Archive for Month: June 2012
Safety: It’s not just how fast you go – it’s how fast you stop.
One of the biggest concerns in motorsports wrecks is peak force – that’s the maximum force experienced by a driver in a collision. As the diagram to the right shows, the force you experience in a crash varies with time. When you hear someone talking about how ‘big’ a crash […]
NASCAR issues rules change on Wednesday – one of which extends an earlier rule change to try to improve aerodynamics at intermediate tracks. The other is designed to cut off an entirely new direction of research before it starts.
Infographic: Current Drivers’ Rookie Years
Just out of curiosity, I pulled up some data from racing-reference.info on different drivers’ rookie years in the Cup series. The data are from each driver’s first full year as a Cup driver. I picked out some drivers who have gone on to become series champions, some that will likely […]
Why 200 mph Laps at Michigan are not like 200-mph Laps at Daytona or Talladega
That fact that people are even talking about restrictor plates for Cup racing at Michigan International Speedway indicates a lack of understanding of the issues that give rise to concerns about cars getting airborne.
I touched on the difference between average and instantaneous quantities last week with the pit road speeding issue at Pocono. Instantaneous speed is the speed you are going at some particular instant. A radar gun measures instantaneous speed.
Infographic: Michigan International Speedway Pole Speeds
The red arrows indicate the first race after a repave. The pole speed for the Cup race is 12.9 mph more than last year’s pole speed. The previous record for the largest year-to-year change in pole speed is 6.5 mph.
Michigan: Don’t Believe the Speeds
All the talk at Michigan about high speeds and the hoopla over passing the 200-mph barrier prompts me to offer this caveat: Take the speeds you hear with a grain of salt because the average lap speeds are estimates, not measurements.
The Myth of the 200-mph “Lift-Off Speed”
The speeds at Pocono were high, but the speeds at newly repaved Michigan are even higher. Nine drivers posted lap times over 200 mph on Thursday, leading to media and driver hysteria about the high speeds. What is the lift-off speed at Michigan?
PIt Road Speeding FAQ
A new record for pit road speeding penalties was set at Pocono this weekend. Drivers were able to compensate and there weren’t a lot of penalties after the first set. The question remains: why all the speeding penalties?
Pocono: The Shifty Triangle
NASCAR engines like to run at about 8000-9500 rpm (revolutions per minute); however, the tires on the car rotate around 2400 rpm at 200 mph. The gearing in the transmission and the rear end gear reduce the rotational engine speed, with different gears providing different reductions. When you talk about the size of a gear, you’re actually talking about the relative sizes of a pair of gears. The gear on the left in the diagram has 20 teeth, while the gear on the right has 10 teeth, so this gear would be a 2:1, meaning that the smaller gear rotates twice every time the larger gear rotates once.