Fire: A Motorsports Safety Challenge
While NASCAR has made significant advances in protecting drivers from crashes, protecting them from fire is a much different — and much more scientifically challenging — problem. I was reminded of that by how Ryan Blaney’s night ended at the Coca Cola 600. Fire Safety and Racecars: A Brief History…
NASCAR and Electric Cars, Part II
It’s not quite January, but it’s close enough. The month is named for Greek God Janus, who has two faces: one looks to the past and one that looks to the future. The off-season is a natural time to look both ways. Let’s look forward, not at 2018, but even further….
How to Make Grippier Racetracks Using Spy Technology
If PJ1 TrackBite isn’t the Solution, What is? Dale Earnhardt, Jr. suggested tracks stop using PJ1 Trackbite because it didn’t work well in Charlotte last weekend. He called for additional research to understand how the substance affects the track before continuing to use it. A couple of drivers expressed similar…
Pocono Raceway Solar Farm: Sheep Power
People often point to NASCAR as being an environmentally unredeemable sport because it involves cars burning gasoline. For some reason, people looking for an easy answer like to suggest that NASCAR turn to electric cars and that would make everything better. But the cars on track are a very (very) small part…
Why Use LED Lights at Martinsville?
Since Martinsville announced this week they will install a LED lighting system, I thought it would be fun to take a look at LED lights and why Martinsville chose them over traditional lighting. Martinsville will be the first major motorsports facility to install a LED system. Illumenating Tracks Lighting racetracks is…
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.
Do Tires Affect Gas Mileage?
When winning means a few hundredths of a second, nothing is too small to be ignored. I’ve talked a lot about energy and the importance of using it as efficiently as possible in racing. Gasoline provides a certain amount of stored (a.k.a. potential) energy. Everyone gets the same amount of energy. Winning lies…
GearBrain Roundup: Week Ending 10/2/13
Another week? Already? Where does the time go? Eric Chemi reviews his great picks for Dover and gives us some data to support the idea that it really is a three-man Chase. @nascarnomics is looking into the NASCAR attendance issue. The great thing about this blog is that he explains…
Not Fine with Me!
C’mon NASCAR – I keep trying to defend you and you keep making it hard for me.
@jeff_gluck reports that @nateryan told Brian France that NASCAR seems like
“…an autocratic regime that doles out punishment in a capricious manner.”
While I agree with those sentiments entirely, a slightly different word comes to my mind: “chicken%$!#”