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Mar 02, 2021 Joey Coulter

In-Car Cameras Pt. 1- Why You Should Run One

After a few years of racing dirt super late models all across the country, I learned something that really changed the way that I communicated with my crew and coached other drivers.

  • Everything that your crew can see from the outside of the car, you can’t.
  • Everything that you can feel and see from inside of the car, your crew can’t.
  • Everything that your crew sees the car do, is the result of something that you have already reacted to.
Although the points above seem obvious, you’d be surprised how long some competitors have raced without realizing those disconnects. This #toolboxtip is going to cover how an in-car camera can help you connect those dots with your crew as well as learn from yourself each run that you make.

In my opinion, an in-car camera for a driver is almost as good as having a data acquisition system. It’s definitely a lot more affordable! A properly mounted camera and properly reviewed footage, can show you your own good or bad habits, give your crew chief a visual of what's going on inside the car, and you can optimize your race-craft. Over the next few blog posts we are going to cover everything from where to mount the camera, to what things you need to watch for when reviewing your footage.

Lets face it. Driving a racecar, especially in an actual race, keeps you pretty busy. With little to no time to think, drivers are usually just reacting to their environment and the feedback that they are receiving from the car. While you are racing, you aren’t paying attention to many or any of the little things that you are doing whether they are good or bad. Having restart trouble? Where are you placing your hand on the shifter when you shift and how are you pushing or pulling on the shifter? Arms getting tired? How far are you away from the steering wheel when you are strapped in with all of your gear on? Kept getting loose in under braking? Do you ever adjust your brake bias during a race? These are all things that inexperienced drivers don’t recognize until someone points them out. Not that I want to drive away business, but you could do that yourself by using an in-car camera. In most cases, the difference between a good run and winning is the smallest details, Watch yourself work and refine those details. We will cover some of the best ways to do this in the next #toolboxtip.

Car not handling the way you want it? Crew chief giving you a confused look as you try to explain what's going on? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way he could see what you were having to do inside the car to drive around the handling issue? Spend a few hundred dollars on a camera and a laptop(if you don’t already have one) and you can! We will cover this more in depth in a later post, but there are some drivers out there who cover up their handling issues. A really tight car or really loose car looks fine from the outside because the driver is compensating for the issues. It's just a natural reaction for some. Others don’t do this at all. There is no right or wrong way but both exist.

The final, and maybe most important reason for running an in-car camera is to optimize your race strategy and techniques. Just for fun, go back and read the #toolboxtip about setting up and completing a pass. With an in-car camera, you could watch yourself go through each one of those steps and improve them race to race and even run to run in some cases. When you are “in the zone” during a race it can be hard to realize how much you are letting another competitor slow you down or manipulate your line. Use your in-car video to prepare yourself metally for those situations. Learn what habits you have when you are racing in traffic, figure out which ones work and which ones don’t. Make adjustments and check the video after the next race!

In-car cameras are more useful than just creating a cool youtube video. For the most part, the cameras that are available are simple to use even if you do everything yourself. Giving your crew-chief the ability to see what you see from the driver’s seat paired with your feedback, connects more dots, more accurately than just talking. Pair that with the improvements you can make to your own craft behind the wheel and you are putting yourself in a great position to pick up a win.
Published by Joey Coulter March 2, 2021