FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raleigh, NC December 10, 2010
NASA Rally Sport, America’s oldest currently operating sanctioning body for rally, has developed new technology to improve the process of getting results complied for rally events. The results are lower cost and a vastly reduced carbon footprint for this aspect of rally operations.
The new technology consists of scoring software that is entirely hosted on the internet, commonly referred to as ‘cloud computing’, in a similar sense as Google’s Gmail. All the scoring logic, generation of results pages and graphs, and data entry live on the internet. The software, which will generate 50 to 100 graphs per event, provides the world’s most detailed rally scoring data analysis.
The cloud computing approach allows the scoring team to be spread out over the entire continent, with only the scoring chief being onsite to review time cards. The people on the racing stages call in the times to the scoring team to handle the data entry. That virtual team logs in to the secure web site to get all the racers’ times entered into the results.
“One of the primary functions of a sanctioning body is to provide tools to the organizers they work with to make running their events easier,” says Anders Green, director of the Eastern region of NASA Rally Sport. “Scoring rally racing is the most difficult data collection operation in motorsports, since you need to move information from an area that can easily span a thousand square miles back to a central location. Race tracks have it easy in comparison, as with a few dozen transponders and a buried loop your job is finished.”
With the best rally being grassroots efforts supported by volunteers, scoring has traditionally been a position that was difficult to staff. Convincing volunteers to drive the long hours to rallies that are spread out over the whole country, only to sit and enter data without being able to see any of the racing action has been difficult. The new software expands the volunteer pool to any of the 200,000,000 people in the US with an internet connection, and they can volunteer without leaving their house.
“At the first rally where we used this software,” says Green “we had ten volunteers who were spread all over the country, from Oregon and Arizona all the way South Carolina and Florida. And they really had a great time doing it, since they got to get the info from the rally before anyone else. For rally fans who love the sport and want to help, it was a fantastic way for them to feel connected and enjoy the racing.”
With the multiple thousands of driving miles that were reduced to zero, and no large trucks of scoring equipment being needed at the event, the carbon emissions related to this aspect of event operations have been brought practically to zero, while simultaneously enabling scoring teams larger than any previously seen in the United States.
“A sanctioning body has the responsibility to be the steward of the sport,” says Green. “Working to improve the efficiency of the event and reduce operating expenses for the organizers is one of the key things we think is important at NASA Rally Sport.”