NASCAR’s new Air Titan track-drying system is drawing attention from other sports.
Air Titan uses compressed air to move water off the track and then dry the surface. With two sets of four vehicles running in a staggered pattern, NASCAR said it can dry a track in just one pass.
Not all tracks have taken advantage of its availability because of the “cost issue,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said, but told sports leaders Friday in New York that other sports have expressed an interest in the technology.
“This technology has other applications, and we knew it would,” France said, noting that he’s already had talks with the U.S. Tennis Association to discuss whether it could be used on hard courts. “It’s a green solution. That’s why the tennis guys are so interested.”
The system was developed and patented by NASCAR, which was seeking a speedier way to make racing surfaces ready. Six of the first nine NASCAR racing weekends have been hit by rain this season, and France said that when a race is moved to Monday, the financial loss is from $7 million to $8 million.
“When that happens, you lose your audience,” he said.
The Air Titan system was on display extensively at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Friday when rains came. Air Titan was close to having the track ready for a Nationwide race at about 8 p.m., when the sky opened again, causing another extensive delay.
Besides working faster, Air Titan also is receiving high grades for its efficiency, which NASCAR says uses only a fraction of the fuel and leaves only a fraction of the ecological footprint that jet driers do.
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