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Fired Up: The Science of Flames

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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

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2015 Rules Changes: Testing

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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.

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The Virtual Reality of Racing Simulators

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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.

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NASCAR Concussions II: A Screening Test to Avoid Relying Entirely on the Driver

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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.

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Are Cautions Really Going Down?

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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.

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