For those who did not see the end of the Daytona 500 on Monday night this photo does not begin to show what happened to Ryan Newman who was leading the race at the time. To insure that teams are meeting the three dimensional car body requirements NASCAR is using laser scanning to quickly validate the car set ups. See the video below.
In the nearly two decades since Dale Earnhardt died in a crash in the Daytona 500, new tools and technology have come around to prevent further tragedies in racing — and possibly saved Ryan Newman’s life.
Channel 9 had an exclusive look at some of the cutting-edge technology NASCAR uses for its cars ahead of big events.
Lauren Seabrook had an inside look at a scanning station to see how lasers were used to inspect vehicles for accurate measurements.
“We use a light-based system with cameras to measure the race cars and make sure they reach compliance and make sure no one’s trying to cheat the system somewhere along the line,” said optical scan supervisor Dan Reeves.
The optical scanning station uses 157,000 laser dots to measure each race car in about 30 seconds. The system then crunches the numbers and builds a three-dimensional representation of the car.
“When the car is built per the rule book, it should be all green when it shows up on the heat map,” said Reeves. When the vehicle is out of compliance the colors show up as blue or red.
If the car is deemed out of compliance, it must be returned to the shop for corrections before it can be raced.
“Every one-thousandth of an inch matters,” Reeves said. “If someone is two or three thousand over, in an aerodynamic sensitive area, that can be the difference between first or second when the car is that speed on the track.”
The technology and extra safety precautions came after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash during the Daytona Beach in 2001.
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