’t Exactly Want Another Superspeedway
One potential option that has been thrown around is to turn Texas Motor Speedway into another mini-superspeedway, much like Speedway Motorsports did with Atlanta Motor Speedway. LaJoie said that he doesn’t necessarily want this, but he also acknowledged that 32-degree banking leads to this type of racing.
What LaJoie wants, as he explained, is a high-speed track with multiple grooves. He also wants the banking so that the drivers can move around and use the top, the middle, and the bottom while occasionally having to lift off of the gas. LaJoie also wants to remove some of the dirty air that has an effect on him and other teams.
“Banking essentially takes away all the detrimental effects of dirty air away, within reason,” LaJoie said. “But the flatter the track is, the more you rely on the air to keep the car pushed on the race track. The more banking the track’s got, the less air you’re worried about trying to keep the car on the race track.”
Texas Motor Speedway Underwent a Major Change in 2017
The 1.5-mile track in Texas underwent a significant change for the 2017 Cup Series season. Speedway Motorsports repaved the track and reconfigured Turns 1 and 2. The banking went from 24 degrees down to 20 while the width increased by 20 feet.
The main reason for the repave was to erase some of the drainage issues that had resulted in delayed races for both the Cup Series and IndyCar Series. The construction crews put in a massive drainage system while also repaving the track with an asphalt mix similar to both Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Along with the addition of the drainage system, Speedway Motorsports and Texas Motor Speedway also reconfigured the sections of the track. These changes, interestingly enough, came after part-time driver Parker Kligerman wrote an open letter to then-track president Eddie Gossage and called for some bold moves.
“I always have wondered why we couldn’t get crazy and unique with track design, so let’s start with Texas,” Kligerman wrote in 2016. “Take the sweeping, wide-open third and fourth turns and reshape them narrowly like Martinsville (while keeping Turns 1 and 2 the same).
“Imagine cars that brake and downshift three gears every lap and then accelerate through the gears on the frontstretch. The drivers truly will earn their money, and fans will get something you can’t see anywhere else.”