06 May 2009 - Jeff Burton at Lowe's Motor Speedway. (HHP/Harold Hinson)
Keith Waltz

WALTZ: A Gamechanger For NASCAR

HARRISBURG, N.C. — Located just a short walk from the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C., NASCAR’s new 58,000-square-foot production facility positions the sanctioning body as a leader among major league sports in generating and delivering digital entertainment.

Home to NASCAR Productions, NASCAR Studios and Motor Racing Network, NASCAR officials say the state-of-the-art facility “fortifies its position to deliver world-class live-event production and on-demand content well into the future.”

The building and its high-tech equipment will allow NASCAR Productions personnel to produce, direct, announce and broadcast live-race coverage from a single location. This eliminates the need for mobile television production units at each race track and curtails the weekly travel routine for several members of the television production crew.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 06: Concord, North Carolina Mayor Bill Dusch speaks during the NASCAR Productions Facility Grand Opening on December 06, 2023 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The new home of NASCAR Productions in Concord, N.C. (NASCAR photo)

Here’s a look at the new NASCAR facility, by the numbers:

  • 3 television studios
  • 8 control rooms
  • 4 audio control rooms
  • 4 announce booths
  • 8 edit suites
  • 140+ employees
  • 8.8 miles of fiber cable
  • 7,056 fiber connections

There are also multiple areas for podcast production along with open spaces where employees are encouraged to share and discuss ideas.

One specific area that piqued our interest was a large rectangular room with a glass wall along an interior hallway. Then, we learned the interesting part.

After this space is outfitted with the necessary bells and whistles, the plan is for it to become NASCAR Race Control. Eventually, officials expect to orchestrate and manage each Cup Series race and its companion events from the Concord facility instead of a booth high above each race track.

No word on when this transition will take place, and fans probably won’t notice when it does. However, from a logistical standpoint, it will be a gamechanger for the NASCAR employees who manage the events.

It’s purely coincidental so don’t start looking for black helicopters, but it should be noted that this new NASCAR facility is located across the street from the offices of World Racing Group and its video-streaming arm, DIRTVision.

■ We’ve noted a few unique driver names in this column through the years, but this one takes the proverbial cake. There actually is an aspiring young racer named Kinser Bloomquist.

He’s from the tiny town of Indiahoma, Okla., he recently celebrated his 10th birthday and he was among the endless roster of participants in the recent Tulsa Shootout.

Who says sprint car and late model fans don’t get along?

■ We don’t understand the nuts and bolts of the legalized sports betting industry, but we found it very interesting that both Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR announced market access agreements with different betting companies on the same day.

The agreements pave the way for BetMGM and DraftKings to bring their online sports betting platforms to North Carolina once legalized sports betting launches. BetMGM is aligned with the Charlotte track while DraftKings’ deal is with NASCAR.

“With Charlotte Motor Speedway’s history of innovation, we wanted to move forward into this new era of sports entertainment with a progressive sportsbook,” said Greg Walter, executive V.P. and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This partnership with BetMGM will bring sports fans new ways to enjoy their favorite events while expanding North Carolina’s tax base, supporting colleges and facilitating recruitment of major events for the future.”

“DraftKings has a proven track record of enhancing the fan experience across sports,” said Joe Solosky, NASCAR’s managing director of sports betting, “We are thrilled to continue working with DraftKings to deliver NASCAR fans more engagement opportunities and bring its leading mobile sportsbook to North Carolina.”

North Carolina’s regulated sports betting market is expected to launch in the first quarter of this year.

■ From the Jan. 26, 1994, issue of SPEED SPORT: Steve Kinser, widely regarded as the greatest sprint car driver of all time, became the first short-track racer to receive an invitation to compete in the International Race of Champions.

“It’s really hard to say just how much being invited to drive in IROC means to me,” Kinser said. “It’s a great, great honor to be asked to be in a series with Dale Earnhardt and the other champion drivers. I’m happy and honored, not just for myself, but for sprint car racing in general and certainly the great sprint car fans.”


This story appeared in the Jan 17, 2024 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.

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