January 3, 2003, Newsletter Issue #11: NASCAR Terms Defined

Tip of the Week

Air Pressure
Ever since radial tires with stiffer sidewalls have been used, changing the air pressure within the tires is used as another setup tool when adjusting spring rates in the vehicleīs suspension. If the air pressure is increased, the "spring rate" in the tire will raise. This changes the carīs handling characteristics. For example, if the racecar is "tight" coming off a corner, the driver might request a slight air pressure increase in the right rear tire to "loosen it up."

Air pressure that flows over the car creating a downward force that pushes the car onto the track is known as downforce. This causes the car to stick to the racing surface and keeps the car from losing traction at high speeds, especially going through the turns.

Lapped Traffic
The cars that are no longer on the lead lap are known as lapped traffic. These cars are usually far slower than the leaders.

Provisional Entry
The final seven spots in a NASCAR race are reserved for drivers who qualify unsuccessfully during the weekend. These spots are determined by the points accumulated during past races.

Roll Bars
Roll bars, also known as the roll cage, are made of strong steel tubing. They are a part of the carīs protective frame and safeguard the driver and important components of the car from the impact of a collision.

The tachometer is an instrument drivers use to determine engine speed and performance. It measures the number of revolutions per minute (RPM).

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