Are Posted Lap Speeds Really Accurate?
After every practice and qualifying session, NASCAR puts out one or more sheets of paper that look like this: This tells you who went how fast qualifying at Atlanta a couple weeks ago. I only included the first 12 lines because I think you get the idea from here. You can look […]
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 […]
Can Wind Really Turn a Stock Car?
Equilibrium. It’s more than just a neat word. It’s the holy grail for a racecar driver.
Knowing the COSMOS doesn’t mean you know NASCAR
Everyone’s favorite “planet” killer had a spare hour because COSMOS was pre-empted Sunday by the Coca Cola 600. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson edified us with some “NASCAR physics”. There were 43 drivers who had no problem taking the corners at more than 165 mph without skidding into the “embankment” and […]
NASCAR, Physics and the Cosmos
Okay. COSMOS was pre-empted Sunday in favor of the Coca Cola 600 and COSMOS host, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, decided to edify us with some NASCAR physics. I bet 90% of NASCAR fans immediately know there’s something wrong here. In fact, all you had to do was watch the […]
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 […]
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.