Building Cars

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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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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 […]

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Are SAFER Barriers Everywhere the Solution?

TL;DR:  No. As the extent of Kyle Busch’s injury Saturday evening at Daytona became evident, Twitter erupted in angry calls for SAFER barriers to be put up on every wall at every track. An interesting division of sides appeared. A small number of people cautioned that simply plastering every track with […]

Sprint Car Safety

NASCAR fans are used to having our drivers walk away from spectacular crashes.  Unfortunately, we are reminded all too often — like last night — that racing, regardless of all the technical improvements we’ve made, remains a dangerous sport.  As you move from the top-level Indy and NASCAR series, the […]

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