Fast Track News from Stratosphere Quality
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Fast Track News from Stratosphere Quality
May 2015 // 5th Edition
It's May...which means it is race time in Indianapolis! Stratosphere Quality's Corporate Office is located in this Racing Capital of the World, and we want to share the excitement and energy of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with you. Over 100 years of automotive excellence is woven throughout this great race and city. Thousands of hands, automotive manufacturers, and innovators have touched, manufactured and innovated to make this race the special sporting event it continues to be.
This month, we thank and celebrate you!


The Ultimate Race Fan!

Al Unser is the epitome of a quality race car driver. Setting the stage for excellence, Al took home four Indy 500 titles over the course of his racing career. Unser will be recognized for his achievements on Legends Day this year.
"One of the smartest and most competitive drivers in the history of auto racing, Al Unser's amazing career as a driver places him among the greatest ever in his profession," said Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "Al has become an iconic figure at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is recognized worldwide as one of racing's greatest ambassadors. We all look forward to honoring and thanking him for his endless contributions to our great sport during Legends Day on May 23."
Unser holds the record for most laps led (644) in 27 career Indianapolis 500 starts.The 17-year span between his first and last Indianapolis 500 victory (1970-'87) is also an event record. He is one of five drivers to win two consecutive Indianapolis 500-Mile Races and is the oldest driver to win the 500 at 47 years, 360 days old in 1987.
"Legends Day celebrates the storied history of Firestone, the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the great drivers who solidified their place in history by winning the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. "The Unser name is synonymous with IMS and the Indy 500, and we are honored to recognize Al and his legendary career."


The Indianapolis 500 and Continuous Improvement

The Indianapolis 500, which runs every Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, is nicknamed “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing” but it can also be considered the proving ground for many breakthrough innovations in vehicle technology, safety, and strategy.

Uni Watch contributor Rob Caplette has a great historical recap of the Indianapolis 500 and the big changes for cars and their teams over the years. From the article" When we look at the modern single seater rockets that IndyCars have become, it is hard to imagine that in the beginning the cars were 2-seaters, a driver to look forward and a mechanic to look back. The rearview mirror in your car is an invention that was pioneered at Indy."

The cars have also transformed quite a lot from the early days. With the cars getting closer to the ground and the engines moving from in front of the driver to behind the driver. What about cycle times and safety for the non-drivers? Every aspect of Indycars and IndyCar racing has undergone changes from the original days. Pit stops literally fell from several minutes down to the seconds they take today. As the speeds of the cars grew, the safety measures for the crew grew as well. The guys going over the wall used to be in khakis and other clothing that could easily catch fire. Now, like the drivers, the crews wear fire retardant suits and helmets.

Without that desire to win, many technological innovations we see in our cars today would not have been possible. The Kaizen mindset of the racing teams and car designers with the focus on knocking mere seconds off of lap times meant that no piece of the car would be left unquestioned. Some ideas tested at the track worked well, others didn't. However, that desire to be the best meant that some implemented ideas would be unusual but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be effective.




As manufacturers continue to feel the pressures surrounding production speed, quality can quickly be compromised. It can be risky to focus primarily on speed without looking at performance and safety. A focus on lean manufacturing, quality improvements and increased automation helps producers meet rapidly changing demands without sacrificing the ultimate goal of providing high quality products.

What if speed is the lifeblood of your business? How do you continue to improve speed and still keep safety a priority?

IndyCar is concentrating on this very concern. Speed and performance are the two factors that ignite enthusiasm all over the world when it comes to auto racing. After Dan Wheldon’s 2011 death in a high speed crash in Las Vegas, IndyCar faced immense pressure to improve safety in racing. IndyCar has continued to strike the appropriate balance without diminishing the need for speed.  

"If you start increasing the speeds ten-fold, it opens up areas for different things to occur," said three-time series champion Scott Dixon, one of Wheldon's closest friends."But I think they've been smart in making sure they're not going to overextend themselves."


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About Stratosphere Quality

Your products impact consumers’ lives every day.

Stratosphere Quality is a leading provider of quality assurance and outsourcing solutions, including sorting and inspection services, to manufacturers of parts and components in the automotive, medical device, electronics, home appliance, and recreational vehicle industries. As a partner in quality, we help suppliers and OEMs identify the root cause of quality problems, minimize defects, improve quality, increase efficiency and reduce costs associated with quality issues. Headquartered just northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana, Stratosphere Quality services manufacturers across the US, Southwestern Ontario, and Mexico.

Learn more about Stratosphere Quality by visiting or call 1-877-224-8584

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