NASCAR Frequency App for iPhone and Android Smartphones

For probably about 5 years now, people have been wondering why no one is offering a NASCAR app that allows people to listen to their favorite drivers team directly from their phone.

There’s probably a number of reasons why – but as a NASCAR fan who’s invested over $500 in Bearcat Scanners and custom headphones, there’s no reason why technology shouldn’t be updated to allow scanner frequencies on smartphones. But it doesn’t come without challenges.

­Why a Scanner?

NASCAR ScannerIt’s a great track experience to eavesdrop in on all of the team communications. Team members carrying a two-way radio tuned to the team frequency during a NASCAR race may include the owner, team manager, driver, crew chief, team spotter, crew members, competition director, engineers, mechanics and specialists. Even more people are involved in a multi-car team. The driver most often consults with his team’s race spotter and crew chief during a race. Of course, the owner or team manager can intervene whenever he or she feels it’s necessary.

Scanners in The Public Domain

If you didn’t know it, police scanning is a critical communication method for reporters to track local police activity. Seems that when you know reporters are following, aren’t the criminals monitoring as well? Think about it. Why are police scanners public? Why aren’t they encrypted to keep anyone on the web or on their smartphone from listening in? The answer is that it’s been part of the public domain for so long, it’s part of the scanner fabric. There was some discussion — and a late 2011 public hearing — in Washington D.C. about its decision to have scanners go quiet. Police argued that criminals were using scanners to plan crimes and that public information officers had other means of informing people about whatever police events were occurring. Local media got upset, but, really, it’s up to police whether they allow scanners to be public or not.

What is NASCAR Doing?

nascarLogo

 

NASCAR (and auto racing in general) seems to be the only major sport that allows you to evesdrop on the “behind the scenes” discussions during the race. A pretty innovative idea considering all major stick and ball sports don’t.

With NASCAR seemingly in complete control of the communication, NASCAR has finally updated it’s laptop/tablet/smartphone app to allow listeners to hear in car radio from their high tech devices.

The new NASCAR app for Sprint Subscribers
The new NASCAR app for Sprint Subscribers

It’s called the Nascar Raceview Mobile by NASCAR Digital Media, LLC .
The new NASCAR app. as a subscriber you can add premium features including live 3D virtual races, race radio and driver audio. The app is slick. Download and check it out.
•$4.99 per month via iTunes or Google Play
•$39.99 per season via iTunes or Google Play
•NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE is available to anyone who downloads application regardless of carrier for free and requires a monthly or seasonal subscription.
•Sprint offers NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE without subscription to their customers on a Sprint device with an Unlimited data plan.
•NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE is available to anyone on other wireless carriers and over WI-FI via a monthly or seasonal subscription on iOS or Android devices.
•Sprint customers will be required to subscribe to NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE premium content on non-Sprint devices such as a non-Sprint iPad/tablet/device or WI-FI only iPad/tablet/device.
•Sprint offers NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE without subscription to their customers on a Sprint device with an Unlimited data plan.
•NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE has been updated to be used 7 days per week with new FREE features. Fans will now be able to tour each weeks virtual track layout, view the upcoming schedule, dive into driver stats, and view the prior week’s Top 10 data. The most recent version upgrade included performance enhancements based on feedback. Overall ratings for the app have been 3.8 based on almost 7,000 reviews – which is actually very positive feedback experiences.

NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE requires a subscription product for premium features which include:

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Races
  • Live Driver In-Car Audio & NASCAR Officials Audio
  • Live Broadcast Radio: MRN, PRN
  • Live Real-Time Track Position & Driver Telemetry
  • Live Real-Time Advanced Leaderboard
  • Live 3D Race Virtualization
  • For more information visit:  Click Here

How do You listen to Driver and Official Audio?

A couple of things to consider if you’re thinking to dump the scanner for an app. First of all, there’s a battery issue. It’s definately a challenge to keep a smartphone battery functioning for a 4 hour race. So make sure you have a backup battery to keep you going.

Next is to consider is data. While tracks like Daytona International Speedway are installing Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the speedway, make sure that you have unlimited data since you could use up to 2-4 gigabytes of data for just one race.

