A bit of NASCAR sponsor news that we missed during the week: Wix Filters is now on board at Richard Childress Racing as both a sponsor and as a technical partner.
Next year, the company will serve as primary sponsor for Ryan Newman’s No. 31 Chevrolet at Pocono Raceway in June, the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July, and Michigan International Speedway in August. Wix has supported Newman, formerly of Stewart-Haas Racing, since the 2010 season.
“We’ve had a lot of fun together racing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour,” Newman said in a team release. “I look forward to representing them at RCR and getting the WIX Filters Chevrolet into Victory Lane.”
Additionally, Wix will sponsor Brendan Gaughan in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway next March. Gaughan is moving up to the NNS in 2014 after running with RCR’s Camping World Truck Series program this past year.
As part of the deal, Wix also moves into a technical partnership role with both RCR and ECR Engines. The company will provide the team with air and oil filters as well as research-and-development support.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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