Centripetal Force

Daytona Banking

You don’t need another countdown to Daytona, but perhaps a little more information about Daytona will help you appreciate it that much more when it does come. A large part of that is the banking. […]

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Acceleration

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. […]

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Centripetal Force

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 […]

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Centripetal Acceleration

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 […]

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Bristol Motor Speedway

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 […]

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Bristol Motor Speedway

Why Turning is Hard

Why Turning Fast is Hard If Isaac Newton had been a racing fan (which I’m sure Sir Isaac would have been if had cars been invented in the 1600’s), he might have stated one of […]