NASCAR auto racing is an exceedingly popular sport with a rich history which has been around for over seventy years. During that time, the motorsport has seen numerous changes.
The following is a list of surprising facts which you didn’t know about NASCAR and will increase your knowledge of the sport, enabling you to enjoy it further.
1 – Average Speed of Race Car
When racing, NASCAR racing cars average well over 150 miles per hour. A number of the racers are around 180 miles per hour, and some even flirt with the 200 miles per hour level. It takes one second to travel an entire football field at 200 mph.
2 – It Gets Hot in There
The temperature in the car regularly tops 100 degrees with the floorboards getting as high as 170 degrees. Race drivers can lose five to ten pounds of perspiration in one race.
3 – Drivers vs. Marathoners
During a three hour race, the heart rate of a NASCAR driver is 120-150 beats per minute. This is the same as the heart rate of a marathon runner. On the turns, NASCAR drivers are subjected between two and three G’s (which is up to three times gravity’s force).
4 – Who Needs A Driver’s License?
NASCAR drivers are not required to have a state-issued driver’s license. They are expected to pass a physical examination and a drug test.
5 – Quick Reactions of Drivers
A NASCAR race car driver has the same skill as a hockey goalie or quarterback in anticipating what will happen.
6 – NASCAR is Big Business
With over 75 million American fanatics, NASCAR is the most prominent auto racing sport with races being broadcast in over 150 countries worldwide.
NASCAR stadiums have a massive capacity of 170,000 spectators, and the sport often holds the large majority of the top 20 attended single-day sporting events on an annual basis.
Purchases of licensed products by its fans amount to revenue of over $3 billion annually. For a sport with such humble beginnings, its popularity has become quite immense.
7 – What’s With All the Flags?
To control a NASCAR race, eight different flags are utilized by the officials. The white flag (which signifies on lap remaining in the race) is the only flag which is shown just once.
8 – Dale Earnhardt’s, Sr. Lasting Legacy
In 2001, NASCAR started a requirement where drivers must wear head and neck restraints. There has not been one driver who has died since this rule was put into effect. The rule requirement was prompted by the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. In the 2001 Daytona 500.
9 – Not Like Your Regular Car
A race car will utilize three times more motor oil than a regular passenger automobile. Also, their radiators only use water. A NASCAR race car has a paint job which consists of vinyl stickers being applied with the use of a tool similar to a hair dryer.
10 – Biggest Race of the Season
The biggest NASCAR race of the year is the Daytona 500, which is also the first of the season, as well as being the most recognizable name for even casual fans of the sport.
11 – Origins of NASCAR
In 1947, NASCAR was started by Bill France, Sr. Of Daytona Beach, FL during a meeting at a hotel. The points system which was devised was written on a barroom napkin.
On June 19, 1949, the first-ever NASCAR race was held at Charlotte Speedway (a ¾ mile dirt track) in Charlotte, NC. The race was won by Jim Roper after another driver, Glenn Dunnaway was kicked out of the race due to altering his rear springs.
12 – American Sedans
NASCAR race cars are designed to resemble an American sedan and are equipped with fenders. The vehicles are required to have three stock parts from the manufacturer, with the roof, the hood and the trunk lid considered standard.
13 – Legendary Racer and Inventory Richard Petty
Having won 200 NASCAR races and seven stock car championships in his career, Richard Petty is widely known as the top driver of all time. This legendary race car driver also invented the window net which keeps the arms of drivers within the vehicle, avoiding an injury during a crash.
14 – As Luck Would Have It
Michael Waltrip started a record 463 NASCAR races without earning a victory. He broke his streak of bad luck when he won the 2001 Daytona 500, a race mired in tragedy.
15 – First Woman Racer
Janet Guthrie was the first ever woman to compete in a Winston Cup race in 1976, finishing 15th in the World 600 race.
16 – A Television First
The 1979 Daytona 500 became the first 500-mile auto race to be televised live and in its entirety.