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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Fancy Gadgets and Short Attention Spans: Is Motorsports Doomed?

Straddling the fields of science and motorsports as I do, members of one community often email me articles about the other community. It’s interesting to see what ‘outsiders’ think is interesting about the other world. Last week, it was a series of articles about how NASCAR’s popularity is waning because kids are too busy playing video games. […]

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Electronic Fuel Injection

Engine Maps Explained

In my last post, I detailed how the relays in the ECU system allow the system to flip to a default engine map. This lets the team keep running, even when something fails, and it decreases the chances of the ECU doing something that blows up the engine. Here’s a short explanation of what exactly an ‘engine map’ is and what it does. […]

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Childers, Rodney

Phoenix: Relay Race?

The race at Phoenix was the first non-restrictor-plate race. A number of drivers experienced engine-related problems, leading some media outlets to start blowing the “EFI problems” horns as loudly as possible. Mark Martin, the pole sitter, was an unfortunate casualties of a “flipped circuit breaker”. One of the most interesting exchanges to me was a series of tweets and a radio interview with Mark Martin’s Crew Chief Rodney Childers (@rchilders55) in which Childers repeatedly said it not “an EFI problem”, the radio commentators persisted in saying that it was. […]