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…

The Zen of Brake Bias

With all the talk about giving the drivers the ability to change aspects of the setup from within the car, I thought some comments on what types of changes they can make would be appropriate.  Since the only control they have right now is brake bias, let’s start there. The…

The Virtual Reality of Racing Simulators

You are hurtling down the frontstretch at Michigan, your speed approaching 215 mph. Your seat moves up and down as you hit the seams, but your focus is squarely on getting into Turn 1 losing as little speed as possible. You squeeze the brakes and feel yourself moving forward, only to realize that you’re still moving too quickly. As the car starts to head toward the wall, you panic and squeeze the brake even harder.
The car snaps loose and the next thing you feel… is an engineer’s hand on your shoulder. You turn around to see her barely suppressing a smile.

Camber Angle and Tire Wear

We’ve heard a lot, especially this week at Richmond, about tire wear. A lot of right front tires were wearing excessively. As seems to be usual at this point, teams would like Goodyear to use a stronger tire and Goodyear would like teams to dial back their setups, especially their camber.

Tungsten vs. Lead in the Snowball Derby

Chase Elliott won, then lost the Snowball Derby last weekend. His car was disqualified for having tungsten ballast instead of the mandated lead ballast.  Ballast is weight added to the car in strategic locations to help the car handle better. A number of news reports have noted that ‘tungsten is…

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…

What Does the Trackbar Do?

Thanks to a suggestion by reader Anthony Bardoll, I’m happy to present the first in a series of articles on car adjustments.  Anthony mentioned that a lot of people do iRacing and have the ability to make the same types of adjustments in their cars that non-virtual race engineers can…

When Oil Pans Put On a Little Weight…

According to @tomjensen100, the oil pans confiscated from the Joe Gibbs Racing cars weighed between 20-30 lbs.  Lee Spencer posted some nice pictures of them.  A normal oil pan weighs about 4-5 lbs.  Why in the world would you make your car heavier?  It’s not always the weight of the…

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