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. […]
Turning at Bristol: A Weighty Matter
A lot of drivers cite Bristol as one of their favorite tracks. It’s a great exhibit for the argument that racing is more than just pure speed. High banks (which we know mean speed!) and a short track, which means tight racing. But a lot of drivers will tell you that Bristol is one of the most exhausting, physically demanding tracks on the circuit. Add to that the inherent stress of short-track racing, where 43 cars are operating in a limited (half-mile) track.
Racing without Friction
Daytona is an enormous, sweeping track. Two-and-a-half miles, 31-degree banking and corner radii of a thousand feet. The infield by itself is 180 acres. If you’ve ever been there (or Talladega), it really does take your breath away when you first enter. Now, bigger tracks (or rather, tracks with bigger turns) automatically […]
Knowing the COSMOS doesn’t mean you know NASCAR
Everyone’s favorite “planet” killer had a spare hour because COSMOS was pre-empted Sunday by the Coca Cola 600. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson edified us with some “NASCAR physics”. There were 43 drivers who had no problem taking the corners at more than 165 mph without skidding into the “embankment” and […]
NASCAR, Physics and the Cosmos
Okay. COSMOS was pre-empted Sunday in favor of the Coca Cola 600 and COSMOS host, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, decided to edify us with some NASCAR physics. I bet 90% of NASCAR fans immediately know there’s something wrong here. In fact, all you had to do was watch the […]
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 […]
Turning, G-Forces and Banked Tracks.
Dover is a fascinating track – twenty-four degrees of banking, but only a mile in length. A student approached me with a question: Higher-banked tracks generate higher centripetal forces – so why doesn’t the track banking appear in the equation for centripetal force? I’ve talked about centripetal forces in detail […]
Why Turning is Hard
Why Turning Fast is Hard If Isaac Newton had been a racing fan (which I’m sure Sir Isaac would have been if had cars been invented in the 1600’s), he might have stated one of his laws this way: A race car going straight down the backstretch at 180 mph […]