The Roval is Just a Really Fast Road Course

This weekend marks the very first time NASCAR has run a race on the Charlotte Roval: a combination of the oval track we run in May with select portions of the road course in the infield. It’s a unique situation because, unlike most road courses, this one is contained. Fans will be able to see the entire course. Everyone is looking forward to seeing something new on this one-of-a-kind hybrid track.

Safety vs. Speed: 2017 Changes to the Chassis

The Evolution of the Stock Car ADDITION: If you are more comfortable with Portuguese, check out this translation by Artur Weber and Adelina Domingos – and thanks to them for being interested enough in my work to do the tough job of translation. While many fans decried the look of…

Will Tire Limits Improve Racing?

Will 2017 Tire Limit Rules Require Harder Tires? Back in the day, the only thing that limited how many sets of tires you could use in Cup-level racing was your budget. It was different in the lower level series, because Cup teams that also ran XFINITY (for example) had much…

NASCAR’s Laser Inspection Process: Confidence and Accuracy

There Will Be Rules… The last time I was at the R&D Center, I was given a copy of the official NASCAR rule book for 1948. It was about a quarter of a page. Now there’s a thick booklet filled with detailed specifications, part numbers, measurements, tolerances and AutoCad drawings. Weekly…

How Tracks Take and Lose Rubber

The two words we heard most frequently last week in Pocono (after “still raining”) were “green racetrack”. Rain doesn’t just delay racing. When the race is finally run after a rain delay, it’s run on a different racetrack. To get the details of how a racetrack changes from “rubbered up”…

Tire Management

NASCAR is very clear about what teams can and can not do to the tires. Teams may not use any chemical or physical means of altering the tires, which means no siping (cutting grooves into the tires), no chemical softening, not even heat blankets to pre-warm the tires are allowed. Basically, you can’t do anything to the tires. This means that when a tire blows out, it’s the tire’s fault. Right?

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…

A Band Aid for NASCAR’s Tire Bleeding Problem

There are three things you don’t mess with in NASCAR: engines, fuel and tires.

Tuesday, NASCAR handed down a P5 penalty – the penultimate penalty on the books – to Ryan Newman’s 31 team. Crew Chief Luke Lambert was suspended six races, fined $125,000, and Newman and his owner Richard Childress were each docked 75 points. The tire specialist and team engineer were suspended for six races as well. RCR is appealing the penalty, but I wager they’ve got an uphill battle.

NASCAR’s made its stand loud and clear in the last few weeks. Tire bleeding will not be allowed. If you persist in trying, they’ll come down hard on you.

Do Tires Affect Gas Mileage?

When winning means a few hundredths of a second, nothing is too small to be ignored. I’ve talked a lot about energy and the importance of using it as efficiently as possible in racing. Gasoline provides a certain amount of stored (a.k.a. potential) energy. Everyone gets the same amount of energy. Winning lies…

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