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…

Why Use LED Lights at Martinsville?

Since Martinsville announced this week they will install a LED lighting system, I thought it would be fun to take a look at LED lights and why Martinsville chose them over traditional lighting. Martinsville will be the first major motorsports facility to install a LED system. Illumenating Tracks Lighting racetracks is…

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,…

Memories of Martinsville

Martinsville is my favorite track and it has absolutely nothing to do with the hot dogs.  It’s a short, flat track out in the middle of nowhere.  It doesn’t have the high speeds and pack racing of Daytona and Talladega.  It’s not located near a major metro area like Las…

The Reason for Decreasing Cautions

This was the first year that most people noticed a decrease in the number of cautions, but (as I’ve pointed out), 2012 is merely the latest in a six-year trend of decreasing cautions. The same downward trend is evident in the Nationwide Series. This year is perhaps notable for it being so extreme.

The data clearly shows the trend: The question, of course, is why?

Why You Can’t Predict Anything Based on the First 10 Races

The plot below shows the cumulative number of cautions per mile since 2007.  I’m using number of cautions per100 miles to 1) make up for races that were not run to completion; 2) compensate for green-white-checkered finishes; 3) compensate for tracks that have shortened races; and 4) compensated for changing…

Are Cautions Really Going Down?

I honestly cannot help it – scientists are naturally skeptical. If you make an assertion, I will have to question you on what data you have that supports it. This is second nature to the people I work with, but I realize it is damned irritating to non-scientists (aka “normal”) people.

So when I started reading everywhere that “cautions were down 35%”, I had to go look into it. This is a preliminary post – more detailed analysis will follow as soon as I’ve read my students’ final projects and gotten comments back to them.

More on the Red Bull Sheet Metal Penalties

After getting in late from Columbus, I made the mistake of listening to the radio as I attempted to sleep. Listening to the comments about the Red Bull Racing penalties got me slightly riled. NASCAR came down hard on Red Bull, including 150 driver/owner points, a $100 kilobuck fine and…

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