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How Is NASCAR Using RFID?

Posted By RFID Journal, 11.19.2013

Can you please provide some examples of the organization's use of radio frequency identification technology?

—Name withheld

———

Back in 2005, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employed RFID to track leased racecar tires at the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. RFID tags embedded in tire sidewalls enabled Goodyear to successfully track the tires' movement from the warehouse to the drivers and back again (see RFID Tracks Tires at NASCAR).

For the 2006 NASCAR racing season, Goodyear used RFID to track the roughly 200,000 tires used throughout the season at all three race series—Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck—as part of a tire-leasing program that NASCAR organizers requested as a means of evening the playing field. Some teams were purchasing extra tires, giving their team an advantage. RFID helped NASCAR put a stop to this practice (see Goodyear Using RFID for NASCAR from Cradle to Grave).

In 2007, NASCAR began utilizing RFID to track the chassis on each car that races in its Sprint Cup Series, as well as special fuel tanks known as fuel cells, thereby ensuring that chassis are not replaced or tampered with prior to a race, and that each team has an official NASCAR fuel cell with exactly the same capacity—17 gallons. In so doing, the organization can better ensure that each racing team complies with its regulations, and help ensure the safety of the cars and their drivers, since an altered chassis or fuel cell could offer a racer an unfair advantage over other drivers, while also making the car more vulnerable in the event of an accident.

In 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, located in Charlotte, N.C., introduced RFID-enabled exhibits throughout its facility to offer visitors a more interactive experience. The 150,000-square-foot entertainment attraction, owned by the city of Charlotte and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, under a license with NASCAR, gives fans a place to learn about stock-car racing's colorful history.

Visitors to the Hall of Fame place a "hard card"—a credit-card-size plastic card embedded with a passive 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) RFID transponder—on a turnstile to gain access to the exhibit hall. That same card activates exhibits at more than 75 kiosks around the facility. The card can be deactivated by tapping it on the reader at an exit turnstile, thereby killing the RFID chip within the card, as each visitor leaves through the turnstile. Deactivating the hard card's RFID chip would prevent a patron from reusing the card to enter the Hall of Fame on another day, or from passing the card to someone else so that he or she could gain entrance without purchasing a ticket (see At NASCAR Hall of Fame, RFID Fuels Excitement).

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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