Motorsport News

Live SMT Data Walks a Thin Line in Modern NASCAR

Nascar Cup Series Alex Bowman NKP

Modern technology.

No matter your line of work, it is something that has become vital to the health of businesses in the present day. Another group’s advancement risks putting a competitor at a vulnerable disadvantage.

As I was on a road trip recently, it got me to thinking about what it was like to not have Google Maps (no, I’m not trying to make anyone feel old). I remember seeing several Atlas maps in my grandparent’s car over the years, and it really shows how dependent we have become on modern technology.

The stream of technological innovation has poured into the sports industry as well. Each piece of data and statistics have become thoroughly analyzed and studied across most sports to give an athlete or team the highest percentage chance of winning.

However, what if the lights went out?

Look no further than this past weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway when internet connection went down, preventing teams from accessing live SMT data.

In 2018, all Cup teams received access to SMT data from their competitors. Provided by a company called SMT, teams can see live timing and scoring, telemetry that shows drivers’ braking pressure and zone, throttle time, and where they ultimately use it on the track.

This data is also provided to the broadcasts so they can provide to viewers who is the fastest on track or who is struggling. It also allows them to use the GhostCar that you typically see during qualifying sessions.

Without question, technology goes into the cars and set-ups across all motorsport disciplines today. In NASCAR alone, drivers use it to study their own data and that of their competitors to better themselves. It is a valuable tool for engineers and crew chiefs as they set up their cars. Simply, technology is the framework for much of what happens behind the scenes anymore.

The conflict that arises is how it pairs with the Next Gen car. It is no secret that NASCAR’s seventh generation car has received complaints on its inability to pass and how close the competition is. At several tracks, the entire field is within just a couple of tenths of each other at times.

But how much of today’s close quarters is attributed to live SMT data? Driver opinions have varied, with some who like it, some who don’t mind either way and others…

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