By Tad Geschickter
To be a champion in NASCAR racing, you’ve got to go up against the best teams in the world. It takes the right combination of speed, precision, and performance to come out on top.
At JTG Daugherty Racing, we only have one car and one driver, and we regularly face off against big teams with multiple cars and drivers. To beat the competition, we have to be smarter and faster. That’s why our team spends a lot of time analyzing our car’s data — like engine performance data from on-board electronic control modules (ECMs) — to optimize performance.
The challenge is that NASCAR allows us very little time during the racing season to gather that data from our car. We have to collect and analyze a huge amount of data as quickly as we can, which was tough when we used manual processes.
Gaining a Competitive Edge Through Car Data
We solved this problem by working with Dell, a long-time partner of ours, and General Atomics Electromagnetics Systems (GA-EMS), to develop a powerful Internet of Things (IoT) solution. It uses GA-EMS Intelligent Systems Analytics software along with the Dell Kitenga Analytics Suite to gather data from multiple data streams, including on-board ECMs, testing rigs, tires, and shaker machines.
With this technology, we have totally transformed how we use data from our car. Our crew members can use sensors on the car to analyze track conditions, lap times, and even historical data from different racing years. As a result, we can optimize racing performance so we can compete more easily with the bigger teams. And it’s working. Before we had the IoT solution, we were in 31st place in terms of NASCAR racing points. But we’ve moved up to 13th place since we implemented the technology.
Racing into the Future
So far this racing season, we’re off to an even better start. A lot of that has to do with our new ability to collect racing and testing data and improve car performance.
This is only the beginning of our relationship with Dell. Going forward, Dell and General Atomics plan to build a big data cluster based on the Kitenga Analytics Suite and Apache® Hadoop™ open-source software. That will help us be future-ready, and we’ll be able to compete even more successfully with the big guys.
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