As you can tell, we're in the middle of big 'ole re-do of the Building Speed site. Bear with us as we switch hosts to one that is hopefully more reliable than the last... If you'd like to see the blogs, there's a mirror at https://medium.com/building-speed/
The Goodyear Blimp… Technically Isn’t
I’ve started work on a new book about how rapidly we’re learning to integrate robotics with human beings. It won’t be too long before we have real-life cyborgs. One of the most surprising things I’ve learned in researching the book is the huge role the military plays in developing advanced prosthetics — which might […]
How NASA Research could end NASCAR Engine Failures Due to Trash on the Grille
For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle […]
Why Use LED Lights at Martinsville?
Since Martinsville announced this week they will install a LED lighting system, I thought it would be fun to take a look at LED lights and why Martinsville chose them over traditional lighting. Martinsville will be the first major motorsports facility to install a LED system. Illumenating Tracks Lighting racetracks is […]
NASCAR’s Laser Inspection Process: Confidence and Accuracy
There Will Be Rules… The last time I was at the R&D Center, I was given a copy of the official NASCAR rule book for 1948. It was about a quarter of a page. Now there’s a thick booklet filled with detailed specifications, part numbers, measurements, tolerances and AutoCad drawings. Weekly […]
Is Stricter Enforcement of Pit Road Speed Limits Making Pit Road Less Safe?
The Purpose of Pit Road Speed Limits NASCAR implemented pit road speeding rules in 1991. The year before, Mike Rich, a tire changer for Bill Elliott, had been pinned between Elliott’s car and the car of Ricky Rudd when Rudd came into the pits fast and locked his brakes. Rich died in surgery. To […]
How is a NASCAR Driver at Bristol like an Astronaut?
The Unique Challenges of Bristol Many drivers will tell you that, despite not having the highest speeds or a unique shape, or a long race time, Bristol is one of the most exhausting stops on the schedule. Laps take about 15 seconds, with about 60% of each lap being turns. […]
How Tracks Take and Lose Rubber
The two words we heard most frequently last week in Pocono (after “still raining”) were “green racetrack”. Rain doesn’t just delay racing. When the race is finally run after a rain delay, it’s run on a different racetrack. To get the details of how a racetrack changes from “rubbered up” […]
Driving Concussed This week brings the return of Jeff Gordon to the track, but under conditions I’m sure all of us wish were otherwise. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is out again (and will be next week) with “concussion-like” symptoms. Concussion, like many medical problems, is a chronic injury — meaning that it can […]
When is a Tire Test Not a Tire Test?
Ch…Ch… Ch… Ch….Changes! If you were going to pick an icon for the upcoming race at Kentucky, it would be a giant question mark. It’s almost like coming to a brand new track. This is the first race of the year in Kentucky, so we’re dealing with the new 2016 […]
NASCAR’s Goldilocks Problem: How much Downforce is “Just Right”?
The Problem The current racecar handles badly when its aerodynamics are disturbed by another car. This makes it very difficult to pass. The advantage of having clean air become insurmountable, which makes for less exciting racing. Why? A word once relegated to engineers, but now you hear everywhere :downforce There […]