Lastly, consider streaming delays. We tested the Sirius XM NASCAR Radio station via a Samsung Galaxy S5 recently and noticed that there was a 4-5 lap delay at the track (which pretty much makes the app useless at the track.

According to NASCAR’s website here’s what you get with the NASCAR Raceview Mobile app:

  • Yes, access to live race audio and live driver/official audio requires a subscription to NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE
  • When in live race mode, you can access Motorsports Radio Network (MRN) or Performance Radio Network (PRN) via the Select Audio Stream section located at the bottom of the application. Radio Broadcasts and Officials audio channels controls are also available at the top of all other application pages. This function requires a subscription to NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE or a Sprint Unlimited data plan.
  • In the lower right corner of the app, there are audio functions: Mute, Radio, Drivers, Race Officials. By selecting any one of these items, the user will be able to hear the audio. For Drivers, the audio will be selected by the car selected on the screen.
  • To change driver audio, select a car by tapping on the car or by changing the driver in the leaderboard. Audio can take up to 10 seconds to filter. This function requires a subscription to NASCAR RACEVIEW MOBILE or a Sprint Unlimited data plan.
    Note: Drivers and their teams may not talk the entire race. Expect frequent times of no audio chatter. Prolonged times of no audio may in fact be an issue with the audio feeds which NASCAR will address during the race.

Developers Wanted

But what about the free market outside NASCAR? How can the free market step in and create a NASCAR Frequency App? I’m sure there’s a number of very smart people out there that can solve the problem. The frequencies lie typically within the 460.000 range and also there are local broadcasts from officials and broadcast media at each track that could be configured similar to a handheld scanner. Problem is, once the app is created, bye-bye goes the entire scanner business, following that of the dashboard Garmin GPS. There really should be a low bandwidth light weight alternative.

Here are just a few examples of Scanner Frequencies for some of the sports popular drivers:

NASCAR-frequencies-list

Current iOS Top Frequency Apps

  • Scanner Radio
  • Emergency Radio Free (Police Scanner)
  • Action Scanner – Police, Fire, EMS and Amateur Radio
  • 5-0 Radio Police Scanner
  • Live ATC Air Radio
  • NASCAR – Nascar Raceview Mobile (time will tell)

Headphones and Earbuds

 

old school headsetSo you have those big clunky headphones to use at the track? Throw them away! The latest technology including noise cancelling AND noise isolating earbuds and headphones, both are now at least as good as their bigger and older models. After noise isolatingattending Speedweeks in Daytona this year, I used a standard set of Panasonic Noise Cancelling earbuds (with 1 AAA battery) and had an awesome experience. Prices range from $8.99 to over $300 so the choices are endless. I prefer to stay in the $50 range. But the Bose In Ear buds are amazing to listen to when you’re away from the track…..so keep that in mind.

End Result – no need to bring two sets of the larger Racing Communication or Race Scan Over the ear headphones anymore. Look for mine on eBay!

Thoughts?

Overall, from an app perspective, NASCAR is moving in the right direction but needs to get a few objectives right. First, the app needs to NOT crash on all devices which is showing that the customer experience really isn’t up to standard.

Secondly, the delay that people experience needs to be addressed before you’re going to have a solid “at the track experience” whether you’re at the track or listening as a tv supplement at home. For example, Sprint’s FanVision device uses UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radios instead of the usual WiFi or other options. With fans all with smartphones using WiFi, FanVision had to find a way to provide fast, fluid, and uninterrupted video and data. UHF TV technology works perfectly.

Lastly, start with the basics instead of getting all those bells and whistles. Focus on the audio first, then the video enhancements later.

Overall – get it right the first time or we won’t be back. Developers wanted!

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “NASCAR Frequency App for iPhone and Android Smartphones

  1. Geez. The radios are only good for a mile or two. Someone has to be at every track with the equipment to feed 43 frequencies into an app AND have the bandwidth to push it onto the web. And you want all this for free? Really? Pay the fee – support your sport.

  2. The communication is free – the technology is the issue. Many would pay for it if it wasn’t on a huge delay. The challenge is can someone be at home watching on TV and get the scanner discussion alongside the TV. There’s a tech challenge. But agree – the NASCAR app is the first attempt. But even that one isn’t ready for prime time. Hard to believe a company can roll out a chargeable solution that’s really unstable. Should be free until they figure it out.

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