Reverse Engineering NASCAR Stage Lengths

Stage Racing The 2017 NASCAR season brought us stage racing: Segmenting a race into three parts, each of which has a winner (and point reward). If you’re me, the first thing you wondered was not how stage racing would play out. It was “how the heck did they decide on the…

Richmond International Raceway Sound Warning

The Proposal to Muffle NASCAR Race Cars

Last week, Adam Stern broke a story that NASCAR is considering 15 to 20 potential changes that would help increase the fan base. They’ve already implemented race segments and we’ve heard talk about shortening race weekends from three to two days. Stern’s article says that one of the ideas on…

Is Stricter Enforcement of Pit Road Speed Limits Making Pit Road Less Safe?

The Purpose of Pit Road Speed Limits NASCAR implemented pit road speeding rules in 1991. The year before, Mike Rich, a tire changer for Bill Elliott, had been pinned between Elliott’s car and the car of Ricky Rudd when Rudd came into the pits fast and locked his brakes. Rich died in surgery. To…

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,…

Analyzing Chase Tracks

Every year about this time, someone grumbles that The Chase needs a road course. The frequently-cited rationale is that the regular NASCAR season has two, so a champion should prove he or she can perform on the same racetracks that make up the regular season. This seemed like one of…

NASCAR Science 101: The Center of Gravity, Part I

You hear engineers and crew chiefs talking a lot about the racecar’s “center of gravity”. There’s a reason for all the talk. The center of gravity really is the point around which everything else on the car rotates. Terminology: CG vs CM You will hear people in racing use the terms…

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