With a goal of producing more side-by-side racing during the May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and May 29 Coca-Cola 600, engineers are using a combination of GPS technology and three-dimensional laser mapping to smooth the 1.5-mile racing surface at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, US.
The track grinding process began with engineers using a three-dimensional laser to map the track. So precise that it can detect bumps not visible to the naked eye, this system generated an extremely accurate 3-D map of the track’s racing surface.
“This map is so accurate that it shows imperfections in the racing surface that even the best driver could never feel,” explained Lowe’s official.
Engineers then attached a GPS receiver to a street vehicle. Driving the same lines used by NASCAR competitors, the GPS utilized a satellite to produce a digital map of Wheeler’s exact location as he circled the 1.5-mile track.
Joe Bruno, executive vice president of ESP Associates, P.A., the Charlotte-based engineering firm that mapped the speedway, explained how his company combined the GPS and laser technologies.
“We took high-density scans of the track over a 32-hour period which produced a geometric map of the entire track,” Bruno said. “We then took the X and Y coordinates from the GPS mapping and dropped them on top of the 3-D laser scan. This showed the racing grooves and the areas in which they needed to focus the grinding.”