From Garage to the Speedway

Security begins at the front gate

Millions of fans flock to speedways all over the country to catch a glimpse of the high-octane action that the world of auto racing provides. As the most competitive form of racing in North America, NASCAR, in particular, offers an amped-up experience for fans due in part to the exciting Sprint Cup Series schedule, legendary venues, talented drivers, fast-moving pit crews, wide array of sponsors and, of course, the cars themselves.

Behind the scenes, teams of mechanics, tuners, engineers and specialists work tirelessly to ensure the cars are ready to perform as each race weekend approaches. One NASCAR team—the world-class Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (EGR) organization that fields the No. 1 LiftMaster Chevrolet (driver, Jamie McMurray) and the No. 42 Target Chevrolet (Juan Pablo Montoya)—specifically constructed a state-of-the-art facility in Concord, N.C., where these award-winning drivers and talented crews can prep for each fuelfilled weekend and give loyal fans an inside look at the action behind the scenes.

High-tech, High-traffic Facility

Spanning more than 185,000 square feet and housing $22 million worth of race cars, professional equipment, tools and electronics, EGR’s high-tech facility requires the safest and most reliable security and access systems to ensure the crew and cars are kept safe at all times. Due to the overall value of the items and talent within the EGR race shop, facility manager Pete Wilson has taken the necessary precautions to ensure that every access point for this facility is safely and securely operating by installing Lift- Master’s reliable, technically enhanced, UL-325 compliant commercial door operators and gate operators on the market.

Commercial sites like the EGR race shop in Concord have needs that are very different from residential applications— frequency of use being the most salient difference. Whereas the typical residential garage door opener may be used only a few times daily, a commercial door operator and a commercial gate operator may be used several times an hour.

At the EGR race shop, the commercial door and gate entranceways function as load-in points for new equipment, tools and cars under repair, as well as a shipping dock for cars and equipment being sent out each weekend. These doors and gates are vital to the facility’s day-to-day operations, and the commercial operators powering these entrance points need to function reliably and safely at all times.

Given the facility’s large size, Wilson worked with a local LiftMaster professional to help determine which type of commercial door and gate operators were best suited for the structure and function of the facility and the well-being of the employees and visitors inside and out. With heavy industrial usage in mind and the need for dependability and durability at each of the commercial access points, Wilson opted for LiftMaster commercial gate operators (model SL595) and Logic 4.0 commercial door operators throughout the facility.

Keeping Operations Safe, Secure

The LiftMaster Logic 4.0 Model H Industrial-duty hoist operators are installed at seven of the commercial access points in the EGR race shop. These units feature a continuous- duty, high-starting torque motor, a universal-mount frame design, industrial ball bearings on the output shaft and an emergency chain hoist with an electric interlock. Capable of operating up to 25 cycles per hour or 80 to 90 cycles per day, these units are also UL325-2010 compliant, so they include the mandatory primary entrapment feature. Working to continuously analyze for the presence of a primary-monitored entrapment protection system, such as approved photosensors or a monitored sensing edge, the operators perform beyond basic constant contact to close operation. Each door operator installed at the EGR shop includes a set of CPS-U Commercial Photo-Sensors, ensuring the doors stop when something crosses in the sensors’ path, alleviating potential harm or injury to facility employees, guests, equipment or materials that might be crossing under a moving, heavy commercial door.

These state-of-the-art operators not only maintain a safe, secure experience for EGR personnel and guests, but they also alert the team when upkeep is needed or suggested. Equipped with the Maintenance Alert System, the units establish a routine maintenance schedule based on the number of cycles or calendar date so a checkup on the operators can be scheduled with a LiftMaster dealer prior to any issues arising. The doors are vital to the daily operation and success of the EGR race shop, so reliable operation is a must for the team of technicians and owners.

“In racing, safety and dependability reigns supreme, and with cars and equipment coming in and out of our facility at all hours of the day and night, we cannot afford to have a door fail,” Wilson said. “With our commercial door operators and gate operators, we never have to worry about not being able to get in or out of our facility, which allows us to focus on getting to and from the track as quickly and efficiently as possible. In addition to dependability, these products provide security and peace of mind, which gives us confidence that our cars and equipment are safe when we head to the track every weekend.”

Week in and week out, the professionals at EGR truly put these commercial operators to the test, relying on the systems to open and close the truck bay doors twice every hour in a 12-hour workday, or 24 times each day. In addition, the hugely important roll-up doors to the parts room and machine shop open 10 times per day, ensuring that the cars watched by millions each week have access to the service they require. Since installing the LiftMaster commercial operators, EGR has seen more than 1,300 cars and 6,500 components come through the race shop safely and securely.

To help protect the perimeter of the facility and keep unwanted visitors from entering, the EGR race shop also is equipped with LiftMaster commercial gate operators. These extreme, heavy-duty devices support gate lengths up to 90 feet and gate weights up to 2,500 pounds. Fully enclosed and weatherproof, the gate operators have a high-starting, continuous-duty torque motor with built-in overload protection to ensure rugged and reliable performance. This model is ideal for the EGR location based on frequency of use and is likewise UL325-compliant.

“We have had a great relationship with LiftMaster for the past couple of years, both on and off the track,” said Chip Ganassi, owner of EGR. “We use their commercial door operators and gate operators at our race shop because they provide secure and reliable access into and around our facility. We have a great deal of money invested in the equipment within our race shop. So, it’s vital to have a reliable partner that can help us secure it all.”

As fans across the world get to experience the excitement of Earnhardt Ganassi’s teams on race day, each week LiftMaster’s commercial door and gate operators keep EGR’s talented crews, machines and facility running like the well-oiled machines that pass through their doors each day.

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Security Today.

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