NASCAR’s Concussion Policy

Concussions were big news in a week where no one actually got one. NASCAR announced a new policy on concussions :  Starting in 2014, all drivers will be required to have a baseline test at the start of the season.  NASCAR will be using the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Test)…

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…

The Flap over Roof Flaps

Why Roof Flaps? Roof flaps (the invention of which I detail in my book The Physics of NASCAR) help keep cars on the ground.  This is necessary because of Bernoulli’s law, which says basically that: Faster-moving air exerts less pressure. Slower-moving air exerts more pressure. A wing develops lift because the…

NASCAR Concussions II: A Screening Test to Avoid Relying Entirely on the Driver

I was lucky enough to speak with Dr. Mark Lovell, an innovator in neurocognitive testing inbetween talks at a conference he was attending. Dr. Lovell came to my attention as the developer of the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing) test, which was one of the tools used to evaluate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s concussion.

Aerodynamic Downforce: A Passing Fad?

The question of why it is so difficult for cars to pass each other at 1.5 mile and 2 mile tracks is getting more and more attention. Carl Edwards put it succinctly:

“I firmly believe, and NASCAR hates it when I say this, that we should not be racing with downforce, sideforce and all these aerodynamic devices. We do not need splitters on the race cars and giant spoilers. I have not been around long enough to say something definitely, but it is pretty common sense: if all the cars are very similar and all the drivers are within a tenth of a second of each other but are relying on clean air and downforce, then by definition if the guy in front of you is disturbing the air then your car is not going to be able to go as fast as it could in clean air.”

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