Connie Montoya stares, mesmerized, at the flat-screen television on the wall. She presses her hands together and furrows her brow in concern. She has just watched her husband, NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, hit the wall of the Atlanta Speedway at nearly 200 miles per hour.
Will he be able to recover and finish the race in a good position? Or has he damaged his car to the point of no return? And more important, is he hurt?
Juan's voice comes crackling through the bright yellow Nextel Vision FanView that Connie holds in her hand. FanView is a wireless audiovisual device used at the racetrack. It allows fans to watch the race live from different angles -- not just the view from their grandstand seats -- and listen to the drivers talk to their crews throughout the race. FanView also keeps tabs on live race and track statistics, and provides in-car views for up to seven drivers.
With her FanView programmed to Juan's frequency, Connie can monitor her husband's status after his brush with the wall. Juan is all right, but he's not sure yet if his car is.
It's the stuff of every great NASCAR race -- high-adrenaline chases, squealing tires and narrowly avoided disasters. Each weekend, thousands of people crowd the stands of NASCAR tracks to catch a glimpse of their favorite driver zooming by at high speeds. And each week, more and more people are finding new ways to enhance their race-viewing experience.
NASCAR has expanded its mastery of the high-tech world of auto racing to include a number of high-tech ways to view the races. And they can add a new dimension to the race even if you're watching from your living room.
Connie watches every second of the action from the comfort of her track-side motor home. As her husband speeds around the track outside, she bounces her young daughter on one knee and relaxes in her air-conditioned bedroom. But not one moment of the race passes when Connie doesn't know Juan's track position, lap time or strategy.
In addition to the flat-screen television and the Nextel Vision FanView, Connie keeps her eye on her laptop, where a virtual version of the race is taking place. She has Trackpass Nextel RaceView running, which allows her to keep tabs on any developments.
Trackpass is a downloadable subscription service available for purchase on Nascar.com. It comes in two versions -- Scanner and RaceView. Scanner is a simple audio program that allows fans to listen in on all of the drivers during the race and follow their progress. RaceView has more bells and whistles, allowing viewers to watch the race virtually from different angles, follow pit times and stats, and get instant crash and caution updates.
For those who want a more in-depth NASCAR experience but can't make it to the track, TrackPass supplements the television broadcast of the race with on-demand updates and exclusive information. When fans tune in to NASCAR each weekend, more and more of them are also tapping into multimedia platforms.
Back in Atlanta, Juan Pablo Montoya's car continues around the track. Soon it's clear that he'll be able to maintain enough speed to stay in the running for a Top 5 finish. Connie breathes a sigh of relief and settles in to watch the rest of the race, in as many different ways as she can.
For more: www.nascar.com.