Aerodynamic Forces

Can We Race Stockcars in the Rain?

In sports car racing, the only discernible change the viewer sees when it rains is that the normal “slicks” (which have no treads) are changed out for rain tires. Thus the calls for NASCAR to develop a rain tire good enough to allow us to continue races, even when it rains. […]

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Air Titan

Air Titan: It Sucks and Blows

Water is critical to the existence of human life. Why do you think we spend so much time looking for it on other planets?

It is, however, less than desirable on a racetrack. Water gets between the tires and the track, which decreases friction. Decreased friction means lower speeds and higher probability of crashing. […]

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Air Titan

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. […]

Asphalt

How Many “Cookie Cutter Tracks” are There?

One of those phrases you tend to pick up as a NASCAR fan without thinking is “cookie cutter track”. That’s the accusation commonly directed at the one-and-a-half mile tracks (like Texas Motor Speedway, which we’re visiting this week). The complaint is that these tracks are so identical that it’s almost not worth bothering to watch. But are they really identical? […]

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Weather

Storm Dangers at Talladega

Last week at Texas Motor Speedway was not fun because of the rain. But we didn’t have to deal with severe storms and tornadoes. The words that are most worrisome in the forecast are “tornado outbreak”. […]