I never grew up watching NASCAR – but when I lived in Tucson, my buddy Chris Tardiff urged me to check it out. I thought it was a joke prior to really sitting down and learning more about the sport. I have to admit, there’s some pretty cool things that go on – from the track, to the sound, to the crazy technology in the cars. It’s quite a sport – and fans are crazy about it. They pack racetracks by the thousands, beers in hand.
Fans love the Daytona 500. It’s a 500 mile-long NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held annually. It is one of four restrictor plate races on the Cup schedule (okay, no more techno-details).
Since I’ve moved to Florida, I was happy to learn Daytona Beach is less than an hour away. I’ve driven by Daytona International Speedway. It’s pretty cool. But I haven’t seen the track. Last year, potholes forced officials to demand the track be re-surfaced. So it’s in the process – and should be ready for racing by January.
My fellow co-worker Jason Allen had the privilege to ride around the track with engineers…in a van. It was a weird image of a big van screaming around the track – but this van had lasers attached looking for any imperfections in the track:
Danny James is the mechanical supervisor on the project and floored a van he was in around the finished and on turns three and four. While he drove, lasers mounted on the bumper measured every quarter inch of track surface. They sensed bumps as small as 1/32 of an inch, and sent the information back to an onboard computer.
In the end, it looked like Jason had a blast and it looks like the track is ahead of schedule. And in the famous words of Darrell Waltrip…
“Boogity, boogity, boogity…let’s go racin’, boys!”.
I have to get to Daytona and check this stuff out.