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Teams look up to 'Big Hoss' -- for strategy

April 05, 2014, Brad Norman,

World's biggest LED video board a help to spotters

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- It sits on the backstretch, dwarfing the facility's standard-sized billboards as it rises up against the Texas sky. At 94.6 feet tall and 218 feet wide, "Big Hoss TV," the largest High-Definition LED video board in the world, personifies the attitude here at Texas Motor Speedway -- bigger and bolder.

"The saying is, 'Everything is bigger in Texas,' but we're going to have to change that to, 'biggest,' " Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said upon the unveiling.

'Big Hoss' has been busy this weekend, whether it's broadcasting the day's on-track activities or playing "Smokey and the Bandit" Thursday night in the midst of a lightning storm.

So far, the much-publicized 'Big Hoss' has lived up to the pageantry surrounding its unveiling, when 8,000 fans descended on the track as celebrities -- including driver Kyle Busch -- fired it up for the first time two weeks ago.

But for all of that pomp, the screen is more than just eye candy for Texas Motor Speedway. The video board's size and clarity means that it could come into play on Sunday as the Duck Commander 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX) unfolds.

The screen, built to give fans a better race-day experience, may also have the watchful eyes of drivers, crew chiefs and spotters upon it.

"We've had Sprint Vision televisions around the track before, and sometimes we'd be able to catch up or watch during yellows," Busch said. "Certainly the crew guys or even the spotters can pick up on it on 'Big Hoss,' and the spotters being up on the roof and watching the leaders or watching different lines -- you can see all that from the roof, but they can see a little bit better (on 'Big Hoss') from the cameras zooming in on the cars and see what's going on. So yeah, it's definitely an option to use that."

Using the massive track video boards isn't totally foreign. In a first-person blog for last week, Kyle Larson detailed how he turned a nugget of information displayed at Fontana into a motivation that resulted in his first series victory.

"I had never noticed a TV screen in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2 before, but during that last caution I saw my face on it, and next to it, it said five second-place finishes in the Nationwide Series," Larson said. "So I said to myself, 'I am not getting another one.' "

So with Larson among the drivers paying attention to those types of displays, what about crew chiefs? Can 'Big Hoss' be used to inform decisions on Sunday?

"Absolutely," said Chris Heroy, Larson's crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series. "It's really good, actually. We were watching it (Friday) night for the Nationwide race, and it's really helpful. We're definitely aware."



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