Can Simulators and Video Games Make Great Racecar Drivers?
There are two schools of thought about what makes some people the best in their fields. One is that some people have innate skills or traits that allow them to become great. The other is that anyone can be great if they just work at it hard enough. There are…
Cautions are Down in 2018: Are NASCAR Drivers Getting Better at Avoiding Accidents?
NASCAR Cautions are down again in 2018. Is this due to stage racing? The damaged vehicle policy? Or are drivers just getting better and having fewer accidents?
A Blood Test for Concussions is on the Horizon
Why We Need Better Tests for Concussions Ken Willis wrote a wonderful series of articles in the Daytona Beach News-Journal entitled NASCAR and Concussions: An Old Problem, a New Concern. He starts with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but touches on the long history of drivers now suffering the effects of hard…
Retirements, Replacements and Rookies
Retirement He didn’t use the word ‘retirement’, but the sad news last week was that Matt Kenseth won’t have a Cup ride in 2018. It’s partly his choice. He could have done a Kasey Kahne and taken a ride with a lower-level team, but Matt said he wouldn’t race if…
How to Make Grippier Racetracks Using Spy Technology
If PJ1 TrackBite isn’t the Solution, What is? Dale Earnhardt, Jr. suggested tracks stop using PJ1 Trackbite because it didn’t work well in Charlotte last weekend. He called for additional research to understand how the substance affects the track before continuing to use it. A couple of drivers expressed similar…
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…
Can You Predict a Driver’s Success from their Rookie Year Stats?
Now that the season is over, it’s time to look through the statistics from the year. One big story this year was Danica Patrick’s rookie season in Sprint Cup. She didn’t set the world on fire: One top ten, one pole, five laps led and only thirteen lead lap finishes…
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.
NASCAR Concussions II: A Screening Test to Avoid Relying Entirely on the Driver
I was lucky enough to speak with Dr. Mark Lovell, an innovator in neurocognitive testing inbetween talks at a conference he was attending. Dr. Lovell came to my attention as the developer of the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing) test, which was one of the tools used to evaluate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s concussion.
Concussions – What Are They and Why Stop Racing?
We all know that concussions are caused by hits to the head, but what actually IS a concussion and why is one forcing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to step out of the car and effectively take himself out of the running for a championship?