NASCAR’s Laser Inspection Process: Confidence and Accuracy

There Will Be Rules… The last time I was at the R&D Center, I was given a copy of the official NASCAR rule book for 1948. It was about a quarter of a page. Now there’s a thick booklet filled with detailed specifications, part numbers, measurements, tolerances and AutoCad drawings. Weekly…

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,…

Firewalls and Aerodynamics

My friend at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Dave Kallman (whose online column should be a regular read for race fans) asked about the confiscated firewalls from the Number 11 car at Indy. That reminded me of the first NASCAR race I was supposed to attend as research for my book The Physics of NASCAR. That was California in 2007. I was to follow around the number 19 car, at that time driven by Elliott Sadler and crew chiefed by Josh Browne.

The Flap over Roof Flaps

Why Roof Flaps? Roof flaps (the invention of which I detail in my book The Physics of NASCAR) help keep cars on the ground.  This is necessary because of Bernoulli’s law, which says basically that: Faster-moving air exerts less pressure. Slower-moving air exerts more pressure. A wing develops lift because the…

From the Lab Notebook: Las Vegas and the Mysteriously Missing Oil Tank Cover

As we head for Las Vegas this weekend, I thought I’d repost on of my most popular posts from stockcarscience.com on 3/5/2008 since the redirects for the old stockcarscience.com site don’t work reliably. The post is about Carl Edwards’ 2008 win at Las Vegas when the team was subsequently fined for having their oil tank cover lid askew at the end of the race. I have edited the post extensively, adding some new information and better graphics.

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