Are Posted Lap Speeds Really Accurate?
After every practice and qualifying session, NASCAR puts out one or more sheets of paper that look like this: This tells you who went how fast qualifying at Atlanta a couple weeks ago. I only included the first 12 lines because I think you get the idea from here. You can look […]
Reverse Engineering NASCAR Stage Lengths
Stage Racing The 2017 NASCAR season brought us stage racing: Segmenting a race into three parts, each of which has a winner (and point reward). If you’re me, the first thing you wondered was not how stage racing would play out. It was “how the heck did they decide on the […]
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 Tire Limits Improve Racing?
Will 2017 Tire Limit Rules Require Harder Tires? Back in the day, the only thing that limited how many sets of tires you could use in Cup-level racing was your budget. It was different in the lower level series, because Cup teams that also ran XFINITY (for example) had much […]
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 This made people like me happy because my friends who denigrated NASCAR as hopelessly outdated and behind the times have one less argument to use against me.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’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. […]
Does Grass Pose a Danger to Racecar Drivers?
Now that most tracks have put SAFER barriers on any possible surface, it might seem like racetrack safety is a done deal. That’s not what we’ve heard this week at Daytona, though. Some of the drivers have some strong opinions about grass. “Grass belongs on golf courses. We need asphalt around here […]
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.
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 […]