‘BigMo 4’ video screen making big impact at NHRA events

1 Comment

When it comes to NHRA drag racing, the faster the better.

Now it’s also the bigger the better when it comes to viewing the straighline sport.

Earlier this season, the sanctioning body, along with NEP Screenworks, debuted “BigMo 4,” one of the largest mobile LED display screens in North America.

While it’s significantly smaller than Texas Motor Speedway’s hulking “Big Hoss,” BigMo still takes up a substantial chunk of real estate, measuring 19 feet high by 33 feet wide. There is also an additional four-foot ad banner that surrounds the screen.

(That sure beats anybody’s big-screen TV at home.)

Plus, it’s portable, contained in a trailer that also includes a production room, able to be set up at all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events. The next stop for BigMo 4 will be next week’s drag race at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, the start of the NHRA’s annual three-races-in-three-weeks “western swing.”

“Having this new BigMo on site this season has definitely enhanced the live race experience for our fans,” Jim Trace, NHRA’s director of broadcasting and video communications, said in a media release. “We want everyone at the track to experience all of the drama of the race up close, and the massive screen on BigMo 4 really works to amplify the action.

“With the addition of the ad banners, we also have a really unique way of connecting the NHRA brand and our sponsors to the fans while they are engaged, on site and having a great time.”

Other versions of BigMos are also utilized in other outdoor events, including other motorsports series such as NASCAR and IndyCar.

“BigMo 4 will follow NHRA for the next four seasons, traveling to 24 races each year,” said Sam Artinger, director of racing for NEP Screenworks. “Because it is an entirely self-contained solution, it can set up in less than two hours, cover the race live, and then easily pack up and drive to the next location.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
Leave a comment

COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”