I had the chance this weekend to personally walk through the garage before the race and see the use of Microsoft technologies helping speed up and improve the pre-race inspection of the cars. In addition, the use of new race management techniques built on Azure and Windows was truly inspiring. It’s gratifying to see Microsoft technology front and center helping NASCAR to make sure conditions are safe, competition on the track is fair and their team is using the power of data to provide even more thrilling fan experiences. The partnership and outcomes could not be stronger it highlights the best of digital transformation in action!
We are proud to be an Official Technology Partner of NASCAR. Our first project together in 2014 was building a Mobile Inspection app that helped NASCAR reinvent its car inspection process, which trimmed time spent inspecting cars before each race in half. Since then, NASCAR committed to Windows 10 and to take advantage of having a single code base for apps across all types of devices and race operations.
Take a look at the team in action on the race track and what Steve Worling, Managing Director of IT for NASCAR had to say in on our Transform blog.
This past year, NASCAR took learnings from the garage to how it manages race control operations on the track. This weekend during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, NASCAR unveiled the Race Management app, a custom app built on Windows 10 that will transform the way they manage and officiate races. They have also started to embrace the Microsoft Cloud to make it even easier and more efficient for the team at NASCAR to scale and analyze large amounts of data in real time.
I have personally walked through the garage before a race when they’re verifying paint and decals and inspecting the cars. It’s an incredibly intense and thorough process. It’s gratifying to see Microsoft technology front and center helping NASCAR to make sure conditions are safe, competition on the track is fair and their team is using the power of data to provide even more thrilling fan experiences.
Race Management Platform built on Windows 10
With cars that go 200 miles per hour on a straight away, it’s no surprise safety is a top priority. The early success of the Mobile Inspection app was a catalyst for developing the Race Management app to help make the sport more competitive and foster improvements to safety. There are 38 races each season and NASCAR has a contingent of folks who manage its race control capabilities. The race management app collects live video feeds and transponder data from the cars around the track. For the first time, officials have live, detailed braking, throttling, RPM, speed, and lap fraction times directly from each car, in the control booth in real time. Race managers can assess track conditions, monitor pit stops, and see each car’s precise position, time, and scoring instantly from any data feed. The Race Management app has allowed NASCAR to bring data that lived across six different screens into one easy-to-use app, improving the live officiating process for officials.
“Safety is our first priority. Fast, real-time access to information gives race officials a better understanding of what’s happening in the racecar and on the track,” says Stephen Byrd, Director of Technology Integration and Development at NASCAR. “After the finish, an official can take a Surface device with the Windows 10 app down to the garage and show a team exactly what we saw in race control.”
All the data recorded in the app is immediately saved to the Microsoft Cloud, so race officials can review rulings with teams immediately after the race. In the past, the information wouldn’t be available for days. Beyond officiating live races, NASCAR and Microsoft are exploring how the Race Management app will be able to help officials resolve post-race disputes with competitors with video captured during the race.
“For our sport, every second of every race is under replay. Building the race management app on Windows 10 is a game changer for us. By digitizing the video feeds we’re able to analyze calls and send data to the pit box in real-time.”— Steve O’Donnell, Chief Racing Development Officer, NASCAR
New Mobile Inspection Capabilities
Before each race every car needs to be visually inspected and verified, which has been an incredibly time-consuming, manual process. The Mobile Inspection app on Microsoft Surface devices has reduced inspection time of six hours down to three and has already replaced more than 20,000 sheets of paper. It’s also made pre-race inspections more efficient, improved communication between officials and supported data and trend analysis.
Upgrading the Mobile Inspection app to Windows 10 will provide the team in the garage with more capabilities. This summer, NASCAR will use the app to collect and verify even more data about sponsors, which will shave off about 10 hours each weekend that is spend verifying decal and paint scheme information. “The ability to store inspection data has allowed NASCAR officials to maintain a level playing field,” O’Donnell added.
We’re incredibly proud of the work we continue to build together as part of our technology partnership and are gearing up for even more innovations we create together to help make NASCAR one of the most innovative and cutting edge sports organizations anywhere in the world.