Jumping the (Air) Gun
(Air) Gun Control A lot’s changed on Pit Road this year. In addition to cutting the over-the-wall crew to five people, NASCAR decided (by majority vote of the Team Owners’ Council) that they would provide air guns to all teams. Not everyone was in favor of this. Rob Kauffman tweeted that Chip…
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…
Retirements, Replacements and Rookies
Retirement He didn’t use the word ‘retirement’, but the sad news last week was that Matt Kenseth won’t have a Cup ride in 2018. It’s partly his choice. He could have done a Kasey Kahne and taken a ride with a lower-level team, but Matt said he wouldn’t race if…
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 Toyota’s New Nose Change the Cup Series Balance?
The unveiling last Monday of Toyota’s new redesigned race car for 2017 got a little lost between Junior’s wedding and Carl Edwards’ surprise ‘stepping back’ from NASCAR. But every time a manufacturer redesigns and engine or a body, it opens up a giant task for NASCAR. The Level Playing Field A…
NASCAR Drivers’ Risky Behavior and the Peltzman Effect
The introduction of automotive safety innovations is usually accompanied by concern about the side-effects of those innovations. For example, when seat belts were introduced, people worried that the belts would keep them from getting out of a car quickly enough if they needed to. When HANS devices first became available,…
The Digital Dashboard
Those of you of a certain age may remember these odd looking flat black vinyl things called ‘records’. Records are analog devices. A groove is cut into the vinyl. A stylus rides along the groove and translates the wiggles in the groove into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted to a speaker, which turns it into a vibration (which, when pleasant, we call “music”.)
A Band Aid for NASCAR’s Tire Bleeding Problem
There are three things you don’t mess with in NASCAR: engines, fuel and tires.
Tuesday, NASCAR handed down a P5 penalty – the penultimate penalty on the books – to Ryan Newman’s 31 team. Crew Chief Luke Lambert was suspended six races, fined $125,000, and Newman and his owner Richard Childress were each docked 75 points. The tire specialist and team engineer were suspended for six races as well. RCR is appealing the penalty, but I wager they’ve got an uphill battle.
NASCAR’s made its stand loud and clear in the last few weeks. Tire bleeding will not be allowed. If you persist in trying, they’ll come down hard on you.
Fired Up: The Science of Flames
If you were to poll racecar drivers about safety, I bet the majority of them would say the scariest situation isn’t a crash.
Two fears you have as a race car driver: one is being on fire and two is being T-boned in the driver door – everything else you sort of accept. –Elliott Sadler
America’s Motorsports Engineering Pool
Brad Keselowski, that never ending source of material on slow news days, had a few words about the state of American Motorsports Engineering. These quotes are from an article by Mike Pryson in Autoweek.com.
“It’s probably a larger story in itself that the American engineering pool is very shallow right now,” said Keselowski after he qualified sixth at Michigan International Speedway on Friday for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. “Penske is moving to any other country [to find them]. We’ve hired multiple engineers from Europe over the last three or four years and we’re pilfering everyone we can in the great country of Canada, so if you know any of them, send them our way.
“It’s just very hard to get engineers with the educational background and commitment that we need to be successful at this level from the United States. There’s certainly a shortage, not just at Penske, but throughout the garage.”