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Hendrick Motorsports

Automotive Rugged Computing Technology

Toughbook 52: the rugged mobile computing solution for automotive service diagnostics

In 22 years of competition, Hendrick Motorsports has garnered six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (formerly Winston Cup) championships, three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series titles and one NASCAR Busch Series crown, making it one of stock-car racing's premier organizations. All Hendrick racecars are constructed start-to-finish at the 90-acre complex, and more than 700 engines are built or re-built on-site each year, with the team leasing some of those to other NASCAR outfits. Chevrolet racecars entered by Hendrick in Cup Series competition have won the prestigious Daytona 500 six times.

Hendrick Motorsports experienced numerous problems with the commercial-grade laptops in the rugged NASCAR environment.

Panasonic Toughbook 52 laptops were deployed to replace the unreliable laptops.

The Toughbook 52's durable construction and reliable performance enabled Hendrick personnel to be more efficient and productive every day.

Chris Newsome, Director of IT, explains, "Back in 2004 we had a lot of issues with the laptops wewere using. We started researching a rugged laptop and came across Panasonic Toughbook®."

The NASCAR environment is a very rugged culture, and Hendrick Motorsports needed a laptop that could stand up to the dirt, grease, vibration and shock that its current laptops could not handle. Hendrick chose the powerful, desktop-alternative Toughbook 52, featuring a generous 15.4" widescreen LCD plus a full magnesium alloy case and shock-mounted, removable hard drive.

Jamie Kiker, CNC Operator, describes one of the many automated processes. "The engineers use the CAD to design the part. Then we take the CAD data and pull it into our CAM files. We take the Panasonic Toughbook at the machine and program it while we're running the machine—so it makes us more efficient. The Toughbook 52 holds up against all the oils, the metal chips and the grinding dust that we have in this shop."

Jon Plyler, 7 Post Facility Manager, continues, "At the track, we collect 40, 45, maybe 50 channels of data, all downloaded to a Toughbook. We bring that data back to the laboratory environment and we're able to reproduce the aerodynamic and inertial forces that the car saw on the racetrack. So the laptops really help us tie the track and the development environment together. We haven't had any issues with the Toughbooks at all.

Brett Bowers, Aerodynamic Test Engineer, concludes, "The Toughbook technology is a big advantage in an environment like this where you have very dusty conditions. You have to have a rugged machine that is ready to go whenever you need it."

For more than 15 years, Panasonic has designed and manufactured rugged and reliable laptops that withstand even the most demanding environments. Panasonic Toughbook laptops offer a full line of solutions, including fully-rugged, semi rugged and business rugged models that will enable you to toutrace your competitors to the finish line.


No two customers are the same, so our goal is to provide tailored solutions and seamless management to EACH and EVERY customer. With Panasonic, you know we are with you every step of the way, because our relationship begins, not ends, when the sale is made.


Whether performing diagnostic tests or repairing autos, trucks or recreational vehicles, service technicians equipped with notebook PCs can be productive anywhere, anytime. However, most laptops are not designed for work away from an office and are at a significantly greater risk of being damaged. In work settings as demanding as those found in the service bay, laptop damage can occur in a number of ways: drops, spills, dirt, dust, extreme temperatures and vibration. If a laptop fails, there can be significant repercussions. Even a brief period of downtime has a ripple effect that can impact workforce productivity and customer satisfaction.


Panasonic recognizes the importance of protecting notebook PCs from the challenging environments that service technicians face every day. That's why we've developed legendary Panasonic Toughbook® laptops—rugged mobile PCs that protect those components most frequently damaged. The result: maximum uptime and productivity at a lower total cost of ownership


Toughbook laptops' daylight-readable color LCDs offer optimal viewing—from the brightest outdoor sunlight to inside the service bay. With touchscreens, enter data via keyboard, stylus or with the touch of a finger for easy navigation through icon-driven software and drop-down menus.


Since 1995, Panasonic Toughbook® laptops have been engineered from the inside out to provide the most robust wireless performance in the industry. Their embedded OEM modules are isolated from processor noise and heat interference, and their antennas are integrated next to the LCD for unblocked transmission. Both the OEM module and the antenna have been designed into the laptops for protection from drops, bangs and other challenging environmental conditions.

With Toughbook laptops, you can connect to both local area and wide area networks via wireless data service from AT&T, Alltel, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. These networks enable you to access the information you need at speeds that allow for maximum productivity.


Fully-rugged Toughbook laptops are designed using MIL-STD-810F environmental testing procedures for drops, shocks, altitude, vibration, dust and water resistance, and high- and low-temperature resistance. With durability designed into every seal, hinge and connector, Toughbook laptops ensure maximum uptime and industry-leading reliability.

"The Toughbook technology is a big advantage in an environment like this where you have very dusty conditions. You have to have a rugged machine that is ready to go whenever you need it."
- Brett Bowers, Aerodynamic Test Engineer

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