Data Science

Data Sharing: Fact and Fiction

New for 2018: Data Sharing NASCAR announced (in a somewhat roundabout way) they would share the data collected by each car during races, qualifying and practice with all teams in the 2018 season. This produced a mixed reaction in the garage. Newer drivers and those driving for smaller teams seemed to […]

Richmond International Raceway Sound Warning

Did EFI Make NASCAR Engines More Reliable?

In 2012, NASCAR moved from carburetors to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). This made people like me happy because my friends who denigrated NASCAR as hopelessly outdated and behind the times have one less argument to use against me. There were many purposes for the switch to EFI: one was precisely as I note above: to be […]

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 […]


NASCAR and Energy Efficiency

It never fails. When I give a talk about The Science of Speed at a University science department (as opposed to a talk for the public), someone will ask “How can you advocate for NASCAR? They’re the biggest waste of gasoline.”

Or something similar.

I’m going to look at this in two ways. People often confuse how much energy is used with how efficiently energy is used. One way to cut back on energy usage is to use less energy, but it’s also possible to use less energy by using the energy more efficiently.


Daytona, Catchfences and Flying Cars

Track barriers originally were erected to keep cars separated from spectators. In addition to concrete walls to prevent the cars from driving off track, debris-spewing accidents necessitated fencing to contain airborne objects.

Catchfences should have the same properties as walls, but they can’t block the view. Chain link fence is a good compromise: It’s cheap, plentiful, easy to put up and surprisingly strong given its high visibility.

Chain-link fabric is an elastic metal mesh. It can give in two ways: gentle forces cause the mesh to deform. The diamonds stretch out of shape, but when the force is removed, the fabric springs back to its original shape. The fence can also deform by stretching the wires that make up the mesh. A large-enough force will break the wire entirely.

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