Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Mailbox: What Crucial Element is Still Missing from the At-Track Experience?

Technology is always changing, for better or for worse.

In auto racing, technological advances have made vehicles not only faster, but more durable. However, the experience at American racetracks is far behind the 21st century.

What is WiFi? Well, according to some tracks, no one knows what in the world it is, and that’s a major problem considering it’s 2017. When a problem erupts, the first thing people do is jump to their smartphones. At this point, it’s natural instinct.

But when you’re at a racetrack in the middle of nowhere USA, cell reception barely exists. Once again, it’s 2017, folks.

Track operators need to get on this immediately. NASCAR helped a few tracks modernize their technology quite a bit last year, with the leaders being Daytona International Speedway and Dover International Speedway. But for the rest of the tracks, you need a hope and a prayer when posting a picture or video to social media.

On the bright side, another NASCAR team has announced it not only extended the contract of its driver, but the sponsor as well. Germain Racing will have Ty Dillon and GEICO on its No. 13 machine in a new multi-year deal, giving the organization a sign of stability and growth in a time when funding drives success.

Have a question for NASCAR Mailbox? Tweet me at @JosephNASCAR or shoot me an email at Joseph.Wolkin@gmail.com! 

Q: Is it time for NASCAR tracks to get WiFi? – Jason R., Philadelphia

A: Considering NASCAR’s push at its youth movement with programs such as NASCAR Next, it’s shocking that the sport hasn’t forced tracks to get with the times.

Fans want to post pictures and videos on social media during race weekends, and after Sprint’s departure, cell service is clearly lacking. A not-so-easy but needed fix is adding WiFi capability at all 23 tracks. Obviously, it’s expensive to find a WiFi provider for tens of thousands of people at one given moment, but it is certainly doable.

Think about it: All of the major sports have WiFi in their facilities. Citi Field in New York even has a special area for fans to charge their phones. Heck, Verizon even brings portable charging stations to IndyCar Series events as part of its activation, and it’s incredibly useful.

At this point, it’s a necessity to have WiFi at the racetrack. Why make fans stress over not being able to send a picture to someone when there are only 24 hours in a day?

Cisco, a leader in stadium WiFi across America, is one option for tracks. Another is ARRIS, a firm that is already a NASCAR partner and helped provide the technology to power phones through the Daytona 500 weekend.

With the addition of WiFi, fans won’t have to worry about the airwaves overflowing on their 3G and 4G networks, enabling them to send content with ease.

It’s ironic that a sport known for speed and technology is slowly integrating this enhancement. A handful of tracks have gotten on board with the idea of having WiFi, but it needs to be done on a larger scale and soon.

Some tracks offer certain areas for WiFi, and while that’s fine and dandy, it’s not enough. Why should people wait two hours to upload a photo to Twitter, a key part of NASCAR’s marketing campaign?

It’s 2017. Let’s get with the times.

Q: What does Ty Dillon mean for Germain Racing’s future? – Casey E., Richmond

A: For the first time, Germain has a stable driver and more importantly, a long-standing alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

Dillon was as consistent as it gets in his three full XFINITY Series seasons with RCR, with no average finish for a season worse than 10.5. He was never outstanding besides his triumph at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but his ability behind the wheel in a time when RCR as a whole was re-shaping proved to be worthy of three straight top-five finishes in the standings.

Now that he’s at the Cup level, Germain is the perfect fit for him. The grandson of Richard Childress has a chance to do something different from his brother, Austin Dillon, and that’s to make a name for himself outside of the family.

The younger Dillon brother can separate himself, building his own brand with a different team, even though he’s still getting some support from his family’s operation. It’s an important move as he looks to further his career, and it means Childress himself believes in what Germain is doing.

Germain can now focus on growing its brand with Dillon as the centerpiece, a much more powerful thing to do with a younger, unproven driver.

Though Dillon is only in the midst of his first Cup season, the potential to improve is there. He’s on track to earn the team’s best average finish since it moved from the Truck and XFINITY series in 2009, and consistency is the key.

When Dillon led 40 laps at Dover, he seemed like an ace, and that’s even without a bunch of funding. Figure if RCR boosts its alliance with Germain even more than it did entering this year, Dillon has the potential to have runs like Dover week-in and week-out.

Germain now has the stability to run well for several years to come, and RCR’s investment in the organization is going to be a key part of its future.

About the author

Joseph started with Fronstretch in Aug. 2014 and worked his way up to become an editor in less than a year. A native of Whitestone, New York, Joseph writes for NASCAR Pole Position magazine as a weekly contributor, along with being a former intern at Newsday and the Times Beacon Record Newspapers, each on Long Island. With a focus on NASCAR, he runs our social media pages and writes the NASCAR Mailbox column, along with other features for the site.

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Glen H.

NA$CAR known for technology? That’s a good one.

They using push rod V8s with throttle body fuel injection, technology that was abandoned by most auto manufactures last century. They use a chassis design that hasn’t changed since the much since the 70s with a rear suspension based on something found in old pickup trucks.

NA$CAR might have some technology but it sure isn’t in the cars.


WiFi at the track. You will have a few fans in the stands, glued to their phones, no eyes on the track. Wonderful.


The first thing fans want at the track is earlier start times!

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