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How NASCAR In-car Cameras Work

The Three-Camera Car

­Over the years, cameras have been mounted almost every place on a race car that you could think of. Racers in the mid-'90s even experimented with infrared brake cams that showed the home viewer how hot NASCAR brakes could get on corners. Since then, the three-camera setup has become pretty standard.

The three cameras used almost universally in modern NASACR races are located on the rear bumper, the roof and in the cockpit of the cars. This last in-car camera is often called the "doggie cam," since it's in the position that might be occupied by man's best friend, if he'd only wear a helmet and keep his head inside the race car.

­The race teams themselves don't install the cameras. There are teams of camera technicians employed by the network broadcasting the race who've got the process down to a science. It involves drilling holes in the exterior panels and interior dash for the cameras' brackets and wiring. The installation and hookup takes about a half an hour per car.

For years, camera crews and crew chiefs have debated the cameras' effect on the cars. In the 1980s, only three races had been won by cars carrying cameras: two by Cale Yarborough, one by Geoff Bodine. To even the playing field, cars without cameras carry dummy weights, which quiets (but doesn't quite eliminate) the complaints of the crew chiefs.

Since the teams don't own the cameras, at the end of the race, the cameras come off as quickly as possible before the car is packed into the trailer. The same crews that install the in-car cameras remove them and pack them up for the next week.

­Let's look at who gets these in-car cameras actually put into their cars.