The Dimensions Program

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1 The Dimensions Program The NASCAR Project Laboratory A Car Technology Figure 1 Talladega Superspeedway Courtesy of Curtis Palmer Project Grant Team Prof. Jeanne Bowman John S. Pazdar Project Designer Program Director University of Cincinnati Asnuntuck Community College Cincinnati, Ohio Enfield, Connecticut Patricia L. Hirschy Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadizadeh Dennis C. Ebersole Principal Investigator Project Tester Principal Investigator Asnuntuck Community College Northampton Community College Northampton Community College Enfield, Connecticut Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

2 Stock Car NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is one of the most popular spectator sports in the United States. Seventeen of the 20 sporting events with the highest attendance are NASCAR races. There are 100 tracks in the United States, Canada and Mexico that hold more than 1200 NASCAR races annually. 1 NASCAR sponsors three national series. The Sprint Cup is the series that many people think of when they talk about NASCAR since its 36 races include popular events like the Daytona 500. The 35-race Nationwide Series can be considered a stepping-stone for drivers who want to move up to the Sprint Cup Series. The Camping World Truck Series consists of 25 races for pickup trucks. Changes in sponsorship over the years have lead to changes in the names of these series. 2 NASCAR is both exciting and dangerous with cars circling the tracks at close to 200 miles per hour. Teams are continually looking for ways to make the sport safer and competitive while keeping costs manageable. The death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., during the 2001 Daytona 500 served as a catalyst for several extensive changes in the design of the racecar. NASCAR continues to modify the car design. This effort faces the double challenge of improving safety and increasing efficiency. Previously it was common for teams to have several types of cars built specifically for different types of racetracks. Cars now are designed to run on all tracks. 3 Driver Protection Many changes in the design of the car are made to protect the driver. The car is now 2 inches higher, 4 inches wider in the greenhouse (the area enclosed by the front, side and rear windows and the roof of the car). The driver s seat has been moved 4 inches to the right for more protection against side impact. The roll cage (the cage of steel tubing that surrounds the driver located inside the car) was moved 3 inches to the rear. Fig 2 Front View of Clint Bowyer s Sprint Cup Car Courtesy of Alex54 The body frame is constructed from 3 inches by 4 inches rectangular steel tubing inch thick that is doubled on the driver s side. The main part of the roll cage is made from steel tubing that is inches thick and 1 inch in diameter. 4 NASCAR Lab A - 2

3 The wheelbase is 110 inches. The body width is 74 inches with a body length of inches and height of 53.5 inches. Car Dimensions The body panels are made from 24-gauge ( inch thick) sheet metal. 5 The cars weigh at least 3,400 lb. with at least 1,625 lb. of the weight on the right side. 6 Fig 3 NASCAR s Latest Car Design Courtesy of Nascarfans Fuel Cell The fuel cell in the car is not like the gas tank in passenger cars. It was designed primarily to lessen the chance of fire. It is placed in what would usually be the trunk area of a car. It consists of a metal can. Inside the metal can is a bladder made of a rubber-like compound. This is filled with foam. 7 The fuel cell holds gallons of racing fuel, compared to 22 gallons in previous NASCAR vehicles. 8 Engine The engine in NASCAR s current racecars is similar to previous versions. It is a 358 cu. in. V-8 engine [that] produces 850 horsepower at 9,000 rpm. 9 This allows even one of the slowest tracks, Martinsville, to have an average speed of over 80 mph. Daytona International Speedway (2.5 miles long) and Talladega (2.66 miles long) are superspeedways with high banking. 10 This configuration allows cars to travel at very high speeds. In 1987 Bill Elliott reached speeds of mph at Daytona and mph at Talladega. 11 In the interest of safety, in 1989 NASCAR began requiring restrictor plates at these two tracks. Fig 4 NASCAR Motor Courtesy of bdburton NASCAR Lab A - 3

