Fan Info - INDYCAR 101 - Understanding The Sport - Timing and Scoring

Timing and Scoring

1. A radio transponder with a unique identification number is installed on the driver's left side of each car, 33 inches from the tip of the nose cone.

2. Multiple detection loop antennas buried in the track surface and strategically located around the track record the passing time and ID of the radio transponder attached to each car.  This information is recorded and relayed to the timing and scoring booth via a trackside decoder that is connected to each antenna.  The information from the trackside decoders is processed by primary and secondary scoring computers, also known as servers, to determine the results of the session.  Data that is recorded by the scoring servers includes the results of each session, all data from the antenna passings, and all times of pre-determined sections set up in the system.  The system records all times to the ten-thousandth of a second.

3. Several other systems are used to backup the main electronic scoring systems.  A high-speed camera, which takes a picture every ten-thousandth of a second, records all start/finish line passings.  Acquired in 2004 as a backup to the electronic system, the start-finish camera is used after every race to verify the finishing order of all cars.  It also is used throughout the race to check close crossings.  The camera played a vital role in determining the race winner at Chicagoland Speedway in 2008 when it showed Helio Castroneves edged Scott Dixon by .0033 of a second, although the timing screen showed Dixon had won.  In addition, two high-frame-rate cameras connected to a digital video system (DVR) also record video evidence of all start/finish line passings.

In addition to the camera systems, manual scoring is done by individual serial scorers that provide a written record of all passings at the start/finish line.

The scoring computers feed live timing data to each team's pit stand via the Timing and Scoring stand located in pit lane at the start/finish line.  All data recorded at each race event is archived and made available to teams, manufacturers and race officials via the internet.

Closest Finishes In IndyCar Series History

 Rank Margin  Date  Venue  Winner  Runner-up 
 1   .0024 9/8/02  Chicagoland  Sam Hornish Jr.  Al Unser Jr. 
 2  .0033 9/7/08  Chicagoland  Helio Castroneves  Scott Dixon 
 3  .0051 7/4/04  Kansas  Buddy Rice  Vitor Meira 
 4  .0077 8/29/09  Chicagoland  Ryan Briscoe  Scott Dixon 
 5  .0096 9/15/02  Texas  Sam Hornish Jr.  Helio Castroneves 
 6  .0098 10/2/11  Kentucky  Ed Carpenter  Dario Franchitti 
 7  .0099 9/7/03  Chicagoland  Sam Hornish Jr.  Scott Dixon 
 8  .0111 6/8/02  Texas Jeff Ward  Al Unser Jr. 
 9  .0120 7/3/05  Kansas  Tony Kanaan  Dan Wheldon 
 10  .0121 7/27/03  Michigan  Alex Barron  Sam Hornish Jr.