Five Reasons Racing Cars is More Important Than Ever

December 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

If you’re anything like me, you’re sick of people asking you why you watch NASCAR or Formula 1 or whatever satiates your need for speed the most. It’s not like I ask my friends why they like watching a bunch of guys standing around on a baseball field for three hours. To each his own, right?

Anyway, I decided I’d had enough of the constant harassment and figured I’d put together a list of five solid reasons as to why racing cars is more important than ever:

1. Trickle-Down Technology

The goal of racing, for the drivers and their teams at least, is to win a race. To do this, engineers and designers are constantly trying to devise cars that are faster, have more torque and even have better lights. Car manufacturers such as Audi and Porsche are constantly trying to build better machines. For example, Audi debuted a racecar that had LED lighting way back in 2011. Fast forward to this year, and the R18 E-tron features laser lights, something drivers say significantly enhances visibility. These benefits ultimately get passed down to the cars regular guys like you and I drive.

2. Enhanced Safety Measures

In today’s nanny state that is America, it’d be hard to have a sport keep existing if racecar drivers were perishing every few weeks on the track. Sure, accidents happen from time to time, but it’s pretty amazing when you stop to think about how few deaths there actually are on the racetrack. That’s because car manufacturers work to make their cars safe as can be. And like the technology that trickles down, so too do the safety features.

3. It’s Thrilling

Of course, if you’ve never been to a track to see a race, there’s a good chance you won’t understand it. But being there on the track — and hearing the cars whizz and whirr for hours on end — is something entirely different. Those sounds will never be adequately captured on television. So if you’ve never seen it, you can’t knock it. Simple as that.

4. It’s an Escape for Fans

Back to baseball: Pretty sweet sport you guys got there, right? Bunch of overweight dudes running slower than leaky faucets, “adjusting” themselves and slapping buttocks? Of course, baseball is the American pastime. I don’t knock on it. I watch racing because it’s even more entertaining. Just like any other form of entertainment, it helps me escape. What’s wrong with that?

5. Lots and Lots of Money

OK, at the very least, you can always talk about the economy. Believe it or not, NASCAR alone generated $3.1 billion in 2013. That’s a lot of money, and it pays a lot of people — not to mention while helping our government collect a whole lot of tax revenue. When you really stop to think about it, racing fan or otherwise, the country really relies on the industry, like it or not.

Hopefully you can keep some of these tips in mind so that, the next time one of your buddies invariably gives you a hard time, you’ll have the ammunition to put him in his place. Good luck!

Article submitted by Scott Huntington

NASCAR Sprint Cup May See Big Changes in 2014

January 20, 2014 by  
Filed under News

The possibility of NASCAR reinventing the format of the Chase for the Sprint Cup has drawn commentary from many quarters – some positive, but more leaning toward the negative. It’s no secret that NASCAR chairman Brian France wants the focus to be on winning races rather than the accumulation of points, and has made some adjustments over the years to the original format introduced in 2004 to achieve this goal. The latest proposal, however, is the most drastic of all and will change the series completely if it is introduced.

The proposal reportedly includes increasing competitors in the Chase for the Sprint Cup from 12 to 16, with a win in any of the season’s first 26 races putting a driver in line for entry into the championship. Should there be more than 16 winners in those 26 races, then the 16 drivers with the most wins as well as the highest in points would qualify for the Chase. Once the field for the Chase was established, a round of elimination races would whittle competitors down to 4 for the final winner-takes-all race. The elimination races would take place after the third, sixth and ninth races of the Chase with 4 drivers being eliminated each time and the remaining 4 drivers going into the final race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway with points reset and tied in the Sprint Cup standings.

When asked to comment on the proposed changes, vice president and chief communications officer of NASCAR, Brett Jewkes, was quoted as saying that NASCAR had started the “process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format.” He went on to state that the briefing was the final phase of extensive research, feedback and “data-driven insights”.

The point has been made that implementing these changes would make historical comparisons impossible as the formats are too different. Also, the championship title would lose its value if the final race is the decider, rather than awarding it to the driver who has shown skill and endurance through the season under varying conditions and on different tracks, thereby gaining points. Some observers have noted that it’s entirely possible NASCAR is putting the idea out there to gauge response before making an official announcement. With the 2014 Sprint Cup Season starting in February, fans won’t have long to wait to find out if a new format is on the cards for 2014.

Discover the Excitement of Drifting

January 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

The action of drifting, when the rear slip angle of a car is greater that the front slip angle and a loss of traction occurs between tires and track, can occur in different types of auto racing. This may be unintentional, with drivers either spinning off the track or being able to rectify the over-steering that caused the drift, or intentionally, with drivers using the technique to gain an advantage. In recent years, drifting has developed into a recognized motorsport in its own right, with drivers intentionally over-steering to get their cars to slide sideways while still being in control. Drifting competitions are held in many countries around the world, where competitors are judged by a set of criteria which may include speed and angle, as well as adherence to the line through corners which is set for each competition and amount of smoke created. In some competitions audience response and driver showmanship are taken into account when selecting a winner.

Drifting as a sport is believed to have originated in Japan, with motorcycle and car racing champion Kunimitsu Takahashi being considered to be the “father of drifting” as, in the 1970s, he created many of the original drifting techniques still used today. Takahashi’s drift techniques were picked up by Keiichi Tsuchiya who took to practicing his moves on mountainous passes. He was given the nickname of “Drift King” for the part he played in establishing drifting as a motorsport, and for his use of drifting in standard racing events. The video (Pluspy) focusing on Tsuchiya’s drifting skills continues to inspire today’s drivers.

Sponsored by the Japanese drifting magazine Option, one of the first drifting events in the United States took place at the Willow Springs Raceway in California. The sport has gone from strength to strength since then with the premier series in the United States being Formula D. This exciting championship series consists of seven events that take place at race tracks across the country. Judges take into account execution and style and so the winner will not necessarily be the competitor who finishes the course in the quickest time.

Tracks in the US that currently host drifting events include the Long Beach GP street circuit; Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA; Palm Beach International Raceway; Wall Speedway, NJ; Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; and the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA. Described as the merging of extreme sports with traditional racing, drift racing offers plenty of action and excitement – for both drivers and spectators.