The NASCAR Vortex Theory

The NASCAR Vortex Theory says that cars racing around an oval track create a rotational disturbance that repels oncoming storms. Truth? Or Myth? What’s a Vortex? A vortex is a region in a fluid (and remember: air is a fluid) where the flow revolves around an axis line. A physicist…

Sciencing Out NASCAR Rules Changes

Rules changes in NASCAR are tricky.  There’s really no way to test them before implementing them. You’re relying on the judgement and experience of the NASCAR team, with input from race teams, drivers, Goodyear and tracks. How to Test Rules Packages? Robert Gauthier (@yetticrg) tweeted a question to me (You…

How NASCAR’s “Enhanced Schedule” Affects the Race Teams

NASCAR’s enhanced schedule compresses three days on on-track activity into two. It’s designed to save teams time and money, but how will it affect the racing? What is an “Enhanced Schedule”? If you’re wondering why NASCAR used the moniker ‘enhanced’ for compressing what used to be three days of Monster…

The Secrets of PJ1 TrackBite

That sounds like the title for a Young Adult book, doesn’t it? What the Heck IS PJ1 TrackBite? NASCAR announced that they are again going to treat the corners of the track at New Hampshire International Speedway with a magic liquid called PJ1 Track Bite. The track enhancer has been…

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…

Does Grass Pose a Danger to Racecar Drivers?

Now that most tracks have put SAFER barriers on any possible surface, it might seem like racetrack safety is a done deal. That’s not what we’ve heard this week at Daytona, though. Some of the drivers have some strong opinions about grass. “Grass belongs on golf courses. We need asphalt around here…

Racing without Friction

Daytona is an enormous, sweeping track. Two-and-a-half miles, 31-degree banking and corner radii of a thousand feet. The infield by itself is 180 acres. If you’ve ever been there (or Talladega), it really does take your breath away when you first enter. Now, bigger tracks (or rather, tracks with bigger turns) automatically…

Cooling Fuel: Safety or Performance Issue?

Temperatures at the Dover race were unseasonably high. Kurt Busch’s Stewart-Haas 41 team was told by NASCAR officials to remove “heat shields” from their fuel cans. The cans (shown at right) have an 11-gallon capacity. Not shown in the pictures is a tube that connects the nozzle at the top with the…

2015 Rules: Track Records I – The Example of Charlotte

@NASCARRealTime, @TheOrangeCone and @CircleTrackNerd had an interesting dialog when the 2015 rules were announced. They were debating whether the track records that are now standing are going to be essentially locked into history. The debate ended with an appeal to me and Goody’s Headache Powder.

Goodyear Tracking Change

Repaving is the last possible remedy a track wants to use, but when potholes (see: Daytona) show up, there is no choice but to tear up the old asphalt and replace it with new, fresh blacktop.  In the last few years, Daytona, Phoenix, Michigan, Pocono and Kansas have all been…

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