Toyota’s New Cloaking Device

Did Toyota Really Just Patent a Cloaking Device? The headlines sure suggest they did. Toyota patent reveals ‘Cloaking Device’ for cars Toyota Just Patented a “Cloaking Device”  Other outlets were a little more, ahem, transparent about the story Toyota patents a device that could make car pillars transparent The folks…

Safety vs. Speed: 2017 Changes to the Chassis

The Evolution of the Stock Car ADDITION: If you are more comfortable with Portuguese, check out this translation by Artur Weber and Adelina Domingos – and thanks to them for being interested enough in my work to do the tough job of translation. While many fans decried the look of…

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…

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,…

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.

Does Daytona Qualifying Really Matter?

Okay, it obviously does if you’re one of the cars that fails to make the race. But beyond that- given the huge amount of attention that’s been given to the ’embarrassment’ that was this year’s qualifying – does where you start make any different as to where you finish? To…

Why Safety Takes Time

I suppose it’s really our own fault because of the way we teach science.

We give you labs constructed to get the right answer on the first try. We have you measure things you already know the value of. We tell you that things were invented by a single person on a specific date.

Brief Thoughts on the Nationwide Accident at Daytona

We’ve been painting the house. I was straining to hear EPSN’s commentary over the swoosh-swish of the paint roller as the race came to a close – but it was all too easy to hear the change the tone of Allen Bestwick’s voice. We heard it recently from Marty Reid in Vegas. I remember the first-hand feeling sitting about 50 yards from Michael McDowell’s wreck during qualifying at Texas. A track full of race fans – all quiet – is one of the worst sounds in all of sports.

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