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The Physics of Nascar

The Physics of Nascar

The Physics of Nascar

Author
Evernham, Ray; Leslie-pelecky, Diandra L.;  
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Catalog
Science > Physics
Sports & Recreation > Motor Sports
Publisher
Penguin Group USA
ISBN-13
9780525950530
ISBN-10
0525950532
Publish
2008-02
Pages
286
Unit
Size
23.5 * 3.17 * 15.88
Format
Hardcover
Version

Product Description

Every NASCAR fan – at one time or another – asks the same question: Why isn’t my favorite driver winning? This is your chance to discover how much more there is to NASCAR than “Go fast, turn left and don’t crash.” If you’ve ever wondered why racecars don’t have mufflers, how “bump drafting” works, or what in the world “Let’s go up a pound on the right rear and add half a round of wedge” means, The Physics of NASCAR is for you.

In this fast-paced investigation into the adrenaline-pumping world of NASCAR, a physicist with a passion uncovers what happens when the rubber hits the road and 800- horsepower vehicles compete at 190 miles per hour only inches from one another.

Diandra Leslie-Pelecky reveals how and why drivers trust the engineering and science their teams literally build around them not only to get them across the finish line in first place, but also to keep them alive. Professor Leslie-Pelecky is a physicist in love with the sport’s beauty and power and is uniquely qualified to explain exactly how physics translates into winning races.

Based on the author’s extensive access to race shops, pit crews, crew chiefs and mechanics, this book traces the life cycle of a race car from behind the scenes at top race shops to the track. The Physics of NASCAR takes readers right into the ultra competitive world of NASCAR, from the champion driver’s hot seat behind the detachable steering wheel to the New Zealander nicknamed Kiwi in charge of shocks for the No. 19 car.

Diandra Leslie-Pelecky tells her story in terms anyone who drives a car--and maybe occasionally looks under the hood--can understand. How do drivers walk away from serious crashes? How can two cars travel faster together than either car can on its own? How do you dress for a 1800°F gasoline fire? In simple yet detailed, high-octane prose, this is the ultimate thrill ride for armchair speed demons, auto science buffs, and NASCAR fans at every level of interest.

Readers, start your engines.

About the Author

Diandra Leslie-Pelecky is Professor of Physics at The University of Texas at Dallas, where she researches biomedical nanomaterials. Dr. Leslie-Pelecky has published widely on her academic research and improving science education at all levels. This is her first book.

Review

A physicist herself, Leslie-Pelecky is impressed by the scientific methods used on the track and surprised by the problem solving in the pits, an open-mindedness that is trickling up to management. . . . "The trick with science is making the public care about it," Leslie-Pelecky says. And an awful lot of people care deeply about NASCAR." -- ESPN Magazine 2008

Currently a condensed-matter physicist at the University of Nebraska, Leslie-Pelecky regards a NASCAR track as a living laboratory. In her new book she outlines the many ways in which engineers, mechanics and driverswittingly and unwittingly rely on physics to drive as quickly and as safely as possible. . . . She also thinks the science of NASCAR could be an ideal way to make physics compelling to students bored by traditional teaching. "It would be a great course for anyone interested in science but afraid of science," she says. -- Peter Gwynne -- Physics World March 2008

Diandra Leslie-Pelecky] has produced one of the most intriguing and educational books ever written about the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. "The Physics of NASCAR" may be one of the most intellectually challenging books you've read in a while. That's a good thing, because Leslie-Pelecky does a splendid job of balancing the hard-core scientific aspects of the sport (there are a lot of them) with the human side.-- Mark David -- Daytona News Journal, February 10, 2008

The author, a physicist and devoted NASCAR fan, explains in clear, simple terms what goes into making a NASCAR vehicle, from design to development to construction to test-driving. Along the way, she introduces us to some of the sport's key players and teaches us (painlessly) more about the physics of speed racing than we ever thought we needed to know. NASCAR fans will flock to this book. -- David Pitt -- Booklist March 1, 2008

To understand what is happening on the track and in the garage here at Daytona, you need either a crash course in aerodynamics or the guidance of Dr. Leslie-Pelecky and her new book, The Physics of Nascar. -- John Tierney -- New York Times "Science Section" 2/12/2008

From Publishers Weekly

Having caught, by chance, the broadcast of a multi-car NASCAR crash on television, Nebraska University physics professor Leslie-Pelecky found herself compelled to understand why it happened. Soon, a growing list of scientific questions ("How do you build an engine...that can run at 9,000 rpm for three hours without blowing up?") steer her to meetings with engineers, ground crews and drivers who work together "at the limits of what we understand about aerodynamics, structural engineering and even human physiology." The first part of the book deals with materials, and looks at how combustion, power and aerodynamics work together to maximize speed. But it's the driver and his crew who win the race, and Leslie-Pelecky gets plenty of time with the men behind the machines, joining Ray Evernham's crew to watch him race, and taking a turn behind the wheel herself. Along the way, the nanotech specialist becomes an unlikely racing fan; this fun physics primer should give any NASCAR aficionado a similar appreciation for science.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

NASCAR may be the number-one spectator sport in the world, but that doesn’t mean we know a whole lot about how it works. How, exactly, do you design and manufacture a car that will move at those tremendous speeds but will handle with precision and, above all, will not kill its driver? What makes a NASCAR car different from the vehicles you see on the regular roads? The author, a physicist and devoted NASCAR fan, explains in clear, simple terms what goes into making a NASCAR vehicle, from design to development to construction to test-driving. Along the way, she introduces us to some of the sport’s key players and teaches us (painlessly) more about the physics of speed racing than we ever thought we needed to know. NASCAR fans will flock to this book. --David Pitt