The NASCAR Page is about links to Professional Stock Car Racing. Only the Nextel Cup Series NASCAR Teams and Drivers are displayed. National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing links showing racing car pictures and team Logos. The drivers are listed with their teams and the teams are listed by their lowest car number first, in order. Michael Waltrip Racing is listed first because their team has car number 00 while Ginn’s first car number is 01. Ginn’s second car, number 13, is next. The next team is Dale Earnhardt Inc. with car number 1. DEI’s second car is next listed as 8, and so on with the next team starting with car number 2.
NASCAR has three Major racing series‘: Nextel Cup Series - or Cup, the Busch Series- or Busch and the Truck Series - or Craftsman. Many of the drivers race in ‘Cup’ and ‘Busch’ while others race in ‘Truck’ and a few race in all three! A fourth series starts in May of 2007 called the Canadian Tire Series - NASCAR has purchased the former Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing: CASCAR, that will continue under the new name. The car manufacturers compete in teams, as well, competing for points in each race. Their Logos accompany each Racing Team listing to show the Manufacturer the team is associated with. The Manufacturers are: Dodge (Chrysler), Chevrolet (General Motors) and Ford. This year, 2007, Toyota will compete with three teams: 1 new team and two teams that change to Toyota for 2007. Toyota also competes in the Craftsman Series.
The drivers compete for the Nextel Cup by acquiring points from their place finish in each race. There are bonus points, too. The best ten places compete for the final standings in the last ten races that is known as the ‘Chase for the Nextel Cup’. After the 26th race, the tenth place team is bumped up to 5000 points and each of the next 9 drivers receive 5 points more than the one before, so the 1st place driver starts the Chase with 5050 points. Positions 11 and under can not catch the Cup contenders - even if they win all the remaining races. Only those ten drivers can compete for the Nextel Cup. The season starts in February with the Daytona 500 to begin a total of 36 races. There are short tracks - 3/4 to 1 5/8 miles long, big tracks - 2.0 to 2.5 miles long, and road courses. Some tracks are oval shapes and D-oval shapes, some have a tri-oval shape - there are even quad-oval shapes. Speeds over 200 mph on straightaways are attained while heavily braking into the corners to accelerate hard onto the straightaway again.
Stock car racing’s big push came from the Daytona Beach Road Course in the 1940’s. NASCAR began in 1948 as a ‘Strictly Stock’ racing league. Modified cars came later which added racing features to family sedans. The first race had 9 manufacturers and tire wear was the main concern even then, with the very rough dirt tracks. Safety restraints were rope and aircraft harnesses with roll bars mandated in 1952. Safety features have been an ongoing development to where today’s drivers often walk away from even the worst crashes. The first racing tire was introduced in 1952, so was the first 2 way radio between driver and crew chief. Now, drivers have six point restraining systems with crash helmets that tether, fire retardant suits and fuel tank bag inserts that protect them from almost any situation. By comparison, the original NASCAR race was very much a “Seat of the Pants Endeavour”.
NASCAR races have 43 cars that are each a separate team identified by the car number: eg. The 48 team. NASCAR cars are based on the ‘big car’ street legal sedan: Front engine V8, rear wheel drive with a solid drive axle. They have engines that produce 750-800 hp. and use high octane rating leaded fuel. Busch is now using unleaded fuel and Cup is planning to change that way. The components are all heavy duty and high performance and are driven until they fail - wearing them out during, or at the end of a race. They include: brakes, suspension, transmission, drive train, chassis and tires. Costs can be deferred by the quantity needed, while still receiving full sponsorship money, benefiting some racing teams that have more than one car team. The biggest is Roush Racing with 5 cars in 2007. Hendrick Motorsports and Ginn Racing have 4 car teams and there are a few teams with 3, while many teams have only 1. The cars are painted with advertising from the sponsors, who do business with the Racing Team, and pay to show their ‘Colours’ on the cars. They are often very attractive and are a big part of Stock Car Racing. Each car team has a ‘Pit Crew’ that services the cars during a race, as well as preparing the car before races and qualifying events. A team must qualify a car with a vehicle that conforms to NASCAR specifications and a qualified driver who has credentials verifying his status. In days previous to a race, cars take turns running about 4 laps to attain an average speed as high as possible, thus, reducing the time needed to complete the necessary laps. This creates a starting grid with the lowest time in 1st position and the 43rd best time in last position. There is a starting pole where the last position is on the bottom. 1st is the pole position, on top. Cars, once qualified, that require changes are sent to the back. Cars start the race in order of their qualifying position: 1st at the front and 43rd at the back. Some events have smaller races to determine the starting grid for the 'Big Race'.
