Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Small NASCAR racing margins often come from big bucks

Small NASCAR racing margins often come from big bucks
08 Jul

DAYTONA BEACH — About 90 minutes before the official 7:35 p.m. start of Saturday night’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Coke Zero Sugar 400, it all seemed so calm.

All 40 cars were lined up on pit road while country crooner Josh Turner performed to a sizable crowd, and even the crews were watching, which presented an unusual opportunity: A chance to inspect all 40 cars — the 20 Chevrolet Camaros, the seven Toyota Camrys and the 13 Ford Fusions, placed in order of how fast they qualified. Up front was Chase Elliott’s Camaro, which ran a lap of 194.045 mph. In 40th was J.J. Yeley’s Camry, which qualified at 182.730 mph.

What’s the difference? The cars are essentially the same: Yeley’s slow Camry looks exactly like Martin Truex’s Camry, which was the fastest Toyota with a speed of 191.209 mph. The same for Ray Black Jr.’s Chevrolet, admittedly a little rough around the edges — he qualified 39th, with a speed of 183.146 mph, considerably slower than Elliott’s Chevrolet, which ran about 11 mph faster.

The slowest Ford was Matt DeBenedetto’s Fusion, qualifying at 188.336 mph, compared to third-place starter Brad Keseloski’s Ford, which ran 192.802 mph.

Walk the row of 40 cars, and there is no hint why some are so much faster than others of the same brand.

The answer to that question: “Money,” said one of the owners of a back-marker car that typically makes the field but has never won. “If one team has sponsorship of, say, $2 million and another team has a $20-million sponsor, no amount of talent or desire can make up that difference.”

That difference is manifested in ways typically not seen: The rich guys can afford to massage the body and, just as important, the undercarriage in a wind tunnel that can simulate what the wind does when you drive 200 mph.

They can afford to put the cars on a “shaker rig” that is programmed to move the tires and wheels up and down and sideways exactly like an upcoming race track — you can see how the suspension works on every bump and dip.

Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/nascar/os-sp-daytona-dollars-0707-story.html


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