Drafting: Regular and Bump

I looked through the blog and realized that I haven’t really blogged about drafting. I’ve blogged about all the rules NASCAR’s enacted in the last couple of years to try to control drafting, but not drafting itself. So, with Talladega coming up, here goes Daniel Bernoulli: A Founding Father of Racing Sure, NASCAR…

Driving Concussed

Driving Concussed This week brings the return of Jeff Gordon to the track, but under conditions I’m sure all of us wish were otherwise. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is out again (and will be next week) with “concussion-like” symptoms. Concussion, like many medical problems, is a chronic injury — meaning that it can…

Are SAFER Barriers Everywhere the Solution?

TL;DR:  No. As the extent of Kyle Busch’s injury Saturday evening at Daytona became evident, Twitter erupted in angry calls for SAFER barriers to be put up on every wall at every track. An interesting division of sides appeared. A small number of people cautioned that simply plastering every track with…

How Fast Would NASCAR Cars Go at Daytona without Restrictor Plates?

Doug Yates was guest on Dave Moody’s SiriusXM Speedway last week. He brought up a conversion you hear a lot in the week before Daytona and Talladega. Every 25 horsepower in the engine translates to about a 1 second decrease in lap times. Dave did the math: Removing the plates would increase the engine by 450 horsepower. Four hundred and fifty more horsepower equates to 18 seconds off the lap time, assuming all other things equal. That last part was a very important qualification. It will come back to haunt us in a moment.

Keeping Racecars on the Racetrack

Ryan Newman escaped NASCAR sanctions for his comments immediately after being discharged from the infield care center at Talladega.

“They can build safer racecars, they can build safer walls, but they can’t get their heads out of their asses far enough to keep them on the race track and that’s pretty disappointing, and I wanted to make sure I get that point across,” he said. “You all can figure out who ‘they’ is.”

Why Drying Tracks Takes So Long

Why does it takes so long for a track to dry? Why does humid weather make track drying take even longer?

Air is a mix of gas molecules: mostly (78%) nitrogen, about 21% oxygen, the rest misc. gases. The composition is pretty uniform with the exception of how much water is in the air. The absolute humidity is the amount of water in some chosen volume of air, for example, how much water vapor is in one cubic meter of air. Air can only hold so much water vapor and that amount depends on the temperature and pressure. Dry air would be no ounces of water in a cubic foot of air. If the vapor is saturated at 30 degrees centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit), then the amount of water could be up to three one-hundredths of an ounce of water per cubic foot.

Eliminating Restrictor Plates?

Every return to a restrictor plate track brings suggestions about how we might eliminate the restrictor plate. Restrictor plates serve the very necessary function of limiting car speeds at Daytona and Talladega so that the cars stay on the ground. The negative is that they remove throttle response. One suggestion from some readers that I hadn’t heard of before suggested that NASCAR could just change the rear-end gearing parameters to shift the power curve and reduce horsepower that way. Will that work?

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