Asphalt

How Tracks Take and Lose Rubber

The two words we heard most frequently last week in Pocono (after “still raining”) were “green racetrack”. Rain doesn’t just delay racing. When the race is finally run after a rain delay, it’s run on a different racetrack. To get the details of how a racetrack changes from “rubbered up” […]

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Whose Fault Is It? Tires or Track?

There were 15 cautions last week at Kansas Speedway and at least 15 drivers complaining that driving on the repaved track surface was like driving on ‘razor blades’.  “The worst racetrack I’ve ever driven on.” said race winner Kevin Harvick. Normally when you have a lot of cautions, the drivers’ […]

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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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Kansas Wrap Up: What Caused all the Engine Failures?

The defining characteristic of the Kansas race was the surprising number of engine problems. Many of those problems can be attributed to the change in rear gear from a 3.89 to a 4.00. At 190 mph at a track like Kansas, your wheels make 2270 revolutions per minute (rpm). If you watch the telemetry on the television broadcast, you know that the engine is rotating around 9500-9900 rpm. Since the engine is attached to the wheels, there has to be something to change the rotation rate between the engine and the gears.

How Many “Cookie Cutter Tracks” are There?

One of those phrases you tend to pick up as a NASCAR fan without thinking is “cookie cutter track”. That’s the accusation commonly directed at the one-and-a-half mile tracks (like Texas Motor Speedway, which we’re visiting this week). The complaint is that these tracks are so identical that it’s almost not worth bothering to watch. But are they really identical?

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The Math of Fuel Mileage

I guess when you have people feeding you all the numbers you need through your earpiece, you think they’re easy to come by. That’s the only explanation I can figure out for the snarky comments by television commentators about crews not being “smart enough” to figure out how much gas to put in the car so that it doesn’t run out before the end of the race. There have been a lot of fuel mileage races the last few weeks. Pocono is traditionally also highly likely to be a fuel mileage race, so let’s clarify how easy (or hard) it is to not run out of fuel.

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