We all have our bucket lists of places we want to visit in our lifetime. For some, it may be an annual event or faraway destination and for others, including me, it’s places like the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - a 100-year-old iconic venue that has hosted some of the greatest games ever played with the best athletes in the world. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to visit LAMC just days before NASCAR would take over the venue for the first-ever Clash at the Coliseum
With this being my first NASCAR experience, I wasn’t sure how to prepare. A few months back, Extreme announced a multi-year partnership with NASCAR – opening up opportunities to get more involved in these types of events.
Before I left for LA, I asked Lucas Topolie from NASCAR, what to expect from the event. Besides telling me to invest in some earplugs, he shared how NASCAR constructed the temporary track in only 41 days and the day they broke ground was exactly 100 years to the date from when the original construction began on the Coliseum itself. He went on to explain how all the materials were hauled in and placed on top of the football field with the ¼ mile concrete track resting 4 feet above the turf. The Clash at the Coliseum is the pre-season race that kicks off the official start of the NASCAR season which is two weeks later in Daytona.
The plan for the first day at the Coliseum was to catch up with Gabe Ochoa, USC Assistant Director Technical Operations, for a short interview to discuss how the venue leverages Extreme Networks technology and hear how they prepared the network for one of the largest attended events in recent years. Upon entering the security gates, I immediately spotted an Extreme Networks access point above the metal detectors and ticket scanners and noticed several more APs sprinkled throughout the concourse concessions and structures. Gabe was generous and provided a tour of the venue and shared story after story from events past while leading us to the interview location at the top of the coliseum and its breathtaking views.
Next up for the day was an interview with John Martin, NASCAR Vice President of Media and Event Technology. John shared his initial thoughts on pulling off the event in the Coliseum and the technology planning that goes into large events to ensure a quality fan experience. As with any sporting event, there are certain technology expectations from fans when walking into a venue and most of those rely on the network to perform seamlessly and with NASCAR speed. Whether it’s posting an Instagram-worthy selfie with the Coliseum torch or pulling up a sports betting app while live in-venue, it must work. John’s excitement for the event was apparent and he also explained how the Coliseum’s bowl shape was going to make the cars extra loud. Thanks for the advice, Lucas.
On race day, I arrived with the masses and the energy in the air was electric (with maybe a hint of gasoline). It was the perfect race day setting. As people entered the gates and pulled up their ticket information on their phones, the network was already hard at work. As the cars rumbled and rolled their way onto the track, the adrenaline was pumping for all of us fans. John Martin was right when he said ”When the green flag waves, fans want to capture and share those moments,” I was lucky to be one of them.
Bucket list ✔️
As the racing season gets underway, NASCAR will deploy Extreme Wi-Fi 6 access points and analytics at several high-speed race and superspeedways.