4 Restrictor Plate A restrictor plate is an aluminum plate 1/8 inch thick that fits between the carburetor and the intake manifold. 12 It has four holes [that] are designed to restrict the amount of air that goes into the carburetor, reducing the horsepower to around 400 and slowing the cars down. The four corresponding holes in the carburetor that this plate fits over have a diameter of 1 11/16 inches. The diameter of the holes in the restrictor plates can change from one race to the next. Since 1989 NASCAR has used plates with 1 inch, 15/16 inch, 29/32 inch, 7/8 inch, 57/64 inch and 31/32 inch diameters, depending on race conditions. 13 Fig 5 Restrictor Plate Rendering Courtesy of Jeanne Bowman The restrictor plates at Daytona in July 2010 had holes with a diameter of 1 1/16 inches. 14 NASCAR gives the racing teams the appropriate restrictor plates at the beginning of each day of restrictor plate racing and retrieves them at the end of the session NASCAR s 'Car of Tomorrow', Not Much Wiggle Room By Pack Bryan March 2008 Motor Magazine NASCAR s 'Car of Tomorrow', Not Much Wiggle Room By Pack Bryan March 2008 Motor Magazine NASCAR s 'Car of Tomorrow', Not Much Wiggle Room By Pack Bryan March 2008 Motor Magazine NASCAR Lab A - 4

5 The Dimensions Program NASCAR Project Laboratory B RFID Chip Figure 1 Goodyear Year Eagle Tire Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Co. Not for unauthorized copy, etc. Project Grant Team Prof. Jeanne Bowman John S. Pazdar Project Designer Program Director University of Cincinnati Asnuntuck Community College Cincinnati, Ohio Enfield, Connecticut Patricia L. Hirschy Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadizadeh Dennis C. Ebersole Principal Investigator Project Tester Principal Investigator Asnuntuck Community College Northampton Community College Northampton Community College Enfield, Connecticut Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

6 Tires Besides the construction of the car itself, the racing tires have a big effect on each car s performance during a race. Since 1997 Goodyear has been the only supplier of tires for NASCAR s three top series. The tires are actually leased from Goodyear, not bought. The price per tire is around $ Fig 2 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Trailer Courtesy of Royalbroil Goodyear makes different versions of its Eagle racing tires, all produced in Akron, Ohio. The tires are made of different compounds with different constructions suited to particular tracks and racing conditions. The tires have codes like D-4134 or D-4186 that further identify the specific type. 2 There are presently about 24 different codes. Deciding on the type of tire used in a race is a complicated process that involves testing in a laboratory and on the racetrack. 3 Fig 3 Racing Tire Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Co. Not for unauthorized copy. etc. For most races the left side and right side tires are not the same. Usually the right side tires are larger because the cars always turn in the same direction during the race, so the outside tires have to travel farther around the track. For instance, at Pocono Raceway in 2009 the left side tires had a circumference of 87.4 inches while the right side circumference was 88.6 inches. Special inner liners are used on tires for races on tracks more than one mile long. These liners allow the driver to stop the car if the outer tire is damaged. 4 Unlike street tires, which have a grooved tread pattern, the racing tires have a slick tread to maximize traction. NASCAR Lab B - 2

7 RFID Chip Each race tire comes with a sticker containing an eight-digit bar code and information about the tire such as tire diameter and tread width. 5 Since 2006 each tire has also been fitted with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip. The RFID chip itself is about 1/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch long [and 1/8 inch thick]. 6 Since there can be as many as 5,000 tires delivered for a particular race, this allows Goodyear to easily keep track of each individual tire what team it was assigned to for what race, and when it was returned to Goodyear. Fig 4 Goodyear Tires with RFID Chips Courtesy of Brian Cantoni Before a race, the tires are delivered to the racetrack where each RFID chip is scanned. The tires are mounted on wheels, balanced, and stacked. Each race team picks up the tires assigned to them and prepares the tires for the race. 7 Many teams refill the tires with nitrogen to minimize the buildup of tire pressure during the race. 8 The teams organize the tires so that they will be available during the race when they are needed. Each race tire has an average life of 100 miles, compared to street tires with a life of 50,000 miles. 9 Teams may use 9 to 14 sets of tires during a race. A hole is drilled into the sidewall of each used tire. Every tire must be accounted for and returned to Goodyear before the teams leave at the end of the race. 10 Tire Size The table on the next page shows data for the left side and right side tires used at the 2009 Daytona The table gives the standard value for the measurement and shows the tolerance, or acceptable variation, for that measurement. For instance, the right side tire diameter is given as 28.2 inches with a tolerance of +/- 0.1inches, so the actual diameter could run from 28.1inches to 28.3 inches. NASCAR Lab B - 3

