Collisions

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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, […]

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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.

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The Flap over Roof Flaps

Why Roof Flaps? Roof flaps (the invention of which I detail in my book The Physics of NASCAR) help keep cars on the ground.  This is necessary because of Bernoulli’s law, which says basically that: Faster-moving air exerts less pressure. Slower-moving air exerts more pressure. A wing develops lift because the […]

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Why You Don’t Mess With Fuel Cell Foam

We’d been hearing rumors of penalties stemming from Kansas and everyone expected them to be announced Tuesday. Since penalties usually have some scientific component, I was sort of hoping for some new material. Tuesday came and went. Nothing. Wednesday, all heck broke loose as penalties were announced for the No 20 JGR car (engine issues) and the No 98 ThorSport truck.
The more interesting — and less discussed — penalty is the ThorSport/Johnny Sauter one. (It was a tough week for Wisconsin drivers). The team was docked 25 points, which is pretty huge for the Truck Series and the crew chief fined $10,000. (I realize that seems small when compared to the Sprint Cup Series penalties, but the Truck Series has correspondingly lower purses and salaries.)

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Notes on Respect and Fines

A short note on Denny Hamlin’s comments on the Gen-6 car and subsequent fine.

I’ve talked to a lot of the people in the trenches involved in designing and creating the Gen-6 car. That includes people from manufacturers and teams. All of them have said that the development of the Gen-6 car is a major sea change for NASCAR. This is the most collaborative that NASCAR has been with introducing a new car in some time. Manufacturers and teams were consulted and they all feel that their opinions mattered and were taken into consideration. This was a very, very different process than the COT introduction, which was designed by NASCAR and plans delivered to teams.

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