Putting Charlotte Motor Speedway on one REALLY big selfie

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Click on photo to see how wide it can get. (Photo courtesy: Fancam.com)



So you like to gloat in front of your frieds, ever proud that your mobile phone has a camera within that shoots maybe 10 or 12 megapixel photos.

Woooooooo. Big whoop! (Did I just say that? That is sooooo 70’s).

Okay, after setting you up so high, we’re unfortunately going to bring you down with this bit of news. Frankly, your cell phone camera is nothing more than a toy compared to what we’re going to tell you.

We know someone who has a camera able to shoot up to 348 gigapixels. In case you’re wondering how big that may be, think of it this way. You can pick out a person’s face in the stands from, let’s say, roughly a half-mile away.

During the recent Coca-Cola 600, the largest image ever created was taken. Commissioned in partnership between Coca-Cola and Charlotte Motor Speedway officials, this is one massive shot.

How big is massive?

How about 70,000 times larger than your typical selfie (you can also check it out at www.cocacola600.fancam.com).

“Although we’ve been lucky enough to have captured events such as the Super Bowl and UEFA Champions League Final, the limited time available at those events put a cap on the size of image we could create,” said Tinus le Roux, CEO of FanCam.com, which produced the image. “With NASCAR, we have a much longer shoot window and the Coca Cola 600 was the perfect race to try and push the envelope a bit.”

FanCam.com didn’t just push the envelope, it broke it. The clarity of the individual photo is outstanding. We just wish we could blow it up to normal size on this page, but that could send the bandwidth crashing down at NBC Sports — and probably half the East Coast.

Check out the photo above and the video below (which shows the making of the photo). Outstanding job, indeed.

“We strive to continually push the boundaries of gigapixel photography to enhance the fan experience,” le Roux said. “It was very exciting for our team to be able to capture such an incredible image.”

NASCAR has asked race fans to tag the photo on the CMS web site to potentially break a record for most number of tags on a sports-related photo. The current record is 33,000 tags at a 2011 Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.