What makes a NASCAR?

Written by a Guest Blogger

How a NASCAR car is created

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, otherwise known as NASCAR, was formed in 1947 to give drivers a place in which to race autos that were built at the passenger car assembly lines. They developed rules and formulated a tournament type plan that took the drivers to various speedways to collect points for the season. The champion driver was the one who drove his car in enough events and gathered enough winning points to come out at the top of the point scale by season’s end.

The original stock cars weren’t tough enough to endure the beating they took operating at maximum speeds along bumpy tracks that often became rutted as the race went on. This led to modification rules that have changed over the life of the NASCAR organization. This has allowed for various changes to be made in the bodies and enhancements to the engines to make the races more competitive and exciting.

Today’s cars are built and modified within the strict guidelines set down by the organization, and each car is checked over thoroughly to ensure that all vehicles are in compliance with the rules. The cars are no longer true stock cars, as each component is hand made by racing specialists.

Frame

The frame provides the foundation for the car and must be light, yet strong enough to take the racetrack’s punishment. These unique frames are handmade and surround the driver with thick tubular steel, while the front clip is designed to push the engine down and away instead of into the driver, in case of a collision.

Body

A NASCAR vehicle’s body takes at least 10 full days to create. The body is made using templates approved by the rules committee and is bent into shape by a large steel roller called an ‘English Wheel.’ Each part is then welded to the frame and painted. The roof is assembled to include an important safety feature – flaps that help hold the car down to keep it from flipping over in case of a spin out.

Engine

The engines that power NASCAR cars are quite similar to ordinary street cars, but with some vast modifications. They must be able to run for long periods at top speeds without failing. Most engines are based on a 1960 V-8 design. At 358 cubic inches and able to put out 750 horsepower or more, they are designed for maximum and unrestricted air and gas flow.

Tires

Radial racing tires contain nitrogen instead of air, as this is the NASCAR standard. Nitrogen contains less moisture than air, making it less likely to overheat the tires at high speeds. The tires are made up of compounds that may be different for each track according to the specific surface. Soft tires grip the track better, but don’t last as long as harder compounds. They are made with minimal tread so that the maximum amount of tire has contact with the ground. Visit the Official NASCAR Die-Cast Collectables Website to get a closer look at these amazing vehicles.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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