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The Physics of NASCAR

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Joe Schauer

on 9 December 2014

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Transcript of The Physics of NASCAR

Centripetal Force
Centripetal Force is a center-directed force that causes an object to move in a curved, (sometimes circular) path.

This relates to NASCAR because while racing, the cars are pulled toward the inside while running around the circular track.
The Physics of NASCAR
Wedge Adjustments
Safety Improvements
Other Information
Physics Related Records
Correlation Between NASCARs and YOUR Cars
Works Cited
Tire Pressure
Fastest Average Speed (one lap)
Bill Elliott: 212.809 MPH lap at Talladega- 1987
Bill Elliott: 210.364 MPH lap at Daytona- 1987
Geoff Bodine: 197.478 MPH lap at Atlanta- 1997
Hardest Crashes
Wedge adjustments make a car looser or tighter. To make a wedge adjustment, a tire carrier cranks a wrench in a hole in the rear window to add to or decrease the weight pressing on the spring, which affects the crossweight of the NASCAR. The more rounds that are needed, the worse the car is handling.
Elliot Sadler: Pocono- 2010 (over 100g?)
Kyle Petty: 80g at Bristol-2003
Nascar Driver
Crew Chief
Car Owner
Tire Changers
Engine Builders
Chassis Builders
Procuring Sponsers
Safer Barrier
A SAFER barrier is a "soft wall", constructed of steel and foam. The point of the SAFER barrier is to absorb and reduce kinetic energy upon impact.
Hans Device
The Hans Device is a head and neck restraint that reduces the likelihood of head or neck injury during a crash.
Safety Improvements
Roll Cage
Fire Retardant Suit
Roof flaps
Restrictor Plates
Drafting is a technique where cars align in close groups to reduce drag and travel faster. Along with moving faster, the cars farther back need to use less energy (gas) to travel the same speed.
Drag, or air resistance, refers to the forces that resist the forward movement of an object.
Downforce is a downwards thrust created by the aerodynamic characteristics of the NASCAR. The purpose of downforce is to allow the car to travel faster through the corners by pulling the car to the track.
Brief History
In 1947, 35 drivers, producers and mechanics met at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. The meeting was lead by William France Sr., and the men spent three days creating the rules and governing body for the sport they called NASCAR.

In 1959, France opened Daytona International Speedway. The inaugural race run there was called the Daytona 500, which is now NASCAR's biggest race, and is known as "The Great American Race".
With the creation and induction of the Gen6 cars in 2013, NASCAR went back to making the new NASCARs look like the dealership cars. Unlike the Gen5 car, which featured a common template that was used by all manufacturers, the Gen-6 car was developed with the manufacturers to design race cars that match their brands. The new design also features a longer nose (by 2 inches) and shorter tail (by 6 inches), which was also done to make the Gen6 NASCAR more closely resemble modern production cars.
The Roll Cage is a cage made out of steel tubing, built inside the car to protect the driver from being crushed in the event of the car flipping and landing on its roof.
Drivers wear several layers of fire-retardant clothing, including underwear and gloves made from Nomex, allowing them to withstand flames until safety crews can arrive on the scene.
A restrictor plate is a metal device that is installed at an engine's intake to restrict air flow and reduce power. The result of this is lower speeds and safer racing conditions.
Roof flaps are small flaps located at the top of the car that open and close to help prevent the car from becoming airborne during an accident.
With the Gen6 just being released at the beginning of this season, it will most likely be a few years until the Gen7 car is released. However, in the mean time, NASCAR will undoubtedly continue researching ways to improve the safety of the sport, and the current Gen6 model.
NASCAR began with illegal backwoods races with the law to run moonshine. After World War II, moonshine runners decided that they wanted to run their suped up cars against better competition, and stock car racing was born.

Drivers feel about 2 gs just driving on a straight away, and feel 4-5 gs through the corners of a track.

The temperature in the cockpit can easily exceed 120 degrees, which lasts the entire race, which in some races are 600 miles (Coca Cola 600, 400 laps).

Many former football and hockey players are now pitting for NASCAR teams.
Tire Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) found within a tire. The more inflated the tire, the higher the PSI.

PSI is directly quarilated to NASCAR because at each tire change, the crew adjusts the PSI according to how the car is handling.

Higher PSI results in a greater top speed and less tire wear, but also lowers acceleration rates, and lowers handling.
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