The ‘Pit’ is a stall that is adjacent to the track, and are all in a line on the infield side, accessed by ‘Pit Road’ during a race. Each team has a stall where the car is fuelled and tires changed before being sent back out into the race. Sometimes suspension or brake adjustments must be made, or a piece of body work taped back on. If more serious adjustments are required, the car is driven back into the infield to the garage to be worked on. This is where the car is set up - during qualifying - by mechanics. Pit Road is accessed from the track by the 'Entrance' and 'Exit' Lanes that allow a Race Car time to decelerate and accelerate as a predetermined speed must be maintained on Pit Road or a penalty is assessed to the violating driver. A car pulls in to the Pit Stall parallel to Pit Road and stays facing the direction of the Exit Lane. Cars often dive into their stalls and spin their tires to move around the car in the stall infront, when leaving.
NASCAR, each driver and team name are linked to their home pages. Each team Logo and driver’s car picture is linked to pages about them at the NASCAR web site. Manufacturer’s logos link to their racing pages. The drop down menu displays the top five finishers, from the previous race, while the countdown is set to the start of the next race. Different Logos and pictures are linked to information about them. The Nextel Cup logo links to the Nextel Cup driver points standings and the NASCAR Logo links to the ‘Next Race’ page at the NASCAR web site. The schedule Logo links to the current Race Schedule and the Race Logo links to 'This Week's Race' Track Home Page. Page navigation will take you to ‘Midway Down’ , to the bottom, and back to the ‘Top’ again. The Countdown Counter is now at the top of the page for easier viewing. There is also this 'Description' section. The Nextel Cup picture is with the current champion. All of the images have captions to explain what they are and where they link. From a team or league web site, the store can be viewed to see NASCAR gear and equipment for fans and drivers. Racing caps and team jackets are often worn by fans at NASCAR Races. Team ‘pennants’ and many other items with team colours and car numbers are displayed to help cheer on the popular driver. Advertisements, are also shown and, can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of NASCAR or your favourite car and driver. If something catches your attention, you can visit the Advertiser to learn more about their products - which is what they want.
The Sport of NASCAR Auto Racing.
The start of a NACSAR race is quite an event with the U.S. National Anthem, a rock group, a flypast by the Air Force and a celebrity to say: “Gentlemen, start your engines!” The cars file out onto the track, in pairs - 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc. - behind the ‘Pace Car’ to complete a few ‘Warm Up’ laps before the start - at about 80mph. The pace car, a street legal, but, performance enhanced car, leads the slowed field and has flashing lights that are turned off for the last ‘Pace Lap‘ before it veers onto ‘Pit Road‘. This leaves the 43 competitors to stay in formation at the discretion of the pole position who takes the field to the start/finish line at any speed desired. No passing is permitted before the ‘Green Flag Start‘. At the line, the ‘Green Flag’ is shown by the starter - and the race is on. Some races last well over 4 hours.
The cars travel around the track, counter-clockwise making left turns, at speeds over 200mph and brake into the turns to accelerate hard onto the straightaway again. This continues until the necessary laps are completed by the winner. It is an endurance race with the cars kept in the best condition attaining the fastest speeds at the end, to cross the start/finish line ahead of the damaged cars. Cars bump and crash into each other and the retaining walls. They also get torn apart by shredding blown tires. Every dent causes changes to their aerodynamics that can only be overcome with horse power. Using up the car early - wearing down the parts - means there won’t be a reserve of power to use at the end, to win the race.
