Changing Manufacturers: More than just Decals?
I’d Rather Fight Than Switch If you remember what commercial that was from, then congrats. You are — like me — old. It used to be that an owner was loyal to his manufacturer to the death, but the last few years have seen some big switches in manufacturer affiliations. […]
Will Toyota’s New Nose Change the Cup Series Balance?
The unveiling last Monday of Toyota’s new redesigned race car for 2017 got a little lost between Junior’s wedding and Carl Edwards’ surprise ‘stepping back’ from NASCAR. But every time a manufacturer redesigns and engine or a body, it opens up a giant task for NASCAR. The Level Playing Field A […]
NASCAR and Electric Cars: A Response to Bill Nye
Bill Nye is getting a lot of press lately by suggesting NASCAR ought to be racing electric cars. I was rather disappointed with the reaction from NASCAR fans, as many dismissed the suggestion offhand, or offered ad hominem attacks on Nye. Firing off Twitter insults only reinforces the stereotype of NASCAR fans as […]
Fired Up: The Science of Flames
If you were to poll racecar drivers about safety, I bet the majority of them would say the scariest situation isn’t a crash.
Two fears you have as a race car driver: one is being on fire and two is being T-boned in the driver door – everything else you sort of accept. –Elliott Sadler
2015 Rules Changes: Testing
One of the biggest changes NASCAR has instituted for the 2015 season is eliminating individual team testing at any tracks. In 2014, teams were limited to four tests and were not allowed to test at tracks that were included in the schedule. NASCAR may run some limited tests, but they won’t be having the week-long marathon that was Daytona Speedweeks.
The Virtual Reality of Racing Simulators
You are hurtling down the frontstretch at Michigan, your speed approaching 215 mph. Your seat moves up and down as you hit the seams, but your focus is squarely on getting into Turn 1 losing as little speed as possible. You squeeze the brakes and feel yourself moving forward, only to realize that you’re still moving too quickly. As the car starts to head toward the wall, you panic and squeeze the brake even harder.
The car snaps loose and the next thing you feel… is an engineer’s hand on your shoulder. You turn around to see her barely suppressing a smile.
Opinion: NASCAR’s Restart Problem – What Would Einstein Do?
Sigh. So instead of talking about a couple great races this week, we’re focusing on restarts. Again. Everyone, from pundits to drivers, is questioning NASCAR’s decisions to not call penalties on the critical restarts of both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup races. The rule is that the leader of […]
NASCAR Concussions II: A Screening Test to Avoid Relying Entirely on the Driver
I was lucky enough to speak with Dr. Mark Lovell, an innovator in neurocognitive testing inbetween talks at a conference he was attending. Dr. Lovell came to my attention as the developer of the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing) test, which was one of the tools used to evaluate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s concussion.
Are Cautions Really Going Down?
I honestly cannot help it – scientists are naturally skeptical. If you make an assertion, I will have to question you on what data you have that supports it. This is second nature to the people I work with, but I realize it is damned irritating to non-scientists (aka “normal”) people.
So when I started reading everywhere that “cautions were down 35%”, I had to go look into it. This is a preliminary post – more detailed analysis will follow as soon as I’ve read my students’ final projects and gotten comments back to them.
Fancy Gadgets and Short Attention Spans: Is Motorsports Doomed?
Straddling the fields of science and motorsports as I do, members of one community often email me articles about the other community. It’s interesting to see what ‘outsiders’ think is interesting about the other world. Last week, it was a series of articles about how NASCAR’s popularity is waning because kids are too busy playing video games.