Thermography: A New Weapon in the NASCAR Arsenal

What’s Wrong With this Cow? Can you tell? If you said the cow is the wrong color, you’re close. But there’s more to the story. And What’s That Got to Do with NASCAR? Competition in NASCAR is getting tighter and tighter. As NASCAR’s ramped up penalties for rulebook violations and…

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…

Safety vs. Speed: 2017 Changes to the Chassis

The Evolution of the Stock Car ADDITION: If you are more comfortable with Portuguese, check out this translation by Artur Weber and Adelina Domingos – and thanks to them for being interested enough in my work to do the tough job of translation. While many fans decried the look of…

Will Tire Limits Improve Racing?

Will 2017 Tire Limit Rules Require Harder Tires? Back in the day, the only thing that limited how many sets of tires you could use in Cup-level racing was your budget. It was different in the lower level series, because Cup teams that also ran XFINITY (for example) had much…

Will Toyota’s New Nose Change the Cup Series Balance?

The unveiling last Monday of Toyota’s new redesigned race car for 2017 got a little lost between Junior’s wedding and Carl Edwards’ surprise ‘stepping back’ from NASCAR. But every time a manufacturer redesigns and engine or a body, it opens up a giant task for NASCAR. The Level Playing Field A…

Can NASCAR Stop Secondary Accidents?

January is named after the Roman God Janus, who is the god of beginning, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages and endings.  How’s that for a job description? Janus is usually portrayed as having two faces: one looks forward and one looks backward. So I thought January might be a good…

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…

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,…

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