About ten years ago a pamphlet that NASCAR had printed during the 2000 season examining the then-current state of the Winston Cup Series, and what it would be like in the future, came into my possession. I would like to compare the predicted future to the actual future.
"I see a future where seats have small televisions that give fans their choice of views from in-car cameras, sounds from the radios, and the ability to switch back and forth," said Greg Penske of International Speedway Corporation.
After the debut of Sprint Fan View in 2006, I'd have to say that Greg Penske was onto something. Penske went on to say, "I can see movie companies testing the early director???s cut or premiering a film for 20,000 people at the track." This also came to fruition in 2006 when Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted the premier of "Cars." Though early reviews indicated this was not very wise due to weather and poor sound quality.
An unnamed author wrote, "NASCAR plans to unveil its own 24-hour-a-day television channel in the future and will also make great advances to its Internet presence." It should be noted that News Corp. originally purchased Speedvision with the intent of making it a 24-hour NASCAR channel, but realized they couldn't come up with enough NASCAR specific programming and created SPEED to reflect a variety of racing and general automotive programming. Having a big presence on the Internet may seem like common sense today; however, it should be noted that in 2000 many people (myself included) thought the Internet was only a passing fad.
"I think you will see a shift towards more lab testing and improvements in analytical tools, said Greg Specht, Ford's manager of racing operations for North America. "Design simulation also offers big advantages. If we can simulate car designs without building and testing prototypes, it will be much faster and less expensive for teams." Clearly Greg Specht was onto something. Around the time this was printed, the most impressive tool a team could own was a plasma torch; today the most impressive tool is a seven-post shaker. As individual teams do more computer modeling, I predict the must have tool of the future will be a supercomputer. Don't let the name or Global Thermonuclear War scare you, building a supercomputer can be as easy as clustering a few hundred video game consoles.
As impressively accurate as some of these predictions of the future were, there were a lot of bad ideas about the future. A lot of people were excited by the prospect of indoor race tracks, then none were built, and I could probably write a whole blog just on why that was a terrible idea. The pamphlet identifies NASCAR's future stars as Dave Blaney, Casey Atwood, and Adam Petty (which is especially pathetic considering that this book was not printed until at least one month after Petty's death). There are also plans laid out here for Bristol Motor Speedway to construct a track that precisely duplicates its current shape, and connecting the two tracks with a series of tunnels (with no explanation of how fans would see inside the tunnels).
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