How NASA Research could end NASCAR Engine Failures Due to Trash on the Grille
For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle […]
Can Anyone Really Win at Talladega?
Every year at this time, we hear that Talladega is a wild card because “Anyone can win”. Which, of course, made me wonder — can anyone win?
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 […]
Keeping Racecars on the Racetrack
Ryan Newman escaped NASCAR sanctions for his comments immediately after being discharged from the infield care center at Talladega.
“They can build safer racecars, they can build safer walls, but they can’t get their heads out of their asses far enough to keep them on the race track and that’s pretty disappointing, and I wanted to make sure I get that point across,” he said. “You all can figure out who ‘they’ is.”
Why You Can’t Judge How Dark it is on Television
When you were a kid, perhaps you locked yourself in the bathroom, turned out the lights, positioned yourself in front of the mirror and then turned on the lights to watch your pupils grow. And if you’ve never done this, shame on you for not being curious. Go do it. Now.
Why Drying Tracks Takes So Long
Why does it takes so long for a track to dry? Why does humid weather make track drying take even longer?
Air is a mix of gas molecules: mostly (78%) nitrogen, about 21% oxygen, the rest misc. gases. The composition is pretty uniform with the exception of how much water is in the air. The absolute humidity is the amount of water in some chosen volume of air, for example, how much water vapor is in one cubic meter of air. Air can only hold so much water vapor and that amount depends on the temperature and pressure. Dry air would be no ounces of water in a cubic foot of air. If the vapor is saturated at 30 degrees centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit), then the amount of water could be up to three one-hundredths of an ounce of water per cubic foot.
Why Turning is Hard
Why Turning Fast is Hard If Isaac Newton had been a racing fan (which I’m sure Sir Isaac would have been if had cars been invented in the 1600’s), he might have stated one of his laws this way: A race car going straight down the backstretch at 180 mph […]
Degrees of Difference: How is Martinsville like Fontana?
I love getting questions from readers because I always worry that the geeky stuff I find interesting is only interesting to me. I love it even more when they not only give me a question, they also supply part of the answer! This one has to do with the degrees […]
NASCAR Concussions II: A Screening Test to Avoid Relying Entirely on the Driver
I was lucky enough to speak with Dr. Mark Lovell, an innovator in neurocognitive testing inbetween talks at a conference he was attending. Dr. Lovell came to my attention as the developer of the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing) test, which was one of the tools used to evaluate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s concussion.
Eliminating Restrictor Plates?
Every return to a restrictor plate track brings suggestions about how we might eliminate the restrictor plate. Restrictor plates serve the very necessary function of limiting car speeds at Daytona and Talladega so that the cars stay on the ground. The negative is that they remove throttle response. One suggestion from some readers that I hadn’t heard of before suggested that NASCAR could just change the rear-end gearing parameters to shift the power curve and reduce horsepower that way. Will that work?