When it comes to all-star performance on a project, the entire project team delivered — and then some — on this very unusual and demanding project: the installation of a temporary, quarter-mile-long asphalt racetrack for NASCAR in just six weeks — inside the historic LA Memorial Coliseum.
The project team included NASCAR, New Valley Construction (a subsidiary of KBE Building Corporation), and three key trade contractors: Ponce Engineering & Construction, Just Pushing Dirt, and All American Asphalt. The civil engineer designer was Site Design Collaborative.
NASCAR had the racetrack constructed for the kick-off of racing season with its 2022 Busch Light Clash on February 6. This annual event has been hosted at other unusual locations in the past. But the Coliseum site is particularly unique, given the challenges of working within the historic, 100-year-old stadium and protecting the existing arena throughout the course of the work.
The project included laying down 130,000 square feet of plywood to protect the football field. Then came 9,200 cubic yards of sand to help raise the surface of the track. Finally, crews topped the base with 6,800 yards of asphalt to create the quarter-mile racetrack.
Even with a hectic six-week schedule and a bit too much rain, the team had the racetrack ready for the practice run on Saturday, February 5 and for race-day on February 6. The event went off as planned, with many accolades from NASCAR and a lot of national press.
Then, just hours after the last car left the track, the team started tearing it all out!
All demolition was completed on schedule this past weekend. Safety barriers and protective coverings removed. The crushed concrete underlayment and asphalt were milled on site and recycled, an important consideration for NASCAR. In fact, 99% of the materials and products used on this project was either repurposed and/or recycled.
For Martin Flugger, NASCAR’s executive vice president of engineering services, one of his “A-ha” moments during the six-week project was when the team began laying down the asphalt in the stadium.
“I walked out through the tunnel, watching the asphalt go down, the historic peristyle in the background, and I started thinking about all of the historic events that have happened here in this 100-year-old stadium … and now NASCAR is going to be a part of that. Definitely makes you say ‘wow’,” he said.
Flugger says he has worked on a lot of unusual projects during his time at NASCAR, but the LA Memorial Coliseum project was particularly unique.
“As far as building a track and getting it up and running, this was certainly the fastest ever, without a doubt,” Flugger adds. “From a track-build standpoint, this was the shortest track we’ve ever built, the shortest construction schedule, and the shortest life span!”
“What really made this work was our very involved owner, NASCAR, and the outstanding trade contractors we worked with,” says Steve Boscardin, principal of New Valley Construction, the Phoenix-based construction firm that managed the project. “Marty and the NASCAR team were very hands-on throughout, particularly in coordinating the mix for the asphalt paving. The tolerances are very strict when you’re paving a racetrack.”
For New Valley Construction superintendent Edwin Martinez, the racetrack project had many high points and special challenges, from the precision placement of the asphalt on the banked turns to the hour-by-hour schedule coordination that was needed. “But for me, the real difference was walking out into the arena on the day of the event and seeing 50,000 people there. That’s not something you really expect to see at a construction project.”
The New Valley Construction team included Edwin Martinez, Daniel Meija and Steve Boscardin.
Check out NASCAR’s 2022 Busch Light Clash practice day footage at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: