Vinegar and oil at AMS

From staff reports

If the smell of vinegar is permeating from Atlanta Motor Speedway this week, don't worry. The place hasn't turned into a pickle manufacturing plant in the offseason. It just smells like it.

Instead, contractors are treating the new Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) walls with generous amounts of a vinegar mixture to help paint adhere to the surface in time for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.

"My wife went to a warehouse store and bought 20 gallons, and then I went back to a local grocery store and cleaned them out, getting about eight more gallons," said AMS contractor Billy Duke, of Billy Duke's USA Painting Inc. "We hope that'll be enough."

Duke is mixing one part vinegar to four parts water and then liberally applying the mixture to the more than 7,000 square feet of SAFER barriers installed last month. Duke said the process will help get rid of the resins on the wall and to degrease it, which will help the paint adhere.

"This is something the SAFER barrier engineers came up with to help speed up the process," Duke said. "The weathering will happen naturally, if you give it a little time. But we don't have even a little time, with the race less than three weeks away. We need to get painting."

Duke and his team will paint nearly 50,000 square feet of track walls, as well as interior and exterior building walls, in the short time before race weekend.

n MAD MAN AT THE RACES: MAD Magazine spokescharacter, Alfred E. Neuman, will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway during the upcoming race weekend with the speedway's Aaron's 312 Busch race sponsor, Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership. Neuman will be at the Aaron's product display, located in the display lot in the Earnhardt parking area, on Friday, Oct. 29. He will be hosting a special "Alfred E. Neuman look-alike contest", which will be judged by the Aaron's Dream Girls and MAD Magazine editor John Ficarra.

Test results: NASCAR Nextel Cup competitor Ryan Newman tested at Atlanta Motor Speedway Monday and posted a speed of 186.667 mph. Newman is used to driving fast at AMS ? he has three straight pole positions at the track.

In addition to Newman, several NASCAR Craftsman Truck drivers tested at AMS Monday.