By Brian Albright, Field Technologies magazine
JTG-Daugherty Racing is saving two full days on race preparation by replacing paper with rugged notebooks and tablets.
NASCAR drivers fly around the track at speeds in excess of 140 mph. For the engineers who maintain the cars, data needs to move even faster to ensure optimal vehicle performance. JTG-Daugherty Racing, which competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has deployed rugged notebooks and tablet computers to improve data collection on the track and turn that data into actionable information that can help make sure driver A.J. Allmendinger can get the speed he needs out of the team’s No. 47 car.
JTG-Daugherty is a single-car team in a sport dominated by much larger organizations with more resources and employees. According to head race/vehicle dynamics engineer Joey Cohen, that means his team has to be as efficient as possible in obtaining information on the vehicle and the track and finding ways to improve the car’s speed by the fractions of a second needed to improve their standings. There’s a lot of data, too. The engineers gather information from the driver, from their own observations, and directly from the computer systems on the vehicle — as much as 20G of data in one weekend, much of it collected on the track or in the garage. “We’re always on the move and always on the go,” Cohen says. “We’re out in harsh conditions.”