Rodney Childers was once a naysayer of NASCAR’s Optical Scanning Station
What is the optical scanning station? It’s NASCAR’s latest technical upgrade.
The new scanning process use a series of light beams to scan the race cars. It then collects that data and recreates a 2D digital file. That file can instantly be compared to what the specs are suppose to be.
The biggest difference is that it’s the entire car. The days of the templates are long gone. Those templates gave a lot of room for NASCAR teams to work on areas of the car that didn’t have to fit a template. Now, the entire car must fit within the tolerances of the rulebook.
It’s super high tech and brought a lot of change to the garage area. Needless to say, when it comes to changes, there’s always going to be some naysayers.
“Zippy will tell you, I was pretty against all that stuff over the winter when it first got brought up,” #4 Crew Chief Rodney Childers stated from the Atlanta media center.
“I was one of the one’s that thought, ‘There’s no way that’s gunna work. There’s going to be a lot of problems.’ ”
“I gotta say, it’s been crazy how good it has been. We went through, I don’t know, six times this weekend. You lay all that stuff out on top of each other and it’s identical every time you go through there.”
“The thing I like the most is the LIS portion of it and the rear housing toe. We struggled with that on the laser platform.”
“This deal has been crazy consistent when we were at Daytona and really consistent here this weekend. We never changed the truck arm’s or the track bar.”
“Last year, we’d be changing the track bar, two rounds. An 1/8 of an inch on the slug just because the temperature was different one day than the other.”
“They’ve done a heck of a job with that thing. I was wrong.”
NASCAR’s Optical Scanning Station made it’s debut for the entire field in the Daytona 500. It was testing during the 2017 playoff’s for the non-playoff contenders. However, last week at AMS it faced it’s first real challenge.
Atlanta is one of those tracks that’s the bread and butter tracks of NASCAR. Nearly 40% of the schedule is run on 1.5 mile tracks. Teams are going to push the car to every thousandths of an inch to make sure they’re preforming on 1.5-mile tracks.
There were a few issues. Most notably, Martin Truex Jr and Jimmie Johnson who each had inspection issues in pre-qualifying.
Optical scanning was developed in 1969 by Willard Boyle and George Smith. NASCAR’s version was created by Hawk-Eye Systems. Hawk-Eye is the same company that developed the new pit road camera monitoring system.