Turning at Bristol: A Weighty Matter

A lot of drivers cite Bristol as one of their favorite tracks. It’s a great exhibit for the argument that racing is more than just pure speed. High banks (which we know mean speed!) and a short track, which means tight racing. But a lot of drivers will tell you that Bristol is one of the most exhausting, physically demanding tracks on the circuit. Add to that the inherent stress of short-track racing, where 43 cars are operating in a limited (half-mile) track.

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…

NASCAR, Physics and the Cosmos

Okay. COSMOS was pre-empted Sunday in favor of the Coca Cola 600 and COSMOS host, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, decided to edify us with some NASCAR physics.   I bet 90% of NASCAR fans immediately know there’s something wrong here. In fact, all you had to do was watch the…

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…

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