Calculus

Rise and Run Related to Slope
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From the Lab Notebook: Las Vegas and the Mysteriously Missing Oil Tank Cover

As we head for Las Vegas this weekend, I thought I’d repost on of my most popular posts from stockcarscience.com on 3/5/2008 since the redirects for the old stockcarscience.com site don’t work reliably. The post is about Carl Edwards’ 2008 win at Las Vegas when the team was subsequently fined for having their oil tank cover lid askew at the end of the race. I have edited the post extensively, adding some new information and better graphics.

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Is There Really a Second-Place Curse?

One of the commentators after the final race in Homestead mentioned that Jimmie Johnson should be happy he finished in third because it allows him to avoid the “dreaded second-place curse”.
Anytime someone says something like that, it makes me wonder whether there really is a curse, or whether that person had just been talking to Carl Edwards. So I analyzed a little data and guess what… there really IS a second place curse.

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Aerodynamic Downforce: A Passing Fad?

The question of why it is so difficult for cars to pass each other at 1.5 mile and 2 mile tracks is getting more and more attention. Carl Edwards put it succinctly:

“I firmly believe, and NASCAR hates it when I say this, that we should not be racing with downforce, sideforce and all these aerodynamic devices. We do not need splitters on the race cars and giant spoilers. I have not been around long enough to say something definitely, but it is pretty common sense: if all the cars are very similar and all the drivers are within a tenth of a second of each other but are relying on clean air and downforce, then by definition if the guy in front of you is disturbing the air then your car is not going to be able to go as fast as it could in clean air.”

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Richmond Redux: Relative Velocity

NOTE: Some clarifications added 1:00 p.m. 4/30/12. Thanks to all the commenters, especially @nateryan! I think Dave Moody did a good job breaking things down. The situation is confounded because there were so many different complications. Who from NASCAR is duly authorized to tell a spotter/crew chief/driver their position? Is […]

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