The Charlotte Motor Speedway racetrack generates almost half a billion dollars every year so to keep the show up to speed, a fleet of Volvo equipment works hard backstage day in, day out.
Built more than half a century ago on the site of a Civil War-era plantation, the Charlotte Motor Speedway has become the ultimate sanctuary for motorsports entertainment in North America, evolving into ‘The Greatest Place to See the Race’.
The site hosts all major NASCAR events every year, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Bank of America 500, as well as more than three dozen other events for automotive and motorsports enthusiasts. Close to 90 percent of all NASCAR team shops are based in the surrounding area and NASCAR has its headquarters and museum in nearby Charlotte.
The sprawling 2,400-acre (971 hectares) Charlotte Motor Speedway campus in Concord, North Carolina sports three major tracks – the 2.5 km (1.5 mile) asphalt superspeedway, originally built in 1959, a quarter-mile clay oval for dirt track racing and zMAX Dragway, the first quarter-mile, four-lane, all-concrete drag strip in the US. The campus also includes miles of access roads that connect the tracks, garages, parking lots, camp grounds and supporting utilities, which require regular maintenance.
“In recent years the Speedway has expanded its event offerings to become a true vacation destination for racing enthusiasts,” says Roger Neale, vice president of operations and development for Charlotte Motor Speedway. “For their durability and reliability – those Volvo machines stand tall.” Neale counts on a crew of 50 employees and a fleet that includes five Volvo CE machines to maintain and repair the facilities.
Danny Furr, an operator with 14 years of experience at the track, has used many brands of backhoe loaders but now prefers the smooth controls and power of Volvo’s backhoe loader, as well as the comforts of the cab unit, including air conditioning – an essential feature in the sweltering Carolina summers.
“In one machine I can lift, dig, and haul, and do all of this very quickly without any loss of speed or power,” says Furr. “The Volvo allows me to get in, get the job done and move on to the next project.”
Two Volvo backhoes, a BL60B and BL70B, are the workhorses of the track, and are called upon to add crushed aggregate to roads, dig storm water trenches, remove fallen trees and even clear tons of snow.
To keep the site grounds impeccably manicured year-round, other Volvo mainstays are called into active duty. An SD100 soil compactor sees on and off-track action, as it helps maintain the solid clay base off the dirt track and in building new access roads throughout the campus.
An L45F compact wheel loader, on the other hand, is a jack-of-all-trades. During the Coca-Cola 600 race over Memorial Day – which drew more than 100,000 fans to the track and was viewed on television by 6.5 million people – it could be seen moving K-wall barriers from the front straightaway to a stage setup. It was also on call to assist tow trucks that lacked the muscle to haul a disabled car from the track.
General maintenance gets an assist from a Volvo MC115C skid steer loader, but it also has a unique role – removing rubber build-up from the NHRA-sanctioned drag strip with an 18-inch scraper on the bucket. The drag strip itself was constructed in 2008 using a dozen Volvo A30D and A40 articulated haulers, Volvo EC210 and EC700 crawler excavators and a Volvo L110E wheel loader.
It’s not just its machines that are busy at the track – since 2009, Volvo CE has hosted more than 750 customers and dealers at major NASCAR events at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Picture 1: Volvo’s articulated hauler transports over burden earth at the track
Picture 2: A full arena as the cars speed past