NASCAR officials control the race by displaying ‘Flags’: a ‘Green Flag’ starts the race and means race conditions persist, a ’Yellow Flag’ is a caution for debris or a crash on the track and the pace car comes out to lead the field, a ‘Red Flag’ signals the race is stopped due to weather or a severe crash, a ‘Blue Flag’ is shown on road courses and indicates a driver should allow a much faster car to pass, a ‘White Flag’ indicates the last lap of a race, a ‘Black Flag’ is shown to drivers when something physically is wrong with the car and it must ‘Pit’, and the ‘Checkered Flag’- black and white - is waved at the winner as the start/finish line is crossed and ends the race. Officials can also assess a penalty on the drivers, called a ‘Drive Through Penalty‘. They are a drive through the Pit Road, which has a maximum speed much slower than the race - 45 to 55mph. It costs the driver valuable time and track position. Aggressive driving and Pit Road speed violations are often the penalties committed.
The basic idea, of a NASCAR race, is to keep the car in as good a condition as possible while completing all of the laps and staying with the leaders on the lead lap. The aerodynamics of the car keep it on the road while slipping through the air. Catching air or losing down force can cause the car to crash. A car is set up for race day conditions and if they change, the crew must compensate and struggle to make the best configuration to compete with the leaders. A car’s speed is determined by the grip of it’s tires and they are changed very often - it takes time, so discretion is used. Fuel is added constantly - every pit stop - and adds to the weight over the rear tires. A ‘Pit Crew’ has 2 men to change the front tires and 2 more to change the rear. There is a jack man, and 2 fuel men. The Crew Chief oversees the action and makes the decisions. He is on the radio with the driver who provides his opinions of the car's performance and feel. A pit stop takes about 15 seconds, and with the trip in and out of pit road about 50 seconds. A genuine chance to gain ‘Track Position’ is in the pit stall. As the car uses up fuel and wears down it’s tires it’s attitude changes and that must be compensated for by the driver‘s skill.
Aerodynamics is how the race is run. Drivers draft each other where one car pulls up very close behind another. This produces less drag on the rear of the front car while reducing drag on the front of the second car. They aerodynamically become one car and it spreads these one car forces over the power output of two cars. They can not maintain this position for very long, as, the lack of air flow through the second car's engine compartment causes it to overheat quickly. The cars have a rear spoiler and a wedge front end. The spoiler catches the air foil and forces the rear wheels down onto the track - providing grip. Loss of grip, or rear wheel traction, is called ‘Loose’: causing the rear end of the car to slide up the slope of the track in the corners. The air forces the front end down, too, giving the car steering. Loss of traction on the front wheels is called ‘Tight’: causing the front end of the car to continue straight instead of turning in the corners. The grill allows air into the engine compartment to cool it - a very necessary thing, but, blocking up part of the grill forces the air flow over the front end of the car and pushes it down onto the track providing more traction for steering. It allows higher speeds around the corners, but, could over heat the engine and can not be performed in hot track conditions. Decelerating into, and accelerating out of the corners is where traction is needed most.
When a caution comes out, the racers often come into the pits for service to their cars, as their stay does not cost much in laps at the reduced speed. As long as the leader does not complete a full lap, the pitted cars can accelerate around to catch up with the pack of cars and take their place. A green flag pit stop is very costly and could easily cost a team the race if it occurs near the finish. The yellow flag caution brings into effect the ‘Free Pass’ rule where the lead 'Lapped' car receives a free pass to pass the Pace Car and travel around the track to catch up with the pack - which has now bunched up behind the leader and pace car - and then line up last among the 'Lead Lap' cars. Since getting the lap back gives a shot at winning the race again, this driver is referred to as the ‘Lucky Dog’. NASCAR recently added a ‘Green White Finish rule at the end of a race: a race should progress normally from green flag racing to the last lap, or, white flag lap and then on to the checkered flag finish. Should a ‘Caution’ occur and the race would otherwise finish under a yellow flag, the race is extended by the necessary laps to achieve one chance at a Green Flag lap, White Flag lap and then Checkered Flag Finish. If another caution occurs, during this extension: the race is over and the positions of the field frozen.
Very often, no cautions occur at the end of a race and an exciting high speed finish between two or more well maintained, high powered, very skilfully driven cars takes place; to the thrill and enjoyment of all!
Pro Sports Official Team Sites NASCAR Page can link you with all the racing action, right to the NASCAR source; the Professional Teams and Drivers. Their racing news pages will keep you up to date.