NASCAR’s Innovative FMEC Unveiled

January 15, 2013 by  
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NASCAR and Hewlett-Packard have joined forces to develop a unique resource to serve the partners and fans of America’s favorite motorsport – the NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center. The innovative technology platform, which will provide near real-time analysis of NASCAR happenings, was unveiled on Monday January 14, with the endorsement of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France who was quoted as saying that NASCAR believes the system “has the potential to be the best of its kind in sports”. France was joined by HP Enterprise Services Vice President Charles Salameh in the ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony to open the center based at NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, NC.

Located on the 8th floor of NASCAR Plaza, the Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC) features all-glass walls, thirteen HP displays with the latest touchscreen audio visual technology. Custom designed by HP, the system is capable of processing significant amounts of data and presenting it in a format which is relevant to fans and the NASCAR industry. Salameh noted that the FMEC allows “real-time data capture and analysis across a wide variety of media, traditional as well as digital”, also pointing out that the information can be “tailored to specific audiences within the industry”.

The FMEC took eighteen months to develop with the goal of benefiting all parties involved in NASCAR racing – tracks, teams, broadcast partners and sponsors – to receive detailed information on how the media and fans are reacting to events, almost as they happen. All going well, race tracks will more effectively be able to track how effective ticket promotions are, while new sponsors will get feedback on how they are perceived in this fast-paced sport, with a host of other applications available. Broadcasters will even receive feedback on which camera angles are most appreciated by fans. The gathering and input of information from all media sectors will give NASCAR the opportunity to respond quickly to any controversies or erroneous media reports.

At the ceremony France noted that the FMEC will allow the NASCAR industry to interact with fans in ways that had never been dreamed of before and this will be done “in real-time, in almost every medium, all over the country”. No doubt fans are looking forward to seeing this new NASCAR innovation in action.

Richmond International Raceway

February 9, 2009 by  
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The now very popular Richmond International Raceway started life as a little track known as ‘Strawberry Hill’. It was first used as a racetrack venue in 1946 when Ted Horn drove his champ car to victory on the 0.5-mile dirt track that came to be known as ‘Strawberry Hill Speedway’. These races were usually held once a year on the third Saturday of April. In the period that followed between 1953 and 2000, the track had three name changes and four configuration changes. The surface was changed from dirt to asphalt and lights were added to the facility in 1991. Ever since then, all races have been held ‘under the lights’ – something which helps make Richmond International Raceway somewhat unique.

Today the Richmond International Raceway is known for hosting some of the best NASCAR and IndyCar Series racing. The raceway features a D-shaped, 0.75 mile (1.2 km) asphalt track and is part of the 800-acre, multi-purpose Richmond Raceway Complex. Although the track is fairly short, it’s layout allows for excellent side-by-side racing and drivers are able to reach speeds similar to that of a superspeedway. This means that only the most skilled drivers can make their way to first place and there is plenty of action during the course of the average race. The Richmond International Raceway currently hosts the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series, the Indy Racing League, the United States Auto Club Silver Crown and National Sprint Car Series. The last 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races have been sold out and the track is known for producing some of the best racing in the sport.

In the past, Richmond International Raceway has been known as the ‘Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds’, the ‘Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds’, the ‘Virginia State Fairgrounds’ and the ‘Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway’. From these various names it is easy to tell that the Raceway complex is not only used to host racing events. It is also used to host a number of agricultural shows, expositions, sports and crafts shows and seasonal fairs. This means that the raceway complex is almost always busy with some major event but the most popular of these are the races.

Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours

February 9, 2009 by  
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Following the withdrawal of financial support by the French Motorsports Federation (FFSA), Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours has not been included in the 2010 Formula One Championship calendar.

Situated in France, the world renowned F1 French Grand Prix venue of Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, often referred to simply as Magny-Cours, the circuit has been hosting the Grand Prix since 1991. Located close to the towns of Nevers and Magny-Cours, the Magny-Cours F1 track attracts large crowds during the racing season, and with the region being a popular tourist destination in France, many spectators combine the event with some sightseeing.

Formula One’s Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was originally built by Jean Bernigaud in 1960 on a section of land beside his farm. Bernigaud, along with Gerard Crombac and Jean Lucas, established a racing school at Magny-Cours race track, with famous F1 drivers such as Jacques Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Francois Cevert known to have trained there. As racing in France began to expand, Bernigaud saw the need to create an extension of two interconnected circuits totalling 2.39 miles. Sadly, Bernigaud passed away in November of 1971 before putting this into action. Magny-Cours circuit was thereafter managed by ASA Nivernais, and unfortunately by the 1980’s the track was in a bad condition.

