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 Livonia to Return to '91 Layout for 2011?

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Join date : 2009-05-30
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PostSubject: Livonia to Return to '91 Layout for 2011?    Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:45 am

The Subway 200, race 15 of the 2010 AARO Amp Energy Racing Series season, marked the return of the venerable Livonia Raceway to the schedule, something that the fans of the organization were very pleased to see. However, by the time Fred Ritcher returned to victory lane at the track he christened in its famous inaugural race (which was responsible for attracting almost three-quarters of AARO's American fan base), many fans - and drivers - lodged more complaints than praises.

"I'm glad Fred won again and all, but that whole race was a total snoozefest," 47-year-old Ritcher fan John Rumley was quoted as saying upon being interviewed by a local news organization. "They need to do somethin' to the track, I don't know what it is, but it just lost its luster today."

Shawn Glossum, winner at Livonia in 2001 and the ninth-place finisher in this event, was also somewhat critical of the race itself. "It was great to get back to Livonia, seeing everyone lining up at the gates waiting for this, 'cause it kinda reignited the spirit of this whole sport in a way...The problem with the whole thing was that there was just no way to pass, bottom line. It was really just a fuel-mileage race, and that's what happened with...whoever that was in the 5 car, that kid that's hot for Jen Smith... But yeah, the pavement was nothing like it used to be, and I think the fans were pretty disappointed with the way the race turned out."

The debacle led track officials to hold a meeting with the AARO board of directors, as well as several drivers and owners, to discuss possibilities for improving the overall racing product at one of the AARO's most storied facilities. One of the possibilities that has been tossed around is that the track itself could return to the layout that it originally featured in that 1991 event until 2005, when concerns about tire wear prompted Livonia to transform into the oblong oval that it currently is.

Any hardcore stock-car supporter can easily rattle off the specifications of the truly unique layout: a 1-mile oval with turns 1 and 2 banked at a meager 12 degrees, and turns 3 and 4 towering at 30 degrees.

Said AARO president David Stone on the rumor, "I will not deny anything. From what we have been told, it is a very realistic possibility. Everyone at the meetings seemed to be very open to the idea, and if the reconstruction process went forward, the projections said that it could be finished by January of next year. Obviously, if the old layout was a 3-mile restrictor-plate track, we'd be having a different conversation, but the old Livonia Raceway was not the most formidable track in terms of length."

Another prospect that has been discussed is returning the track's race weekend to the opening of the AERS season, just as it was from 1991 until 2009, when it was axed due to low attendance. Should this happen, the Daytona International Speedway would more than likely not lose its race date, as was rumored among fans, but would instead slot in as the second race of the year.

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