Facts of the Homestead-Miami Speedway

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Facts of the Homestead-Miami Speedway
It’s pretty hard to race cars without a race track. After all, doing so on a highway or a residential street is more likely to result in an accident or a speeding ticket rather than a championship crown. Thus, it’s a good thing there are speedways, including the one in Homestead, Florida.
The Homestead-Miami Speedway is located just southwest of Miami. Known for hosting the biggest of races – including the final races of the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck series – the Homestead-Miami Speedway goes round and round with greatness. It not only holds over 65,000 screaming fans, but it also cost a pretty penny to build: 70 million dollars went into making this track terrific.
Coming into fruition after the 1992 Hurricane Andrew, a storm that left much of Homestead laden in destruction, this speedway was the brain child of race car promoter Ralph Sanchez. One of his goals was to help the residents of Homestead get back on their feet: building a race track would filter money back into the town’s economy. The construction began on August 24, 1993 and in November 1995 it was time for drivers to start their engines.
Though the track itself is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world – with obvious influence of the Miami culture – the racing at Homestead, at least initially, was slightly ridiculed.
Taking a page from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Homestead-Miami Speedway was originally designed as a rectangular, four turn oval. The flatness and the sharp angles of the turns led to decreased speed – drivers were forced to slow down to remain on the track and stay in control. This wasn’t well received by fans: when it comes to NASCAR, fans have a need, a need for speed.
This problem was fixed in 1997 when – in an 8.2 million dollar project – the turns were changed to a more traditional style of track. This no longer forced drivers to drastically slow down.
The year 2003 saw the track altered again. This time, the turns were given more steepness and lights were installed overhead. This made night racing available at the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time. Following this fixes, NASCAR fans and drivers praised the track, believing it made way for stellar racing and close, last second finishes.
Even with renovations, the Homestead-Miami Speedway is not without its share of fatalities. In short, racing is a dangerous sport and no amount of reconstruction can prevent accidents.
On March 26, 2006, Paul Dana died on the track during a warm up session. He collided with another driver while going over 200 miles per hour. Besides Dana, two other drivers, John Nemechek and Jeff Clinton, have died on the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jeff Clinton died in March 2002 during a Grand AM sports event while John Nemechek died in March 1997 during a Craftsman Truck Race. In an attempt to promote safety, Nemechek’s death led to many of the renovations that altered the track in later years.