Volvo CE on track at Massachusetts race course

A new private race track in Massachusetts sees a team of Volvo machines taking the lead


A new private race track in Massachusetts sees a team of Volvo machines taking the lead.  
In April 2014, the Palmer Motorsports Park project was shown the green flag and construction soon began on the state’s first private road racing course. The track will be used for driver training, demonstrations, vehicle testing, a range of motorsports and competitions.

To ensure driver safety, the track must be smooth, even and high quality. EJ Paving Co., a local general paving contractor based in Methuen, Massachusetts, is taking the lead in laying the 2.25 mile (3.6 km) track – and the company is employing a team of five Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) machines to do so.

Established in 1987 by Tom Evangelista, EJ Paving provides quality residential, commercial, highway and specialist paving to the New England region with a job mix that is 60% private, 40% public. The company has worked with Volvo CE pavers for 25 years, and currently owns nine Volvo machines. EJ Paving’s Volvo machines are part of its 100-strong equipment fleet. The company employs a staff of more than 50, which includes ten managers, two mechanics, office personnel and 35 equipment operators, truck drivers and laborers.

 “This is a unique job that requires specific paving requirements,” says John Sullivan, paving director and general manager at EJ Paving. “We are using a Volvo P7110 and a Volvo PF4410 paver to lay the asphalt track, along with three double drum compactors – two Volvo DD112 asphalt compactors and one Volvo DD14. The P7110 is being used for 90% of the paving work, and the DD112 was selected for its ability to meet the high compaction specs of this job.”

The importance of having the right gear
The Palmer Motorsports Park project is set to be completed in Spring 2015 and will cover 658 acres on a former logging property near Palmer. The 40 ft.-wide track will feature 15 turns and an elevation of 190 feet, with the topography of the site and surrounding hills creating an ideal acoustic buffer.

EJ Paving has been contracted to complete the track with pits, garage areas and an access road leading to the race course, placing more than 24,000 US tons of asphalt. The project’s specifications require a coarse aggregate stone, 2 ½ inches thick as a base layer. The top coat is a warm mix design of ½” latex modified polymer installed at a 2 ½ inch lift.  The job presents several challenges due to the unique nature of the track as the course needs to reach a compaction density of 97%. A transfer machine feeds the paver for the top coat, since a heavy contact between the truck and paver could create surface imperfections on the finished mat.

The 40 ft. wide track is only allowed one longitudinal joint – right down the middle, which means the pavers have to lay two separate 20 ft. passes, side-by-side. With a maximum paving width of 26 ft., the P7110 easily manages the two passes. In addition, the track features 15 turns, some tight and others steep, up to a 20% incline. The P7110 has rubber tracks and the largest surface area in the paving industry, providing the traction and stability required to hold the steep banks without slipping.

The checkered flag
“We are impressed with the performance of our Volvo equipment,” says William Muse, EJ’s on site paving superintendent, with more than 23 years in the industry. “In particular, the operators are satisfied with the visibility the pavers offer which makes operation easier and helping to ensure the safety of everyone on site, and the machines produce a high quality mat.”

Adds Sullivan, “We have always had great customer support from our local dealer, Woodco Machinery, and they have excellent 24/7 field service. Woodco has always been there for us, which is one of the main reasons why we stay with Volvo.” The dealership has deep roots within the local contractor base, anchored by its reputation for providing superior service.

With locations in Woburn and Avon, Massachusetts, and Johnson, Rhode Island, Woodco has been associated with Volvo since 1975 and is a full line dealer offering compaction, paving, wheel loaders, excavators, articulated haulers, compact wheel loaders, compact excavators, and skid steer loaders.

Says Dana McIver, Woodco Machinery General Manager, “Our experience of Volvo equipment is that it they are some of the best designed and most comfortable machines on the market.”