Composite Race Car Bodies

You Never Forget Your First One My first car was a greenish-brown 1969 Buick LeSabre with a 123-inch wheel base and a 230-horsepower two-barrel V-8. That puppy weighed about 4200 lbs and taught me everything I know about Bondo and car repair. My parents got me that car because it…

Fired Up: The Science of Flames

If you were to poll racecar drivers about safety, I bet the majority of them would say the scariest situation isn’t a crash.

Two fears you have as a race car driver: one is being on fire and two is being T-boned in the driver door – everything else you sort of accept. –Elliott Sadler

The Kansas Monozone Tire

OK, so ‘monozone’ is just a fancy way of saying it’s the old tire.  It’s all in the branding, isn’t it? Goodyear has been experimenting with multi-zone tires since last year.  Multizone tires attempt to get the best of both worlds by combining a harder compound on the inner 2-3…

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.

Turning, G-Forces and Banked Tracks.

Dover is a fascinating track – twenty-four degrees of banking, but only a mile in length.  A student approached me with a question:  Higher-banked tracks generate higher centripetal forces – so why doesn’t the track banking appear in the equation for centripetal force? I’ve talked about centripetal forces in detail…

Opinion: NASCAR’s Restart Problem – What Would Einstein Do?

Sigh. So instead of talking about a couple great races this week, we’re focusing on restarts.  Again.  Everyone, from pundits to drivers, is questioning  NASCAR’s decisions to not call penalties on the critical restarts of both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup races. The rule is that the leader of…

Infographic: Does Kasey Kahne Get in the Chase?

I don’t know if they still make you do flowcharts in programming class, but I was trying to read through the Chase scenarios and I was getting really confused. So I did this. I think it’s much clearer now. To me, at least.
I bet I can get the other scenarios on here… Watch this space!

Richmond Redux: Relative Velocity

NOTE: Some clarifications added 1:00 p.m. 4/30/12. Thanks to all the commenters, especially @nateryan! I think Dave Moody did a good job breaking things down. The situation is confounded because there were so many different complications. Who from NASCAR is duly authorized to tell a spotter/crew chief/driver their position? Is…

Is More Data Always Better?

Saturday’s race in Richmond was a festival of miscues. Carl Edwards mistakenly thought he was leading, then he jumped the restart, although he wasn’t the one to lead the restart because he wasn’t the leader. One would think we have the data that could prevent incidents like this. We probably do. But do we want to use it?

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