ISC: Track Security Measures Examined

There are plans on the drawing board to bring Daytona International Speedway, and all other tracks owned by International Speedway Corp., into the high-tech security era. Speedway officials are reviewing ticket and credentialing systems to see if adding bar codes, even radio frequency identification chips, would help keep sensitive areas around the track more secure.

The staff at Daytona is preparing in all areas of function for a monster crowd of race fans for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and ancillary events during Speed Weeks 2008. Most race fans abide by the rules, staying clear of highly restricted zones such as the garage area, pit road, gas pumps, inspection stations and the Nextel Cup driver/owner RV lot. But occasionally, one will wander from the herd, which has the potential of causing all sorts of unwanted chaos.

For instance, during practice sessions, drivers will turn off their engines and coast — sometimes all the way to their garage stalls — to get a sparkplug check. For someone unfamiliar with garage etiquette, they could be struck down by a race car since most drivers figure knowledgeable pedestrians will get out of the way. One security measure being analyzed is bringing race tickets and credentials "to life" in this digital age.

Power and ISC are researching the use of tracking systems that will tell security guards electronically if someone is allowed in certain areas of the racetrack. "Yes, we are looking at RFID technology and bar codes, but we need to test the process further before we implement it at our facilities," he said.

Power said there's probably not enough time at this point to use such a system for the upcoming Speed Weeks, but some sort of ticket-with-a-chip could be put to use as the 2008 season progresses.

ISC has 18 Nextel Cup dates throughout the season which stretches from February to November. "It's not going to happen tomorrow," Power said. "It's probably not going to happen in early 2008, but it's going to happen sometime."(

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