When the 2020 NASCAR season started back up after being shut down for two months due to COVID-19, there were no cheering fans in the stands or the typical pre- and post-race festivities, and all personnel had to wear masks.
Additionally, the full 2020 racing schedule was also different, with NASCAR squeezing in the number of races over a much shorter timeframe. Those responsible for the design and production of graphics for race cars and support vehicles, such as the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Graphics Center, have had to deal with significant changes as well. In addition to adapting to new protocols, 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 RCR Graphics Center manager Nick Woodward. “Now, with two races per week instead of one, planning and executing the extra work presents some definite challenges. We are working overtime 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.”
Although the print and installation workload increased, Woodward notes that the designs were completed earlier than usual. “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,” notes Woodward. “Even though these are basically video games, the race cars needed to feature our newest designs, and everything had to be 100% accurate. That allowed us to get ahead of most of the design work for this season.”
When it comes to design, printing, and installation, Woodward has a full-time crew of eight graphics professionals and a fleet of Roland DG wide-format printers to get the job done. All the design, printing, and installation happens at the RCR Graphics Center, an 8,000-square-foot facility located on the racing team’s campus.
Woodward points out, “While basic operating procedures have changed, and the work is more challenging, one thing remains the same—the importance of our sponsors’ vehicle graphics. NASCAR continues to have a huge fan base that watches the races religiously on TV. Millions of eyes are fixated on these cars during any given race, so the print quality of our sponsors’ wraps needs to be perfect. NASCAR’s TV audience is even larger than in the past, making the quality of our vehicle graphics more important now than ever before.”
Watch a Roland DGA Facebook live interview with RCR’s Nick Woodward here.