Aerodynamics

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 […]

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Cooling Fuel: Safety or Performance Issue?

Temperatures at the Dover race were unseasonably high. Kurt Busch’s Stewart-Haas 41 team was told by NASCAR officials to remove “heat shields” from their fuel cans. The cans (shown at right) have an 11-gallon capacity. Not shown in the pictures is a tube that connects the nozzle at the top with the […]

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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 […]

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Overpressured Shocks on the 5-Car: How Does that Create an Advantage?

The 5 car got sent to the back for the start of the race last Sunday at Dover after qualifying third when their shocks didn’t clear post-qualifying inspection. Shocks and springs work together to control the rate at which the body of the car moves. The ideal attitude is the hound dog position: nose down, tail up, as demonstrated in the photo at right by my capable assistant Darwin. That position prevents air from getting underneath the car and it sticks the spoiler up in the air as much as possible, which means that more air hits it and creates more downforce.

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