High Plains Raceway Plans Major Repaving Project Fall 2017!

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Since its inception, the member clubs of Colorado Amateur Motorsport Associates (CAMA) have endeavored to provide the amateur racers in Colorado and beyond with a premier racing facility close to the Denver metro area.  What started as an idea in the summer of 2003 matured into a truly unique accomplishment.  In the spring of 2009 CAMA opened High Plains Raceway, the first and only racing facility in the United States that was 100% conceived, designed, financed, built, owned and operated by a group of amateur clubs.  Throughout its first nine seasons of operations HPR has continued to improve in order to be Colorado’s premier racing facility.  Additions have included:

  • Bathroom and shower trailers
  • Shaded gathering and viewing areas
  • Carports
  • RV pedestals
  • Concessions facilities
  • Corner safety lights
  • Closed circuit cameras
  • Dedicated fire/rescue equipment
  • Towing equipment
  • Hot pit lighting, paved entry road and much, much more

In the background, however, plans were being made and funds set aside in order to make sure that we are being good stewards of the one thing that makes High Plains Raceway what it is, the one reason we all look forward to making that trip to our favorite playground an hour east of Denver – the track itself.

It is with great pleasure that CAMA announces the first major repaving project at High Plains Raceway.  This project will result in new polymerized asphalt covering the full width of over 65% of the 2.55 mile full course and both of the “crossover” sections.  As a result of this new pavement, participants will likely experience reduced tire wear, better traction, a smoother surface and (most importantly!) lower lap times.  We hope that the new surface will also insure our long term financial success by rejuvenating excitement for clubs, racers and driving enthusiasts to visit and experience all that High Plains Raceway has to offer.

The diagram below illustrates what sections of the track will be new in 2018.

Portions of the track in black will be resurfaced with new polymerized asphalt the full width of the track.  The portions of the track in orange will remain the original surface.

This project will involve milling off one-half inch of the old surface in order to prepare for the new asphalt.  A one-and-a-half-inch layer of new asphalt will then be placed on top, adding one-inch of thickness to the surface overall.  This additional thickness will add strength and longevity to the racing surface.  Where the original paving was done with non-polymerized asphalt (due to circumstances beyond our control), the new surface will be polymerized.  The addition of the polymer helps the asphalt resist the high shear forces present in racing that normal streets and highways don’t experience, further adding to the life of the new surface.  The one-inch difference between the new and old surfaces will be tapered out over 150’ of track and will be barely perceptible.  The existing curbs will be raised via “mud-jacking” to the new level of the racing surface.

To accomplish this project, High Plains Raceway will be closing on October 16, 2017 and will remain closed until at least the end of December to allow the new pavement to cure.  Re-opening plans will be announced later in the year.

On behalf of the CAMA board of directors and the management of High Plains Raceway I would like to express our sincere thanks to the members of the CAMA clubs and to anyone who has ever participated in or even spectated one of our racing events, driving schools or open lapping days.  YOU are the reason this track is here.  YOU are the reason it has been an amazing success.  YOU are the reason we are so excited to announce this project and present to you the NEW HIGH PLAINS RACEWAY!

Glenn Conser

General Manager

High Plains Raceway


Question:  Why not pave the entire track? 

Answer:  In a word – money.  Since the track opened we have been committed to saving money for repaving.  When the clubs rent the track, in addition to the usual charges they also pay a “repaving surcharge” based on the number of vehicles that use the track each day.  In addition to that, a percentage of each lapping day fee collected goes towards repaving as well.  These funds are set aside in an account that is restricted to being spent on nothing but maintenance of the racing surface (or the curbs, runoff areas, etc).  This is a significant project and not only will it consume 100% of the money in the restricted fund it will also consume a fair amount of the excess funds in our general savings as well.  Essentially, this is the most we can repave without putting the track in financial jeopardy by depleting our cash reserves below an unsafe level.

Question:  How did you determine which sections to pave?

Answer:  Our goal was to address the areas of the track that are in the most need of repair.  Turns 6, 8 and 13 were the worst of them all, having become a series of patches, and seams, and more patches and more seams, so they were the primary concern.  There is also a drainage issue in turn 2 that needs to be addressed, and the bump at the end of the back straight (which has been mitigated successfully, but isn’t 100% cured).  Obviously the corners wear faster than the straights so we started focusing on which were worn the most and the scope of the project kept increasing.  With increasing amounts of asphalt comes lower costs per unit so it came down to how much can we afford.  This project represents putting a new surface on nearly every corner on the track.  The only turns that will not be new are 9a, 9b and 12.  Because these are relatively gentle turns they have experienced less wear and are still in very good shape.

Question:  Why pave the crossovers that see far less use than the rest of the track?  Why not leave them and pave 9a, 9b and 12?

Answer:  Because we are adding an inch of thickness to the surface, the transition from the old to the new needs to be tapered out over 150′ of distance so it isn’t too abrupt.  The crossover from 8 to 13 is barely 350′ long, so having a 150′ tapered section on each end means only 50′ in the middle is left.  The 4s to 8 crossover is less than 500′ long.  The time and costs involved in the precision milling necessary to create the tapers means it’s cheaper to just pave them.

Question:  Yeah, yeah, yeah….so, when can we drive on it???

Answer:  The longer the pavement cures before being stressed, the longer it will last.  Barring any surprises with the weather the paving will be completed before Halloween and the track will be closed until after Christmas.  We’ll have more information about reopening as the time gets closer.

Question:  So, how much is this costing the track?  Will the prices go up next year?

Answer:  The total cost is…a lot.  Roughly the price of a very nice house in the suburbs.  It’s a fact of life that things get more expensive each year, and yes, there will be an increase in 2018.  The clubs that rent the track will see an increase that is inline with what they’ve seen each year since we opened, and there will be an increase in the repaving surcharge they pay so that we can be ready to do this again when it is eventually needed.  Lapping day fees will increase as well, only our second increase since the track opened in 2009.  From 2009 – 2013 the online price for a half day of lapping was $90.  In 2014 it was increased to $100.  This year it will increase to $120, with most of the increase going towards a greater percentage of the fee being set aside in the repaving fund.  While this may seem like a steep increase, over the life of the facility it represents an increase of less than 3.3% per year.  Hopefully we can all agree that increases are justified over time if having a rejuvenated facility when needed is the end result.

Question:  What if I bought a prepaid lapping day card and was planning to use it after October 16?

Answer:  All 2017 lapping day cards will be honored through March 25, 2018.

10/16/07 Day One Progress

Honestly, there’s nothing terribly exciting to report.  The first step of the project is to raise via “mudjacking” (courtesy of Brian at Advanced Mudjacking) the existing curbs in the areas where the new asphalt will go in.  This is because the new asphalt will add 1″ of thickness to the overall surface, and raising the existing curbs is a hell of a lot easier and less expensive than removing and replacing the curbs!  They are working their way around and have a head start on the grinding crews who will start Wednesday morning.

Here are pics of the end result.

10/17/17 Day Two Progress

Once again, nothing terribly exciting.  The mudjacking continued and is ahead of schedule.  They had a previous commitment for 10/18 so they will not be here Wednesday but we knew ahead of time and built that into the timeline so it’s not a big deal.  However, what DOES start tomorrow is the milling process and this is when big changes happen (and is also a definite point of no return, so please keep your fingers crossed for good weather over the next 7-8 days!).  Like the mudjacking, they will start in Turn 1 and work their way around the track.  All the milling should take three days, but they’ve set aside Saturday in case it runs long.  Sunday is a day off and the paving starts Monday.

Here are a couple pics of the curb in Turn 10.

More tomorrow!