Microsoft and NASCAR have a history of working together to bring technology to the forefront of the NASCAR business, making the sport safer and significantly increasing its fairness. Another primary goal for NASCAR is to find new ways to increase and enhance fan engagement. This includes sharing the wealth of data NASCAR collects from cars, drivers, tracks and teams with fans, in a new and compelling way. That's why we’re so excited about our collaboration within the re-launch of NASCAR's fantasy game.
The new driver comparison tool uses historical data from NASCAR’s robust data warehouse to compare two drivers at all the tracks on this year’s schedule. Now, for the first time, fans can compare the full racing profile of two drivers all in one place. This is just the first step in a greater effort for NASCAR to share race data with fans in a new and exciting way.
NASCAR is no stranger to the impact of Power BI and has been using the technology internally for a couple of years to help its tech team and business decision makers more easily understand the massive amounts of data they collect at each race – from track conditions to red flags – which has helped NASCAR not only to make faster decisions, but also modernize their business and improve operations. “NASCAR, as a whole, generates a mountain of data. The cars have a variety of sensors in them, including the ECU and highly precise GPS positioning. Power BI gives anyone on the NASCAR team easy access to that data, visualized in a way that is quick to digest to help make business decisions,” says Stephen Byrd, Senior Director of Technology Integration and Development at NASCAR.
Like many of the reports we all work on, the main focus when building this tool was simplicity.
We worked with the NASCAR.com team to include as much information as we could in a small 320-pixel wide column on the site. Microsoft Power BI’s open visualization platform was leveraged to create a custom visual that fit the simplicity and size needs of the NASCAR.com team. These unique sizing challenges also allowed us to make use of the new ability to turn off the visual header in reading mode for a report. When this visual header displayed, it blocked important pieces of the report as we packed visuals together, and we didn’t expect users to do many of the actions that currently show in the visual header, such as opening the visual in focus mode or drilling down. This feature was released in the March Feature Update. To learn more, be sure to check out this blog post and the video below by Amanda Cofsky (Program Manager, Power BI Desktop).
Power BI is excited to help empower fans with the same access to data that NASCAR’s internal teams have benefitted from to play the fantasy game and track player performance, and to show off how new capabilities in the tool are benefiting our customers. Check out the game for yourself and comment below with what you think!