NASCAR testing technology to officiate pit road in 2015

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The 2015 NASCAR season is shaping up to be one where there will be numerous state-of-the-art changes to the sport of stock car racing.

Already announced are plans to reduce engine size and horsepower.

But perhaps the biggest and most anticipated change will be implementation of what sanctioning body officials are calling “Automated Pit Road Officiating Technology (APROT).”

It’s not exactly robots replacing human race officials, but the new APROT will be a significant step forward in officiating races — and in particular action on pit road — making NASCAR the first professional sport to have such extensive use of technology to officiate its events.

“Innovation helps drive NASCAR, and it is central to the sport’s evolution,” NASCAR Executive Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell told attendees of the Front End of Innovation conference in Boston earlier this week.

“There are several examples of it improving the sport, none more recent — and impressive — than Air Titan 2.0. The next wave of NASCAR innovation is the pit road officiating technology, which will increase the overall quality of in-race officiating.”

NASCAR is currently testing the new system that is reported to include multiple video cameras and enhanced data collection from numerous sensors placed along pit road. The system will be used on every lap.

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Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.