8 Tire roll out is the circumference of the tire. It is the distance the tire travels in one revolution. Inflation pressure is the value in pounds per square inch that is recommended by the manufacturer. Goodyear only sets a minimum pressure. The racing team determines the actual running pressure. Spring rate is the tire stiffness. It is measured in units called pounds force (lbf) per inch. Carcass ply width is the distance across the tire if it could be unfolded and measured from side to side. Bead is the edge of the tire that sits on the wheel. Fig 5 Race Tire Cutaway Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Co. Not for unauthorized copy. etc. Left Side Tire Right Side Tire Measurement Tolerance Measurement Tolerance Tire roll out 87.7" +/- 0.1" 88.4" +/- 0.1" Tire diameter 27.9" +/- 0.1" 28.2" +/- 0.1" Tire width 11.85" +/- 0.05" 12.00" +/- 0.05" Tire weight 35.5 lbs +/-.5 lbs 37.0 lbs +/-.5 lbs Inflation pressure 30.0 psi + 40 psi / - 0 psi 50.0 psi + 50 psi / - 0 psi Spring rate 1,350 lbf/in +/- 50 lbf/in 1,500 lbf/in +/- 50 lbf/in Tread width 11.30" +/- 0.05" 11.85" +/- 0.05" Carcass ply width 35.0" +/- 0.1" 36.2" +/- 0.1" Bead diameter 15.30" +/-.05" 15.30" +/-.05" GoodyearPress GoodyearPress GoodyearPress 11 Justin J. Fantozzi, Global Race Tires Marketing Manager NASCAR Lab B - 4

9 The Dimensions Program NASCAR Project Laboratory C Raceways Figure 1 New Hampshire Speedway Courtesy of SayCheeeeeese Project Grant Team Prof. Jeanne Bowman John S. Pazdar Project Designer Program Director University of Cincinnati Asnuntuck Community College Cincinnati, Ohio Enfield, Connecticut Patricia L. Hirschy Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadizadeh Dennis C. Ebersole Principal Investigator Project Tester Principal Investigator Asnuntuck Community College Northampton Community College Northampton Community College Enfield, Connecticut Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

10 Raceways Besides areas for the transporters, raceways also have areas for the fans, media and race officials, parking, and garages for the crews. 1 Fig 2 Daytona International Speedway Courtesy of Imperial Assassin The picture above is a positioning example of the areas necessary for a race to be successful. Starting at the bottom is the track start/finish line, moving upward is the space between the track and the pit road. Behind this area is pit road that is marked off with spaces for each racecar to be serviced during the race. Behind pit road is the marquee for celebrating the winning driver, team members, and car. Directly behind the marquee are the garages, shown in white, and behind the garages is the area for the transporters and support vehicles, and for the fans if room is available. Depending on the size of the land available at each raceway, infield areas may be smaller or larger than Daytona s. NASCAR Lab C - 2

11 Transporters After the racecars have been prepared for a race, they are loaded onto specially designed trailers called transporters. The transporters are 53 ft long, 102 in wide and 13 ft 6 in high. Most of the transporter is divided into two decks with space for two cars on the upper deck. The upper deck is 61 inches high in transporters that haul both racecars and trucks, and 55 in high when built to carry only cars. 2 Once at the track, the transporter serves as a base for the race team. There is a 13 ft long lounge for the race crew at the front of the transporter. Fig 3 Racecar Transporter Tailgates Opened Courtesy of H & K Meitzler Collection Fig 4 Transporters at Track Courtesy of H & K Meitzler Collection Garages Talladega Superspeedway has a 32,400 sq ft garage for Sprint Cup racing, with 62 bays measuring 14 ft by 24 ft, plus a 23,250 sq ft garage for Nationwide and Camping World races with 68 bays measuring 12 ft by 21 ft. Pit Roads Every racetrack has a pit road (or in the case of Bristol Motor Speedway, two pit roads, one 594 feet long and one 567 feet long) 3 where drivers refuel and make adjustments to their cars during a race. The stalls are assigned to the drivers based on their qualifying results. 4 Talladega s pit road has a total length of 1,730 feet. It has 47 stalls measuring 32 ft. by 18 ft. with areas behind the walls of each stall measuring 30 ft. by 21 ft. 5 Fig 5 Pit Road Courtesy of U. S. Air Force NASCAR Lab C - 3

