October 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 38 of 48

Tools&Equipment Left: After each race, John Pitts will survey the field damage from atop the grandstands. Middle: Before mowing, Pitts and his crew must pick up one hundred or more of the lug nuts that are cast off by pit crews during tire changes. Right: John Pitts uses a Jacobsen LF570 fivegang reel mower to maintain the field at Charlotte Motor Speedway. RIGHT ON TRACK: M John Pitts draws from a unique background to manage grounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway Editor's note: This article was written by Adam Slick, the public relations and communications manager for Jacobsen. JOHN PITTS (RIGHT), Director of Grounds for Charlotte Motor Speedway and his Foreman Armando Sosa (left) stand on the speedway's "ball field" after a mowing session. OTORSPORTS is one of the last places you would expect to find a turf manager. But even a sport that lives and breathes on asphalt has a critical need for professional turfgrass. One nearly every major track around the country, a beautiful section of maintained turfgrass serves as the canvas for sponsor logos and separates pit road from the track—providing a picturesque background for fans in the stands and watching at home. At Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS), one of NASCAR's most storied tracks, John Pitts heads up the turf management team. For Pitts, the hardest part of maintaining the "ball field," as it's called, is getting track time. "It's imperative that I coordinate with our track service guys to ensure the track will be free, and only then can we perform the maintenance we need to," said Pitts. "Anything that will make the speedway money takes priority over what we do, which means sometimes our only option is early morning or late at night." Although the ball field is just 3.7 acres, timing and logistics makes every mowing session a production. "With weather and the schedule playing a factor in our ability to mow, there is often two dump trucks worth of clippings to be cleaned up before the track can be used," said Pitts. "When you add in collecting the grass and other details, it takes us about three to four hours to get everything done." SportsTurf 39

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