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…

Whose Fault Is It? Tires or Track?

There were 15 cautions last week at Kansas Speedway and at least 15 drivers complaining that driving on the repaved track surface was like driving on ‘razor blades’.  “The worst racetrack I’ve ever driven on.” said race winner Kevin Harvick. Normally when you have a lot of cautions, the drivers’…

Hey Larry Mac! Cars Do Not Speed Up in the Grass!

Ever had one of those things that you never noticed before, but when someone brings it to your attention, you notice it and it drives you crazy? Frank Smith emailed me about an observation made by television commentators that was driving him nuts. Now that he mentioned it, I keep hearing it and it’s driving me nuts, too.

Not to denigrate Larry Mac and the other television commentators. I’ve learned a lot from Mr. McReynolds. There’s a perfectly good physics explanation for why he (and others) keep telling us that cars speed up when they get into the grass on a racetrack.

Assuming that the driver has the presence of mind to take his foot off the gas, this is impossible.

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