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Goodyear Using RFID for NASCAR from Cradle to Grave

The tire maker has rolled out a tire-leasing program for NASCAR and is using RFID tags to track the tires from the point of manufacture to the moment they are scrapped.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jul 19, 2006For this year's NASCAR racing season, Goodyear is using RFID to track the roughly 200,000 tires used throughout the NASCAR season at all three race series—Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck—as part of a tire-leasing program. NASCAR organizers requested the leasing program as a means of evening the playing field.

Previously, each NASCAR racing team purchased the 10 or 12 sets of Goodyear tires it would use in a typical weekend of racing. All NASCAR vehicles are required to use the same tires. The best-funded teams purchased additional tires, however, often leaving them with a surfeit of unused tires following a race. NASCAR felt that by using these extra tires during practice sessions, these teams gained a competitive edge over teams unable to purchase as many.

Steve Roth
Now, each team leases sets of tires for each event and must return them all—whether used or not—at the end of the race. Since RFID tags are embedded into the tires during the manufacturing process, Goodyear is using them both to automate the leasing process and to track the tires from the point of manufacture, through distribution and on to the NASCAR races. The tire maker deployed the tracking and leasing program this year after completing a successful pilot project at the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall (see RFID Tracks Tires at NASCAR). Goodyear conducted the pilot to ensure that the inlays could withstand the intense heat and pressure to which they're exposed during races, where drivers sometimes exceed 200 miles per hour.

"The RFID tags have performed extremely well," says Stephen Roth, director of Goodyear's vehicle systems division, "and when the tire comes back after the race, we find that the tags have lived through just about whatever [the drivers] throw at them."

Calgary-based Advanced ID is providing the UHF 915 MHz ISO 18000-6B passive RFID tags Goodyear embeds into the racing tires during manufacture. The company recently announced it had received its second purchase order from Goodyear, which plans to embed the RFID tags in all racing tires used in the 2007 NASCAR season. At some point next season, Roth notes, Goodyear will switch from the ISO 18000-6B inlays to ones compliant with the new ISO 18000-6C standard. Once again, Advanced ID will be the supplier. ISO 18000-6C matches the EPC UHF Gen 2 standard (see Gen 2 EPC Protocol Approved as ISO 18000-6C).

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