How to Make a Great Car Racing Video Case Study: Stock Car Racing

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Predictably, many of the early big cars were based on the Model T and Model A, occasionally fortified by a Miller or Offenhauser engine. By the Fifties, however, purpose-built chassis were common, powered by flathead Fords. The arrival of small-block Chevy V-8s in quantity ushered in the golden age of wingless sprint-car racing. Drivers competed on any surface available—dirt, mud, asphalt—and died with a regularity that would have been monotonous were it not terrifying. It was an era where it was possible to make a modest living by barnstorming from town to town on the United States Auto Club USAC circuit, hoping that your prize money exceeded your cost of repairs.

The drivers who did so were deeply suspicious of full-face helmets, multipoint harnesses, and reproof gear. They put their trust in luck and instincts, but they were often betrayed by both. In the decades that followed, sprint-car racing split into winged racing, the pinnacle of which is the World of Outlaws series, and traditional wingless competition, which continues under the oversight of USAC.

Besides the wings, the basic template for both types of car is about the same: a tube-frame chassis with a wheelbase of between 80 and 90 inches. The driver sits bolt-upright behind a firewall.

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Ahead of that is a methanol-fueled V-8 with a direct-drive connection to a live rear axle. There is no transmission and no clutch. With a ready-to-race weight of about pounds, the modern sprint car matches an F1 racer for power-to-weight, but its materials and construction would be immediately familiar to any competent mechanic from the Kennedy era.

Traction control, stability control, car-to-pit telemetry, seven-axis inertial measurement, power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, a windshield, an instrument panel, a transmission: The sprint car has none of these things. Computing power onboard has to come from the sack of meat behind the wheel. He trains the meat, usually at the behest of parents who are eager for their children to become NASCAR standouts and emulate the dirt-track path to glory taken by Tony Stewart and others. Yet his background in this sport is impeccable; he is a three-time national champion in USAC sprint-car racing, and he has won the ultracompetitive Chili Bowl indoor midget championship twice, matching Stewart and handily beating the combined efforts of the dozen or so NASCAR and IndyCar luminaries who have tried their hand at the event.

In advanced classes, only three or four students are taught at a time, and only one car is in motion at any given moment. They often bog down at the far ends of the oval. I was booked for laps split across four or five sessions.

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Conway eyes my custom Hinchman suit, carbon-fiber Impact helmet, and outside-seam Stand 21 gloves with barely concealed disdain. While Kruseman drives a watering truck around the oval, Conway gives me the rundown on the extremely small number of controls involved. Next to the steering wheel is a tiny, skeletonized lever that controls the flow of methanol to the carburetor. I start with the ignition switched off, the rear axle disconnected, and the fuel turned off.

At first, the rear wheels just skid along, but as we leave the infield and enter the racing line on the front straight, they start to turn, and I see the oil-pressure needle twitching. After a few seconds of the engine being up to pressure, I flick the ignition switch. The engine coughs twice, then catches. The noise is overwhelming, and the steering wheel seems to be only vaguely connected to the front tires. The throttle pedal, on the other hand, has an immediate and visceral association with the engine.

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It consists of two aluminum bars with a spring attached, operating up and down, rather than toward and away from the driver. You put your toe between the bars, then press down to go fast. The top bar is there in case the throttle spring breaks; if that happens, lift your foot. The brake pedal is on the other side of the floor, and it, too, operates vertically. Pressing it will slow the rear axle and the left front tire.

Kind of. In my first laps, I buck wildly around the oval, throttling on and off in sympathy to the violent rocking motion of the car, stepping on the brake to no real effect, and almost hitting the wall at least three times. After the checkered flag, Conway breaks it down for me.

When you reach the apex, you should be pointed toward the infield. Then accelerate out and unwind the wheel. The next 60 laps consist of me trying, and failing, to do just that. Prior to the last session, Kruseman comes over.

Step on the brake. Turn in. Be patient. Lack of patience will kill your line. The first 10 are no better than the previous The car bends toward the apex as if by magic. This time I am patient. I wait. Then I steer. Then I step on the throttle. Google has added a range of major sporting venues to its Street View collections for armchair virtual visitors. How sports analytics can teach enterprises how to approach HR, risk and AI. NFL in London: How data and technology are changing sport. Online sports are about to get actual real-time streaming.

When you watch football, soccer, baseball, or any sport with online streaming, you're actually watching video that's seconds behind. Limelight thinks it has the answer to this annoyance. How one university is expanding the ranks of student athletes with e-sports. Sports, engagement, and tech company lack thereof.

The sports industry is exciting and cool and has brand equity like no other. Yet, the companies themselves don't have a lot of money to spend on their business operations due to what they are over paying the athletes. Does this mean the tech companies selling tech to the sports world should ignore the industry they're selling to? Apparently, they think so. Find out why is not only a bad idea, but a very very foolish one.

And I'll name some names.


  1. BBC News Navigation.
  2. Interview with Colin Dexter;
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  4. NASCAR's digital evolution on track | ZDNet.

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