Georgetown Speedway ‘Raises the Boom’ On Excitement With New Progressive Banking For 2018
GEORGETOWN, DE – Georgetown Speedway is ‘raising the boom’ on excitement for the 2018 season – literally.
An extensive off-season project has seen progressive banking put in place at the historic half-mile oval with more than 200 loads of fresh clay hauled in by Melvin L. Joseph Construction Company Inc. Both sets of corners feature flat inside lanes, with banking increased to the top of the track where it is steepest.
“We’re always looking to make our racing better each season,” speedway promoter Brett Deyo said. “Across the country, tracks with progressive banking produce some exciting, multi-groove racing. We’re hoping for three or more usable lanes with the new configuration.”
In the early years following its construction in 1949, Georgetown Speedway featured banked corners. Over time, various promotional groups cut down the banks – particularly in turns one and two.
“Some of the fans and racers who have been around the area for a long time have stopped to look at what we’ve been working on,” Deyo said. “They’re all smiling ear-to-ear saying the track right now is as close as it’s ever been to the original construction.”
The project began in the first and second turns by steeply increasing the banking. Additionally, the exit of turn two was widened by approximately 12 feet and the transition off the backstretch eased.
Turns three and four – which had been the more significantly banked corner – had clay added to the outside lanes.
Run-offs were built on both ends of the speedway with safety in mind should a driver slide off the top of the racing surface.
“During the last two summers, we hosted Ken Schrader for a Federated Auto Parts day and he took hundreds of laps around the speedway,” Deyo said. “We talked extensively and he told me, ‘On a track this size, you need to give racers a reason to run the outside because it’s that much further around.’ He applauded the work we had done from the first year and we took his advice to make it even better.”
On Saturday afternoon, Northeast superstar Stewart Friesen made the haul from Sprakers, N.Y., to become the first driver to test the new banking and surface. Friesen brought a pair of Halmar International No. 44 Modifieds to Delaware.
Friesen and his assembled crew spent approximately five hours turning laps around the half-mile oval.
The 34-year-old said the changes to the track were noticeable and positive.
“It’s really awesome,” Friesen said. “You can see how much wider it is on both ends. Turns one and two is completely different. You can run hard into the corner on the outside line and stay up there all the way to the backstretch. The banking helps set the car straight and keep you in the throttle. That’s huge for side-by-side racing.”
Friesen said the additional clay and increased elevation was noticeable.
“Just looking at it, the banking is evident,” he said. “It also defines the bottom edge of the track more. It’s going to be fast!”
Despite completing the project less than 12 hours in advance of Friesen’s arrival, the speedway was in ideal condition for the test.
“It really held up well,” Friesen said. “It was smooth and you could move around on it. As the day went on it started getting black which is a good sign; it glazes over and that will help with multiple lanes. It’s hard to believe the track is this nice in January.”
Another season of high-profile special events is slated for Georgetown Speedway in 2018.
The first on-track activity is slated for Saturday, March 10 with an open practice session.
A two-day Melvin L. Joseph Memorial Weekend ‘officially’ kicks it off Friday-Saturday March 16-17. Friday night is comprised of a $4,049-to-win small-block Modified 30-lap main, RUSH Crate Late Models vying for $1,049 in a 20-lap event, Delmarva Chargers, Delaware Super Trucks and practice for divisions competing on Saturday.
The Saturday program is topped by the 50th race in Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco history, a 49-lap, $6,949-to-win program which kicks off the Velocita-USA South Region championship battle. The first-ever STSS L&J Sheet Metal Crate 602 Sportsman main ($1,049 to win), Delmarva Chargers, Delaware Super Trucks, Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Cars and Little Lincolns complete the program.