The F1 circuit of Magny-Cours was later purchased by the Regional Conseil de la Nievre, and a project was set in place to revamp the circuit. Large amounts of money were invested in the track by interested parties, and the project included the construction of an industrial park, motor museum and 18-hole golf course.

The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is now a top-class smooth circuit with excellent spectator facilities. In 1991 the French Grand Prix began being hosted at Magny-Cours Formula One track. The circuit is quite challenging as there are few opportunities for overtaking. Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was witness to one of the greatest achievements in F1 – in 2006 Michael Schumacher was the first F1 driver to win a single Grand Prix 8 times. Races at Magny-Cours F1 track are always set to impress the crowds as are the fine facilities.

Shanghai International Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Viewed from overhead, the shape of Shanghai International Speedway is reminiscent of the Chinese symbol “Shang,” which translates as “high” or “above.” According to computer simulations, current-generation Formula 1 cars will lap the track in about 1:34 at an average speed close to 205 kilometers per hour (roughly 127.4 mph). On the longest, 1175 meter straight, which links Turns 13 and 14, cars should reach a maximum speed of 327 km/h (203mph). This distinctive speedway – which in sheer size will overshadow every other track in the Grand Prix of Nations – incorporates 14 wide-ranging corners, an equal blend of left and right-handers that combine to form a 5.45 kilometer (3.39 mile) lap.

The Shanghai International Speedway has an overall length of 5,451.24 meters and includes seven left and seven right turns. The longest straight runs parallel to the Dragster track between the turns T13 and T14 and has a length of 1.175 m. The standard width of the track is between 13 m and 15 m, expending up to 20 meters in turns, such as T13.

Further unique characteristics of the Shanghai International Speedway are turns with snail-like narrowing (T1 to T3), turns with snail-like expansion (T10 to T12) and two pointed turns (T5 and turn T13).

The axis of the Shanghai International Speedway is at its lowest point on + 4.50 meters above sea level, the highest point in T2 is on + 11.24 meters above sea level. The maximum upward slope amounts to 3%; the maximum downward slope to 8%, the transverse downward slope of the roadway is 2.5%.

The combination of turns and straight lines, with the rising and falling of the gradient, permits top speeds up to 327 km/h on the longest straight line (between T12 and T13) and a deceleration to 87 km/h is required by drivers in close turns.

The constant change between acceleration and deceleration sections, connected by high-speed sections, presents a challenge to driving skills, offers sufficient opportunities for overtaking maneuvers, resulting in an intense motor sport experience for spectators.

Texas Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the Texas Motor Speedway was built between 1995 and 1996. The original track featured a dual banking system with a 24-degree bank for stock cars and an 8-degree bank for open-wheel vehicles. The track is classified as a superspeedway as it is more than one mile in length and it is similar in layout to the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The track’s ‘Turn 4’ was reshaped in 1998 to make transitions from the turns to the straightway easier. Further renovations that same year eliminated the dual banking and resulted in the track currently in use today.

The Texas Motor Speedway measures 1.5 miles in length and features a quad-oval design. It has been banked 24 degrees in the turns to facilitate fast racing and the front straightway juts outwards a bit. It also has a seating capacity of more than 200,000 for NASCAR and IndyCar racing events. The track features tunnel bumps on Turns 2 and 4 which add to the its uniqueness. The track is currently owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. At one stage the Texas Motor Speedway was considered to be the ‘fastest non-restrictor plate track’ to appear on the NASCAR circuit. Qualifying speeds exceeded 192 mph and corner entry speeds were often clocked at over 200 mph. However, with the gradual wear of racing surfaces other tracks, such as Atlanta, proven to be faster. Currently the top qualifying record is held by Brian Vickers who posted a 196.235 mph speed in 2006.

The Texas Motor Speedway is home to two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races – making it a very popular racetrack with big attendance figures. The races which it hosts are the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 and the Dickes 500. It also hosts the O’Reilly 300 and the O’Reilly Challenge – both of which are Busch Series Races. The Bombardier Learjet 550 is the only Indy Racing League race that it hosts.

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