Saturday, November 10, 2012

Strange But True NASCAR Facts

The NASCAR acronym stands for the "National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing."

 The first NASCAR race was held on June 19th, 1949 in Charlotte, NC at the Charlotte Speedway, a 3/4 mile dirt track.

Lee Petty was the first driver to crash in a Winston cup race.  He crashed at lap 107 in that first race at Charlotte on June 19 1949.

There are eight different flags that the NASCAR officials use from the flag stand to control the race. The only flag that is shown only once per race is the white flag, which signals that there is only one lap remaining in the race.

NASCAR cars are meant to resemble the standard American sedan and have fenders unlike IndyCar and Formula One race cars which are open wheeled speedsters. They also are required to have three "stock" parts from the manufacturer: the hood, the roof and the trunk lid are all considered standard. They also have to stick to shape templates to ensure the cars all look roughly the same.

The first driver to run a race over 250 miles, and lead start to finish was Daniel Dieringer in April 1967 at North Wilkesboro speedway.

 Richard Petty is credited with inventing the window net to help keep drivers arms inside the car to avoid injuries during a crash.

 Michael Waltrip holds the record for the most starts without a win. When he won the tragic 2001 Daytona 500, it was his first win and the 463 start of his NASCAR racing career.

Richard Petty won 200 NASCAR races in his career.  He won 7 stock car championships, won Daytona 7 times and is still to this day known as the greatest driver in in the history of NASCAR.

Dick Trickle was rookie of the year in 1989 at the age of 48 years old.  He never won a Winston cup race, but he had 5 3rd place finishes, 14 top 5 finishes and 32 top 10 finishes.  All this was after having raced for 31 years in short track racing, and although it can't be verified, he is said to have won over 1200 feature races.

In 1976 Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in a Winston Cup race.  She finished 15th in the wold 600 race.  She also qualified for the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 in in the same year of 1977.

On straight-aways at 200 mph, NASCAR drivers in one second travel 293 feet, almost the length of a football field.

On turns, NASCAR drivers can experience 3 Gs of force against their bodies, comparable to the forces pressing down on shuttle astronauts at liftoff.

Research shows fit drivers are better able to handle g-forces while muscle mass offers more protection in a wreck.

Temperatures in the car often exceed 100 degrees, reaching as much as 170 degrees by the floorboards.

Drivers can lose 5-10 pounds in sweat during a race.

If a driver loses more than 3 percent of his body weight in sweat and doesn't replace those fluids, focus and reflexes start declining.

In a race, a NASCAR driver maintains the same heart rate -120-150 beats per minute for 3-plus hours - as a serious marathon runner for about the same length of time.

A study in "anticipatory timing" found race car drivers to possess the same ability to anticipate what was going to happen as a hockey goalie or a quarterback.

SAFER barriers, which NASCAR has installed at most tracks, reduces crash impacts on drivers by 70 percent or more. SAFER stands for "Steel and Foam Energy Reduction."

No driver has died since NASCAR began requiring head-and-neck restraints in 2001.

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