NASCAR Racing Rules
NASCAR Racing Rules
Danny McKeever (Driving Instructor) gives expert video advice on: What are the race car specifications and regulations in NASCAR?; What are the rules dealing with the car's engine in NASCAR?; What are the rules dealing with the car's body? and more...
What are the race car specifications and regulations in NASCAR?
Every car has to go through a technical inspection, a safety inspection -- whatever you want to call it. The fuel cells, the fuel tanks so to speak, have to be a certain size, so you can only go so far and put so many gallons in it. The roll cage has to be built a certain way, the window nets have to be a certain way, the safety belts have to be a certain way, all of the safety regulations have to be in place and the right type. All the cars are inspected thoroughly by NASCAR and if you start playing with their rules, you're going to get a slap on the hand and a bigger slap in your chequebook.
What are the rules dealing with the car's engine in NASCAR?
The car's engine in NASCAR is just the same as the rest of the car. They can only be so big, cubic-inch wise and so many valves per cylinder. It's the old technology: two valves per cylinder. They have to be certain specifications, and that's another area. They'll tear them down, they'll pull them apart and they'll make sure you're not playing with the rules and that you're within their specifications. They're very strict with that, and they should be.
What are the rules dealing with the car's body?
They do use templates. They put it right over the roof line, the hood line, and the trunk line. They want to make sure that the car conforms to their rules. The car of tomorrow, the new car from NASCAR, is very specific about that. Smokey Yunick, back in the old days of NASCAR, made them start that because he used cars with bodies that were a little bit different, until they decided that he had an advantage doing that. He was going to try it until they wouldn't let him anymore, so that is why they started using templates.
What are the rules dealing with the car's tires?
Goodyear tire technicians are constantly looking at the tires, and advising the teams on what camber they should put in the cars, or if they exceed certain specifications that there could be an excessive tire wear problem. But they're very good tires; they're very safe tires. They have inner liners so if there is a blowout, you still have hopefully some control of the car.
What are the auto racing rules dealing with the car's gas tank?
The gas tank is basically in a tin or aluminium container and inside of that is a rubber bladder, a rubber bag, and inside of that is foam to keep it from sloshing back and forth. The fuel cell contains the fuel in an accident. If you smash up your gas tank in your car and you break open that metal container then gas comes out, but if you break open the outer container in a car that has a fuel cell you still have, in a sense, the rubber bag containing the fuel. The whole purpose is to keep the fuel inside the container, the fuel cell, and not all over the track or the driver or the inside of the car.
What are the auto racing rules concerning safety belts?
Safety belts are that most organizations require a five or a six point harness. There's a lap belt with two points of attachment. There are shoulder harnesses with two points of attachment. There's a crotch strap or anti-submarine belt that either has one point of attachment or two points of attachment. Everything comes up to a center locking mechanism. You get everything tight. It's a quick-release system so that if you need to get out of the car you just hit one lever and everything falls apart and you're out of there. The purpose of that type of belt system is to keep you in the car so you really clinch them down pretty tight so when you're driving the car, you're not moving around and the steering wheel does not become a handle to try to keep you in the seat. The belt's very important.
What are the auto racing rules concerning safety nets?
Most organizations require a window net, at least on the driver's side. Some are on the driver's side and passenger side. This is basically to keep your body parts inside the car. In other words, if you start rolling or tumbling and you let go of the steering wheel, which in some cases in an accident you may want to because you don't want your hands on the steering wheel with the impact coming. It basically keeps your arms and anything else inside the car.
What is a 'metal check' in auto racing?
NASCAR and other racing organizations have a minimum weight, so that your car has to weigh 'so much'. Where teams might try to use alternative metals, sometimes we call that "unobtainium", where nobody else can get it. I am being facetious. They might try to use aluminum or titanium somewhere in the place of steel. What they are doing is that they are not going to reduce the minimum weight of the car, because they are going to get caught. All they have to do is roll it over a scale, and if you are two hundred pounds light then that's too bad. You're out of here. What they might do in using alternative metals is to switch the weight around, because the weight you have on each corner of the car, how much weight each tire suspends, is very critical. What they'll do is call weight jacking, or where can I redistribute the weight so that the car is better balanced, and it will handle better.