November '20

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82 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 W W hen the 2020 NASCAR season started back up in May after being shut down for a two month-period due to COVID-19, things had changed dramatically. There were no cheering fans in the stands, the typical pre- and post-race festivities were gone, and onsite personnel such as drivers, pit crews and camera crews now had to wear masks and practice social distancing The entire 2020 racing schedule was also different, with NASCAR squeezing in the same number of races over a much shorter time period. Those responsible for the design and pro- duction of graphics for the race cars and sup- port vehicles, such as the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Graphics Center, had to deal with significant changes as well. In addition to adapting to new COVID-19 protocols, with the condensed NASCAR schedule, their workload essentially doubled. "NASCAR is revising this year's schedule to get in all 36 races, so we need to be able to respond quickly to any changes they make," says Nick Woodward, RCR Graphics Center manager. "Now, with two races per week instead of one, planning and executing the extra work presents some definite challenges. We are working over- time and weekends to get things done, as we have to print and install twice as many wraps as we normally would—about 10 full vehicle wraps per week." While the print and installation workload increased substantially, Woodward notes that the designs were in fact completed earlier than normal, thanks in part to the sport's participation in iRacing during the downtime. "We had to come up with many of our new wrap designs for use in NASCAR's iRacing series—virtual races that fans can compete in online," says Woodward. "Even though these are basically videogames, the race cars needed to feature our newest designs, and everything had to be 100% Racing Racing NASCAR's return meant long hours for RCR Graphics Center wrap specialists. Wrap Wrap to to While installation work was hectic, the team actually got an early jump on some designs, thanks to NASCAR's participation in iRacing during the downtime.

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