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Floor finishes in 1st place

image Texas Motor Speedway garage floors are race-ready, thanks to the LATICRETE team

DALLAS/FORT WORTH - Hot tires. Hazardous fluids. Heavy equipment. Dropped tools. A racetrack’s garage floor must be able to work as hard as the actual track, and after 20 years, the Texas Motor Speedway’s (TMS) original garage floors had taken a beating.

    Through NASCAR, TMS was introduced to the LATICRETE team, who was confident that they could help the racetrack with a new high-performance floor coating system.
     “There are two 22,000sf garages with bathroom areas, garage areas and technical service bays; TMS was looking at an improvement to the facility, and we had a product that fit very well to that particular surface,” says LATICRETE SUPERCAP president Doug Metchick. “We worked with the Speedway and their facilities people to segment those areas and come up with the flooring system that was going to fit the demanding needs for these race teams who come in and over the course of the weekend really punish the floors.”
    The LATICRETE team installed a SPARTACOTE floor in both the north and south racecar garages, the first-of-its-kind floor at any NASCAR track. The high-traction, non-slip surface features better chemical resistance and long-term durability over traditional epoxy floors.
    “The coating itself is relatively new,” Mike Weiser, LATICRETE Regional SPARTACOTE Product Champion, explains. “This coating chemistry was invented in the 90s, and in relation to all of the different coatings out there, ours is relatively new in the game. It’s an interesting coating because everybody is used to epoxies, which have drawbacks. Our polyaspartics are somewhere between epoxies as far as the build but with the performance of a urethane. You get good abrasion resistance, you get great adhesion and the chemical resistance is incredible. Epoxies like to scratch, and then those scratches turn white. A lot of companies would have to go over it with urethane. SPARTACOTE is a fast cure system so you don’t have to worry about that long drying time. It has more of the characteristics of the urethane so it doesn’t scratch. It also has the pigment and all of the different additives you can put in similar to epoxy.”
    Although both floors needed to be replaced, the team wisely planned for the floor installations to be completed in two phases.  The first garage floor was installed before last November’s AAA O’Reilly 500 NASCAR triple-header weekend; the second garage floor was installed in February. Even though the process for installing the floors was relatively quick (eight days for the first floor and six days for the second), dividing the project into two phases ensured that the project would not be rushed and the finished result would meet the LATICRETE team’s high standards.
    To begin the project, the team first had to assess the original garage floors’ condition.
    “From a planning perspective, the biggest challenge is the condition of the existing slab,” LATICRETE SUPERCAP’s director of marketing Clint Schramm says. “Does it have petroleum or harsh chemical products in it that are going to bleed up and cause a failure? Has it been patched poorly before? Is there moisture in the substrate? What kind of a surface does it have now, and how much prep is that surface going to need? That’s one side of it. On the other side, it’s making people understand – it’s concrete. You’re putting a really resilient surface on it that is going to look great, and that requires that any concrete coating job will require all thorough prep. Fortunately, the existing surface we had to work with was in reasonably good condition.”
    Weiser agrees, and says that this floor installation was a straightforward process.
    “It had an 20-year old epoxy coating on it, so we shot-blasted the floor and removed much of the coating, which popped off pretty quickly,” Weiser says. “We went over it with grinders to smooth out the concrete that was damaged when removing the coating. After we got it relatively smooth, we went over it with a gray primer coat and covered the entire floor. After that was done, we did a second coat of gray, and with polyaspartics, it dries and cures very quickly. With eight people, we were able to put each coat on all 22,000sf in about an hour and a half.”
    After the LATICRETE team addressed the technical part of the project, they had some fun with the cosmetic side of it.
    “We put a totally custom floor together that was bespoke to the Speedway here, using their custom colors and logos. We placed 90 linear feet of TMS logos in strategic areas and mixed and installed their colors down in the major walkways,” Metchick says. “We also designed racecar bay striping, which was the first time they had that on their floor. It was just a gray footprint previously, so we designated individual bays so that teams knew where they were going. We had a lot of fun with the project. TMS management have been great to work with and the racecar teams have given us very positive feedback.”
    The custom garage floors – one red, the other blue – are so sleek and stylish they could stop a racecar in its tracks.
    “[TMS] is very happy about it,” Metchick says. “It’s a very nice showcase of the facility. The Texas Motor Speedway is proud to be the first track in all of NASCAR to have a garage like this, as we are.”
    LATICRETE offers a range of products and systems covering the installation and care of tile, stone and masonry, resinous and decorative floor finishes, concrete construction chemicals and concrete restoration and care including the LATICRETE SUPERCAP system. –mjm


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Melissa Jones-Meyer constructionnewssa@yahoo.com