by Lynne Huntting
This weekend KYLE PETTY/#45 Dodge will not only race, he will provide colour commentary and analysis live from his race car while he's on track.
NASCAR didn't like the idea of Petty talking while racing under green, so a compromise was struck and Petty will only comment when the course is under caution.
Handling all the technical audio details for this adventure is FREDDIE ALDOUS, the Senior Audio Engineer for Turner Motorsports. He brings with him 24 years of sports broadcasting, with the last 19 including motorsports. Aldous has 15 Emmy Awards for Best Live Sound. Of those, the last two, and three of the last four have been for NASCAR races. Aldous also works with National Football League. He is a freelance, independent contractor and consultant to Turner Sports, Fox Sports, NFL and NASCAR. This year he will do six races with Turner and fourteen with Fox.
Aldous will be the one who can communicate directly with Petty - when Petty isn't communicating with his Spotter or Crew Chief - and determine when to have Petty go live to the TV audience.
Petty will have a stereo microphones in his car, with a separate microphone in his helmet with capability to speak with his team. All of his team communications will be coming into the audio sound booth. The path of the helmet mike can be 'interrupted' or routed by the audio engineer (being careful not to step on communication from the Spotter and/or Crew Chief) to the TV broadcast. Petty's car has a ground base antenna system, and there are antennas all around the track so his transmission s won't be lost at any time.
Aldous works in a $2.5 million sound booth, which is part of an $18 million three-truck setup. He supervises a crew of nine including two other audio mixers - one who handles the track sounds with the in-car camera units and one who handles the in-car communications. This weekend there are 12 Cup cars with in-car cameras.
Broadcast Sports Technologies handles the antennas and track installations. NEP Trucks handles the audio booths for Turner Sports and Game Creek Video handles them for the Fox broadcasts.
In addition to this weekend's in-car commentary, Petty will be in the TNT TV Booth for five races. His replacement drivers are JOHN ANDRETTI for four races and CHAD McCUMBEE for one.
Infineon Raceway is one of two road courses on the NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule. It is a 1.99-mile, twelve turn elevated road course. If the Petty Patter arrangement goes well this weekend, it could be used again at an oval track, where Petty won't have to spend so much time making turns, shifting gears and such. Stay tuned.