First look inside NASCAR's state-of-the-art timing and scoring vehicle
Indianapolis (IN) - There is no sound in the world like that of 43 precision-tuned, performance-optimized machines surrounding you on all sides like jousting thunderstorms, while hundreds of thousands of spectators cheer in a delightful cacophony of adrenaline-fueled awe. No, this time we're not talking about the Core 2 Extreme prototypes playing Quake 3 at the last E3. We're talking about where every performance machine wants to be when it grows up: crossing the yard of bricks at 170+ mph at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A race like the Brickyard 400 - or, excuse us, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (we stand corrected) - is the ultimate dance of technology in tandem with testosterone. As technologists ourselves, we enjoy getting our hands greasy along with our heads. So when AMD offered TG Daily the chance to get under the hood, if you will, of NASCAR's proudest information technology production to date - its million-dollar, state-of-the-art, self-contained mobile timing and scoring vehicle, co-engineered with AMD and HP - we would have been fools to pass it up.
Here's a first look at what we saw, with more to come. The NASCAR Technology Center is equipped with two racks of HP ProLiant BL25p blade servers - one main, one backup. A pair of souped up HP workstations (that's right, just two) gather data in real-time from the Speedway's fiberoptic network of transponder relays, or "loops." But graphics power supplied by Nvidia generate scoring data views for up to three displays at a time, mounted along the walls, while AMD Turion 64-based HP notebooks monitor equipment status and track conditions.
NASCAR's national IT manager, Steve Worling, is the principal designer of the Technology Center vehicle; and James Garr (pictured here) is NASCAR's chief scoring official. They gave TG Daily an up-close look at perhaps the most technologically sophisticated vehicle on the NASCAR circuit, and we'll explain it all, including just how it tracks race car positions when that yellow flag goes down, coming up soon. Stay in touch with TG Daily as we give you a technologist's view of the Speedway you won't find on ESPN.