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Mon, 10 Dec 2007, 11:46 AM

New England Dragway Upgrades to Fiber Optic
Courtesy of IHRA Communications


Racers returning to New England Dragway in 2008 may not see the latest upgrade, but they will be able to take advantage of its features. Bob Brockmeyer from CompuLink and track maintenance personnel just finished installing nearly a mile of new conduit and fiber optic cable, replacing the old direct burial copper cable that had been in place for more than twenty years.

According to Track Manager Joe Lombardo the fiber optic system provides significant advantages over the old system. "There were a number of drawbacks to using 25-pair copper cable. The most significant of which was susceptibility to lightning strikes. Even though we were diligent about disconnecting our computer cabling, there were a number of occasions in recent years where we were caught off guard.

"The old system also prevented us from using some of CompuLink's newest features. Especially StageLok. Anyone that ever experienced a red light because they shallow-staged their vehicle and rocked out as they came up on the converter knows how frustrating that can be. Brockmeyer's new feature virtually eliminates that from happening."

Other features that come along with the new system include the ability to use Crosstalk. This is becoming more prevalent at tracks around the country for racers who use delay boxes and cross over to their opponent's dial-in. New England Dragway's upgrade also includes a new fiber optic/LED tree, as well as scoreboard enhancements.

Because the installation of new conduit and cable required cutting across the track's burnout area new concrete pads will be installed before the start of the track's 2008 race season. "Other than the new burnout pads, this is one of those improvements our racers wouldn't necessarily know about. We consider it something our customers deserved," said Lombardo.

In the past five years New England Dragway has invested more than $1,000,000 into upgrades that include repaving the shutdown area, extending its concrete race surface, grinding and smoothing the entire quarter mile race surface, new grandstands, a state of the art sound system, and extensive paving in the pit area. Lombardo said these improvements follow the philosophy established when the track first opened. "New England Dragway has always taken pride in the fact it is a facility built by racers for racers. Our shareholders don't take a cash dividend. Instead, they want to continually reinvest in the track. It's what makes us unique, as well as one of the best track's in the country."

This is not the end of improvements. He and General Manager Larry Bean are reviewing options to improve track lighting. "We're evaluating our lighting needs to determine which system will work best," explained Lombardo. "There are a number of options available to us. We want to make sure that any system we install benefits our racers, as well as spectators."

New England Dragway is set to open its 2008 season on April 2. Along with vibrant sportsman and street night programs the track hosts the NOPI New England Nationals, Fun Ford Weekend, and the Amalie Oil IHRA North American Nationals presented by the New England Dodge Dealers. The track's official 2008 schedule will be released during the annual World of Wheels show in Boston January 4 - 6, 2008.

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