SBJ/June 27 - July 3, 2011/Facilities

Daytona app will get test this weekend

Daytona International Speedway executives know navigating their massive 480-acre motorsports park can be a challenge, so they’re launching a new smartphone application to help fans find everything from the rest room to the concession stand.

The iPhone and Android app will be beta-tested during this weekend’s Coke Zero 400. Fans who sign up for the app on the speedway’s website or Facebook page will be able to download and test it.

The track is the first owned by the International Speedway Corp. to create an app. If the test goes well, the company’s technology division plans to develop similar apps for the company’s 11 other speedways that host Sprint Cup races.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the first track to launch a facility-specific app. It debuted during the track’s March Sprint Cup race and provided fans with a GPS-based guide that could take them into the track and to their seats.

Like LVMS, Daytona partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based technology company Thermopylae to develop a GPS-based guide to its track. But its app features other elements, including maps for trams, ingress and egress and parking; late-breaking news; a friend finder that allows you to locate a friend anywhere on the grounds; access to the speedway’s Twitter feed and Facebook page; and the ability to buy tickets.

Craig Neeb, ISC’s chief information officer, said that Daytona may look to monetize the app in the future with some advertising, but that’s not a major priority. Doing so would require collaborating with NASCAR’s top series partner, Sprint. “At this point, we’re looking to support guests and their experience,” Neeb said. “There’s an expectation we have this stuff.”

Neeb said the app is carrier agnostic. It was developed by Florida-based Accesso.

The company has found that its tracks’ mobile sites generate considerable traffic during race weekends. The recent Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway generated more than 50,000 page views from mobile phones.

In the future, Neeb believes, NASCAR will collaborate with tracks on an app that provides race content to fans, as well. The sanctioning body spent much of the last year conducting a survey at tracks to better understand the fan experience and has been vocal about providing more technology services to fans.

“Ultimately, I can see a NASCAR app for the industry, and there’s a Daytona version, a Talladega version and a Richmond version that plugs into it,” Neeb said. “I can see this aggregating at a bigger level.”

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