12 Capacities The size of the infield and grandstand capacity differs from one track to the next. While Talladega has an infield area of 212 acres, Bristol Motor Speedway has an infield area of only around 10 acres with a seating capacity of 160, The grandstands at Chicagoland Speedway, while 2,480 feet long, only seat 75,000 compared to Talladega s 143, Fans One reason for NASCAR s appeal is the variety in the tracks on which the races are held. The thirty NASCAR race courses currently used for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series have different shapes and are of different lengths. A few, like Watkins Glen International in New York and Infineon Raceway in California, are road courses with irregular shapes. Most of the other race courses are somewhat oval, although there is a lot of variation in the shape. Pocono Raceway, for instance, is almost triangular. 8 The big differences in track length make every race exciting for NASCAR fans. A race team s strategy will be different for a short track (no more than one mile in length) compared to an intermediate track (between one and two miles long) or a superspeedway (over two miles long). On short tracks the drivers can only accelerate for a short time before slowing for the turns. Brake management is important; with frequent changes in speed, it is easier to burn up the brakes. Fig 6 Martinsville Speedway Courtesy of Art10 For longer tracks, the drivers can reach higher speeds. Fuel management is important. With long straight stretches, the races can feature quick, exciting changes in race leaders. The configuration of the tracks can also lead to bunched-up, side-by-side packs of cars trying to maneuver into a better position. The degree to which the tracks are banked (sloped) is also important since it allows the cars to travel at a higher speed more safely Mark Ackley, Specialty Sales Manager, Featherlite, Inc NASCAR Lab C - 4

13 The Dimensions Program NASCAR Project Laboratory D X - Miles Figure 2 NASCAR 2010 Sprint Cup Series Track Locations Courtesy of Mustang6172 Project Grant Team Prof. Jeanne Bowman John S. Pazdar Project Designer Program Director University of Cincinnati Asnuntuck Community College Cincinnati, Ohio Enfield, Connecticut Patricia L. Hirschy Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadizadeh Dennis C. Ebersole Principal Investigator Project Tester Principal Investigator Asnuntuck Community College Northampton Community College Northampton Community College Enfield, Connecticut Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

14 Ovals Martinsville Speedway, the shortest track at a length of miles, has a symmetric oval shape. The track is 55 feet wide. The frontstretch and backstretch are 800 feet long with no banking. The turns measure 588 feet with 12 banking. 1 With such a small track it is possible for drivers to complete a lap in less than half a minute. In fact, the record time for one lap at Martinsville is Tony Stewart s seconds. 2 The small size also allows the fans to be close to the all the action on the track. 3 Fig 2 Martinsville Speedway Courtesy of Skinny Mike at flickr Lowe s Motor Speedway is an intermediate track 1.5 miles long. It has a frontstretch measuring 1,980 feet and a backstretch measuring 1,500 feet. Turns 1 and 2 measure 2,400 feet while Turns 3 and 4 are 2,040 feet long. The corners are banked at Talladega, currently the longest track used for Sprint Cup racing in 2011, is a 2.66 miles long superspeedway. Its frontstretch is 4,300 feet long with a backstretch 4,000 feet in length. The track itself is 48 feet wide. With 33 banking in the turns and 16.5 in the frontstretch, the racecars are able to reach very high speeds. 5 Fig 3 Talladega Superspeedway Courtesy AuburnPilot NASCAR Lab D - 2

15 Road Courses Since most tracks are ovals, cars turn in the same direction throughout the race. On a road course like Watkins Glen, there are both right and left turns. The racetrack covers 2.45 miles for the short course and 3.37 miles for the long course. The drawing shows the lengths of the straight sections of the course. As you can see, the shape is very irregular, with sides of different lengths and turns of different sizes. Most of the turns are have 6 banking. The width of the track varies from 36 feet to 48 feet with an average width of 38 feet. 6 Fig 4 Watkins Glen Diagram Courtesy of Arz The size and configuration of a particular track play a big part in racing strategy. Cars, tires and even pit stops must be adjusted to maximize a racing team s chance of winning Sprint Cup Series Races Course Type (distance) and City, State Short Intermediate Superspeedway Road Course (less than 1 mi) (between 1 mi & 2 mi) (greater than 2 mi) Bristol, TN Atlanta, GA Daytona, FL Infineon, CA Martinsville, VA Charlotte, NC Fontana, CA Watkins Glen, NY Richmond VA Chicago, IL Indianapolis, IN Darlington, SC Michigan, MI Dover, DE Pocono, PA Homestead, FL Talladega, AL Kansas, KS Las Vegas, NV New Hampshire, NH Phoenix, AZ Texas, TX Laps NASCAR races vary in the number of laps, total distance, speeds and strategies. The Daytona 500 really is a 500-mile race, with cars traveling 200 laps around the 2.5 miles track. But 500 in the name of a race doesn t always mean 500 miles. The Sharpie 500 at the miles Bristol Motor Speedway has a length of 500 laps, not 500 miles. 7 And Phoenix International Raceway s Subway Fresh Fit 500 covers 312 laps on its one-mile course for a distance of approximately 500 km. 8 NASCAR Lab D - 3

