VIR Updates Oak Tree Turn - WSET.com - ABC13

VIR Updates Oak Tree Turn

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Alton, VA-- Exactly one month ago Virginia International Raceway in Halifax County lost an iconic part of their track.

The nearly 200-year-old oak tree fell, leaving hundreds of people really sad. Well, this week there have been some changes to the oak tree turn and it has some VIR fans confused.

Some people seem to think VIR has forgotten to memorialize the tree by putting a curb there and that's definitely not the case. VIR wants to let its fans know that the new curb is a great change for workers and the drivers.

"First and foremost, don't believe that we are not going to memorialize the oak tree," said Mike Rose, marketing director at VIR.  "Oak tree was very special to us, it always will be. It's in our logo."

That's the message that VIR wants to get out to its fans.They recently posted a picture of the new curbing on the oak tree turn and a new corner worker station. They were hit with more than one-hundred responses, many pleading VIR to plant another tree in its place.

"If you were building a track today and getting the FIA license that we have, people would not build a track today and then plant a tree into the apex of a turn," said Kerrigan Smith, Director of Track Operations.

The Director of Track Operations at VIR said they do miss the oak tree, but these new changes have tremendous benefits.

"You don't have a guard rail or a tire sitting right up against the track where somebody can clip the end and roll over a car," said also don't have a 350 pound branch hanging over the track from the tree that if were decide to go or break, it's track blockage, or even lands on a car."

 "Putting another one here, it wouldn't have been the same, you know it couldn't have been the same, so it was an opportunity to move everything forward and we will again memorialize the tree in a proper fashion," said Rose.

VIR said they worked very closely with FIA, the organization that holds the safety standards for racing, to make this decision. They also said they appreciate all the suggestions they've been getting on how to honor the oak tree. They are still in the process of planning how to memorialize it.

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