FYI WIRZ: NASCAR Downtime Includes Giant HDTV and Kids Making a Difference

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIJune 26, 2011

The empty infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway
The empty infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway turns downtime to concert time with HDTV

Most sports fans would have no problem putting a new state-of-the-art HDTV to use.  Just find room for it, plug it in and order a pizza for the next big game or race. But when the new HDTV is the world’s largest at 80-feet-by-200-feet, logistics change.

The Panasonic HD video board at Charlotte Motor Speedway is longer than half an NFL football field, and its 16,000 square-foot screen with frame weighs 665,000 pounds.  

CMS debuted the HDTV built between Turns 2 and 3 during the recent All-Star race. Nine million LED lamps didn’t disappoint.    

So what does the track do with the HDTV during downtime when no cars are racing around the 1.5-mile track? Live simulcast is an option.

The Avett Brothers July 9 concert at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Co., will be simulcast on the massive screen. To enhance the performance the speedway will employ concert-grade speakers for the event.

Courtesy of www.charlottemotorspeedway.com:

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"The speedway has been a hometown landmark for us our whole lives and we're proud to have an opportunity for our music to echo through that historical infield," said Seth Avett. "For us, performing at Red Rocks and airing live in Concord is about the most ideal situation for being in two amazing places at once."

The Avetts' popularity skyrocketed on the heels on their major label debut, the 2009 album "I and Love and You." Recently, the band has become accustomed to performing sold-out concerts and in February they performed at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles alongside Bob Dylan.

"This is going to be an unbelievable event," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "This is something that would have never been possible without the world's largest HDTV. But, now we're going to simulcast a live sold-out show from one of the most famous concert venues in the world, featuring our hometown boys, the Avett Brothers, to their loyal fan following here in Charlotte. It's going to be awesome!"


NASCAR’s Ryan Newman sees Daytona archives, tested by grade students

Much can happen in a single day.  Just browsing through any history book will uncover event after event that occurred on one specific day. 

To promote the Coke Zero 400 Daytona International Speedway brought Ryan Newman, the 2008 Daytona 500 champion, to town for a tour through International Speedway Corporation’s Archives and then be tested by 250 Volusia County elementary students.  Newman observed racing artifacts and then subjected his bachelor of engineering degree to student questions, the program—“Is Ryan Newman Smarter than a Grade School Student?” 

"It’s neat to see the history,” Newman said. “Seeing some of the special things ... the different trophies, the different flags, the significance of Daytona in the world of racing, it’s really special.”

Courtesy of www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com   

Newman vs. students:

Newman answered 10 first-round questions on a variety of topics such as science, math, social studies, English and geography. For every question Newman answered correctly, DIS donated $100 to Volusia County Schools.

Newman also correctly answered the “bonus round” question and earned a special prize for every student in attendance: a ticket to the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 2.

“The Coke Zero 400 is a family-friendly environment,” Newman said. “We want the kids to come out and enjoy the time with their parents. I think a lot of these kids will get that opportunity. It’s fun to have interaction with them even when it’s their off-season in the summer. It was a lot of fun.”

North Carolina makes stock car racing the official state sport thanks to kids

A group of fourth- and fifth-graders from Lake Norman Elementary School and Mt. Mourne IB School in Iredell County, N.C., originated a bill to make stock car racing the official sport of North Carolina.  It took more than a year to get the bill passed, but in the end politicians complied.  

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue signed Senate Bill 322 into law.
"Sometimes it takes really bright kids to tell all of us grown-ups what we ought to be doing. And that's what these students are about today," said Perdue. "They found something that should have been right under our noses because we all love NASCAR, we love Charlotte Motor Speedway, we get really excited during race season. So it's pretty cool for these students to
understand that we needed to do better."

Courtesy of www.charlottemotorspeedway.com:

North Carolina now joins other U.S. states with an official state sport, including Alaska (dog mushing); Colorado (snowboarding and skiing); Massachusetts (basketball); Minnesota (hockey); and South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming (rodeo).

Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway:

"When you think about North Carolina and you think about racing, it really has been unofficially the state sport for so long and I think today to have the governor sign a bill that makes racing the official state sport is really neat and special," said Smith. "It's an exciting time and a real privilege for Charlotte Motor Speedway to be such a big part of the governor's trip today."

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of motorsports topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR.

Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com


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