16 Fig 5 Texas Motor Speedway Courtesy Bo Nash The Kobalt Tools 500 at the 1.54 mile Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Samsung 500 at 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway both cover a distance of miles but the number of laps driven is not the same because of the lengths of the tracks. 9 At Talladega, the Aaron s 499 miles, runs for 188 laps on the 2.66 miles track. The actual race distance is therefore more than 499 miles (and 187 laps would have been less than 499 miles). 10 Race teams arrive well in advance of the race day. They have the chance to practice on the track and use this experience to make appropriate adjustments to the car. This is followed by qualifying, where the drivers each have two laps to establish the fastest time, follows this. Results of qualifying determine each car s position at the beginning of the race. 11 Qualifying times can be much higher than the record average race speed. For instance, the highest NASCAR qualifying speed at 1.5 mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway was Kasey Kahne s mph in 2007 while the race record was mph, set in 1998 by Mark Martin NASCAR Lab D - 4

17 The Dimensions Program NASCAR Project Laboratory E Flags Figure 3 Opening Ceremonies, Navy Honor Guard Courtesy of U. S. Air Force Project Grant Team Prof. Jeanne Bowman John S. Pazdar Project Designer Program Director University of Cincinnati Asnuntuck Community College Cincinnati, Ohio Enfield, Connecticut Patricia L. Hirschy Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadizadeh Dennis C. Ebersole Principal Investigator Project Tester Principal Investigator Asnuntuck Community College Northampton Community College Northampton Community College Enfield, Connecticut Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

18 Start your engines! Start your engines! is one of the most famous commands in sports. It is heard at the beginning of each of NASCAR s 36 Sprint Cup races each year. At the beginning of the race the pace car leads the racecars around the track at the speed set for pit road for that track. This is important because the racecars do not have speedometers. During these pace laps each driver notes the RPM reading on the car s tachometer and the gear that the car is in 1. Fig 2 Pace Lap Courtesy of Bo Nash Green Flag Once the actual race starts the drivers are continually in contact with members of their race teams, who give the drivers information on race conditions and other competitors. Since drivers need to refuel their cars during the race, determining when to call for a pit stop is very important so that the cars don t run out of gas. Yellow Flag The yellow flag is the signal to slow down. An accident, debris on the track, or weather conditions may make it necessary for the pace car to control the speed until the track is safe again. There are NASCAR rules that govern the positions and speeds of the cars during these caution periods. 1 Under certain conditions, this is a time when cars can enter pit road for fuel and tires. Fig 3 Minor Crashes Cause a Caution (Yellow) Flag Courtesy of Jared Smith NASCAR Lab E - 2

19 Usually when a pit stop is called for, the car is refueled and all four tires are replaced, which takes around 13 or 14 seconds, but sometimes race teams decide to make adjustments to the car, or they may choose to change only two tires or add less fuel (a splash n go ). Normally the two tire carriers, two tire changers and the jackman change the tires, beginning with the right side of the car, while the gas man fills the fuel cell using two 12-gallon containers weighing around 81 lb. each. 2 The gas man is assisted by the catch can man who makes sure that the fuel cell does not overflow. Fig 4 Pit Stop Courtesy of U.S. Army Red Flag If a crash is so serious that a section of the track cannot be used without other cars being damaged or if there is heavy precipitation, a red flag will stop all cars on the track until that section of the track has been deemed ready for racing. 3 Fig 5 Bad Crashes Cause an Unsafe Track (Red) Flag Courtesy of Bo Nash NASCAR Lab E - 3

20 Black Flag The black flag is used when a specific car driver needs to be told that a rules violation has taken place, or because of mechanical problems with the car. It is the signal that that car should go to pit road immediately. 4 White Flag The white flag signals that there is one lap remaining in the race. 5 The winning average speeds for a race can vary considerably from year to year and from track to track. For instance, the winning speed at Darlington Raceway was mph in 2008 and mph in , while Infineon Raceway, which is a road course, had speeds of mph in 2005 and mph in The checkered flag signals the end of the race. Checkered Flag Fig 6 Race Car Crosses the Checkered Strip Courtesy of Walt Sokalski, USASOC PAO At the conclusion of the race, the race teams must return all tires to Goodyear before being allowed to leave the track. 8 The teams load up the transporters and head out, already considering adjustments to the car and racing strategy to prepare for the next race NASCAR Lab E - 4

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