Old School Vs. Technology

Posted by D.S. 5/23/2015 2:33:30 PM
Most dirt tracks would call a night with 137 cars a special.  But at Dacotah Speedway that’s the number of cars checked in for the Friday night Mandan Dirt Series race.  That’s right, not a special, just a plain, old Friday night race.  What’s more impressive is that the first green flag was dropped at 7pm and when the final checkered flag was waved, it was 10:10pm.  137 cars raced around the 3/8 mile track in 3 hours and 10 minutes.  I can remember a time in the not so distant past that 137 cars would have taken to midnight or beyond to race.  And I can remember a time when half that number of cars could have taken all night to race too.

So what’s changed?  Actually, several things but leading the list is technology.  It started with a product called RACEceiver.  In the past after a caution the lineup was radioed to a track worker who wrote the lineup on a board and then took it out to the racing surface (usually on the front straightaway) and would show it to the drivers as they circled the track.  This parade of laps could go on for what seemed like an eternity.  The RACEceiver changed all that.  The RACEceiver is a small receiver with earbuds that the drivers wear.  Now one person with a two way radio in the tower can talk to all the drivers telling them their positions.

The other piece of technology that dirt tracks began using is called Automatic Sports Timing and it was invented 33 years ago by the founders of MYLAPS.  MYLAPS uses a device called a transponder and it sends out a signal that a wire loop under the racing surface picks up and sends to a decoder in the scoring tower with the driver’s name and car number, thus eliminating the need for manual scoring which was done by a group of people writing down the order of the cars as they crossed the start-finish line.  Dacotah Speedway was the second track in North Dakota to use this type of scoring system.  River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks was the first.

Of course all this technology costs money and for a driver to purchase a RACEceiver and transponder, it can easily exceed $500 dollars.  Because the drivers were willing to spend the money, it has enabled Dacotah Speedway to speed up our shows.

But that is really just the beginning; implementing rules like “one and done” in heat races, having a smooth racing surface, having a solid group of officials and volunteers who week in and week out dedicate their Friday night to making Dacotah Speedway a racing destination where drivers and fans alike want to come each week.
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