NASCAR fans have heard for years about the effects of drafting
on high-speed racetracks and how certain drivers, such as the late
Dale Earnhardt, were so good in the draft because, it was said,
they could "see the air."
Now, as NASCAR Nextel Cup racing returns to ESPN with Sunday's
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, a technical innovation developed by
ESPN and SportVision will allow NASCAR fans to see the air.
Beginning with the telecast from the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, ESPN will enhance its NASCAR coverage with Draft Track, a
special effects package that will depict the draft created by race cars.
Viewers will see how air flows over and behind race cars as they
speed around the track. The visualization will change as the cars
change position in real time on the racetrack, including passing,
racing side by side or when cars are lined up nose to tail. Draft
Track will initially be used on replays.
"We continue to be fascinated with showing viewers things that
you cannot see -- the line of scrimmage in football, the strike zone
in baseball, and the airflow in motorsports ... known as
drafting," said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and
executive producer. "Draft Track brings to life for the viewer an
element of NASCAR racing that has been a much-discussed but unseen
part of the sport for decades."
The Indianapolis race is ESPN's first Cup race since 2000, but
the network covered 262 Cup races during a 20-year period starting
in 1981. ESPN and ABC will have live coverage of the final 17 races
of the Cup season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the championship.
"We're not finished experimenting and finding new
technologies," Drake said. "It's a hallmark of ESPN to constantly
push the envelope and seek new ways to satisfy our curiosity and
that of our viewers."
The Racer's Group will enter sports car star Andy
Lally in the NASCAR Busch series road course events in Montreal on
Aug. 4 and at Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Aug. 11.
Kevin Buckler, owner of TRG, announced this week he will partner
with the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing to field the No. 47 Ford Fusion
TRG was founded by Kevin Buckler and his wife, Debra, in 1993
and has been competing at the top level of sports car racing ever
since. It leads all teams in Grand-Am wins with 22, including the
2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT championships to go along with
victories at the 24-hour races in Daytona and Le Mans, France.
The Lally-Buckler combination has resulted in two championships and 14 race wins.
"With our success in sports cars, we consider ourselves road
course specialists," Kevin Buckler said. "We believe that this is
the most logical path for us to start out at Montreal and Watkins
Glen. We are heading into NASCAR with our heads down with the
utmost respect for the series and everyone involved.
"We are going at it with our usual work ethic and professional
approach. It will be a big learning process. We will be on an
aggressive testing schedule and, if all goes well, we are
considering adding a couple of ovals to our schedule toward the end
of the season."