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What’s a NACA Duct?

The words “NACA Duct” usually go by so fast that they sound like “Nackaduck”, but a NACA duct is really just a specialized type of duct. Ducts are hoses or other devices used to move air from one place to another. brings air into (in our case) a racecar in a very special way. Clear NACA ducts can be seen in the rear windows of NASCAR cars – there are usually two or three in the window. Carbon-fiber NACA ducts sit in the front of the car. […]

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Busch, Kyle

Is There Really a Second-Place Curse?

One of the commentators after the final race in Homestead mentioned that Jimmie Johnson should be happy he finished in third because it allows him to avoid the “dreaded second-place curse”.
Anytime someone says something like that, it makes me wonder whether there really is a curse, or whether that person had just been talking to Carl Edwards. So I analyzed a little data and guess what… there really IS a second place curse. […]

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Cautions

Cautions: A New Low for NASCAR

At the start of the season, the big news was that cautions were remarkably down from last year. As I showed, this isn’t a new trend – it’s a continuing trend since 2007. Since the season’s data are now complete, I thought it was time to revisit the data. […]

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Engines

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? […]

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Asphalt

Hey Larry Mac! Cars Do Not Speed Up in the Grass!

Ever had one of those things that you never noticed before, but when someone brings it to your attention, you notice it and it drives you crazy? Frank Smith emailed me about an observation made by television commentators that was driving him nuts. Now that he mentioned it, I keep hearing it and it’s driving me nuts, too.

Not to denigrate Larry Mac and the other television commentators. I’ve learned a lot from Mr. McReynolds. There’s a perfectly good physics explanation for why he (and others) keep telling us that cars speed up when they get into the grass on a racetrack.

Assuming that the driver has the presence of mind to take his foot off the gas, this is impossible. […]