May 2019

CASE STUDY:
Amateur NASCAR Race Team Drives Winning Results with Exergen Thermal Sensors

Chapmanville, West Virginia resident Lee Rayburn and his teammates have been involved in amateur stock car racing for more than two decades, at first competing in the US Legend Cars races. Two years ago, the team, known as Sniper Motorsport, shifted gears and moved to larger NASCAR Limited Late Model Stock Cars. Rayburn, a civil engineer, knew that some racers used data acquisition systems to improve their results, and wanted to design a solution that would allow him to acquire the tire temperature data needed to optimize camber and improve corner speeds. He and his teammates had no experience with the systems, and given the competitive nature of car racing, others weren’t likely to share their knowledge, so Rayburn set out to learn more on his own.

After some preliminary research, Rayburn purchased a used Racepak data acquisition system. While picking up the system, he noticed the seller had a bracket with thermal sensors that could read tire temperatures in his warehouse, so asked if he could also purchase the sensors. When the seller declined, Rayburn continued on his journey, this time conducting research on thermal sensors. He found the Exergen Installation Guide: Technote #13, which describes how to use Exergen thermal sensors to measure tire temps.

Rayburn wanted to measure temperatures at the outside, inside and middle of each front tire and discovered that Exergen’s IRt/c.01-J-240F non-contact sensors were ideally suited to his goals. The sensors are sized only 1.28” x .71” Dia., have mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) rates of a thousand years, and have no active electronics, so essentially can never fail. The team’s race car’s tire temperatures range from 180 oF during the Fall to 250 oF during Summer months, and data is constantly changing, but the Exergen sensors-- with a temperature range of 180 oF to 250 oF and response times between 50 and 150 milliseconds --were more than up to the task.


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