When the NHRA returns to Royal Purple Raceway in suburban Houston for the NHRA SpringNationals on April 20-22, things will have a different look for racers and fans alike.
The Baytown, Texas track will have a brand new racing surface, which should make for faster speeds and quicker elapsed times.
RPR suspended operations last September to assist with the massive Hurricane Harvey and resulting flooding relief effort in the Houston area.
Among the ways the track, which sits on 400 acres, helped in relief efforts was serving as a large storage facility for thousands of vehicles that were damaged or destroyed in the hurricane and flood last September.
With the resurfacing job nearly complete, the track will reopen March 2. RPR has a large local racing program that runs from March through October.
When both local racers and NHRA stars return to the track, they’ll also notice some other significant capital improvements.
“We’re very happy to reopen in March for the 2018 race season,” RPR general manager Seth Angel said in a statement. “In this extended offseason we had a great opportunity to complete a series of major facility projects, most importantly the repaving of our race track.”
That includes widening and resurfacing access and return roads around the drag strip.
Winners of last year’s NHRA SpringNationals included Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), and Bo Butner (Pro Stock).
“We have always taken great pride in having one of the quickest and fastest drag strips in the country and these enhancements should continue that legacy for many more years to come,” Angel said. “The racers themselves suggested these upgrades and we always like to deliver for them.”