Safety vs. Speed: 2017 Changes to the Chassis
The Evolution of the Stock Car While many fans decried the look of the Car of Tomorrow, the most significant thing about the COT was a part you couldn’t see: The Chassis. The first time I was around a stock car, I was surprised at how flimsy the sheet metal on it actually […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
Are Smaller Drivers Better?
It’s always a strange feeling when you meet people you’ve seen on television or heard on the radio. You develop a picture of them in your mind and then you meet them and they’re not at all like you expected. Sometimes you expect them to be jerks and they surprise you and are absolutely lovely people. When I met Jeff Gordon the first time, the surprise was that he’s not much taller than I am.
Did Jeff Gordon Really Start NASCAR’s “Youth Movement”?
Admit it. You (like me) have sat in front of the television watching pre-race interviews for a Camping World Truck Series race and asked yourself “Is that kid even old enough to drive?” I thought maybe it was just me getting old, but the numbers bear me out. NASCAR drivers […]
NASCAR Drivers’ Risky Behavior and the Peltzman Effect
The introduction of automotive safety innovations is usually accompanied by concern about the side-effects of those innovations. For example, when seat belts were introduced, people worried that the belts would keep them from getting out of a car quickly enough if they needed to. When HANS devices first became available, […]
What Next Season’s (Safest) Drivers are Wearing
I finally got to the NASCAR Hall of Fame last week. It was a lot of fun, especially since I was there on a Monday morning and it wasn’t all that crowded. The next day they had the Chase drivers there for interviews, so I sort of lucked out having […]
Estimating Fuel Mileage
Last week at New Hampshire, Kevin Harvick easily had the most dominant car, but failed to win the race. They ran out of fuel with three laps to go and finished 21st. The #4 team wasn’t the only team that gambled on gas, but they were probably the team that […]