Sciencing Out NASCAR Rules Changes

Rules changes in NASCAR are tricky.  There’s really no way to test them before implementing them. You’re relying on the judgement and experience of the NASCAR team, with input from race teams, drivers, Goodyear and tracks. How to Test Rules Packages? Robert Gauthier (@yetticrg) tweeted a question to me (You…

Qualifying Lap Times for Daytona XFINITY Race

2018 XFINITY Daytona Qualifying

A fast one-graph summary of data for the XFINITY qualifying stats. Up to 36th position, qualifying times are roughly linear with a slope of 0.056 seconds per position. 1st to 2nd: 0.083 seconds 1st to 5th: 0.298 seconds 1st to 10th: 0.602 seconds 1st to 20th: 1.053 seconds 1st to…

How Well Does Daytona Predict A Driver’s Season?

The Meaning of Daytona Ah… the optimism of a new season. Everyone is unbeaten. Everyone is tied for first place. Everyone has a shot at the championship. Then Speedweeks starts. NASCAR doesn’t ease into the season the way, say, college football does. You get two warm ups — three if…

Drafting: Regular and Bump

I looked through the blog and realized that I haven’t really blogged about drafting. I’ve blogged about all the rules NASCAR’s enacted in the last couple of years to try to control drafting, but not drafting itself. So, with Talladega coming up, here goes Daniel Bernoulli: A Founding Father of Racing Sure, NASCAR…

Will Tire Limits Improve Racing?

Will 2017 Tire Limit Rules Require Harder Tires? Back in the day, the only thing that limited how many sets of tires you could use in Cup-level racing was your budget. It was different in the lower level series, because Cup teams that also ran XFINITY (for example) had much…

Driving Concussed

Driving Concussed This week brings the return of Jeff Gordon to the track, but under conditions I’m sure all of us wish were otherwise. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is out again (and will be next week) with “concussion-like” symptoms. Concussion, like many medical problems, is a chronic injury — meaning that it can…

Does Grass Pose a Danger to Racecar Drivers?

Now that most tracks have put SAFER barriers on any possible surface, it might seem like racetrack safety is a done deal. That’s not what we’ve heard this week at Daytona, though. Some of the drivers have some strong opinions about grass. “Grass belongs on golf courses. We need asphalt around here…

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.

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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