The Physics of Nascar: The Science Behind the Speed Info

Search for the best titles on Engineering & Transportation Books - Community Reviews Looking to download Diandra Leslie-Pelecky,Ray Evernham books or find out what readers have to say about The Physics of Nascar: The Science Behind the Speed? Bellow you will find over 4.13 reviews from readers like you. Read&Download The Physics of Nascar: The Science Behind the Speed by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky,Ray Evernham Online


A physicist explores the science of speed racing and the
#1 spectator sport in America in the perfect gift for both
NASCAR and science fans. 

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 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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
review-bg

4.13

192 Ratings

5

4

3

2

1


Ratings and Reviews From Market


client-img 4.5
42
9
2
3
2
client-img 3.76
42
50
31
2
1

Reviews for The Physics of Nascar: The Science Behind the Speed:

5

Sep 06, 2008

All NASCAR haters should read this before they say another word about it. Does a great job in explaining the workings of the gas combustion engine, but if you want more, delves into the (as the title states) the physics of the race car.
3

Apr 11, 2010

A physicist hangs out with NASCAR racing groups and explains in simple language the physics, with some chemistry too, of how materials bend and break, how gas combusts, what happens in a crash, and so on.
3

Jan 17, 2009

Fun read! More NASCAR than physics I thought. The physics is *very* basic but considering the target audience that is wholly appropriate. I really was amazed at how complex the "sport" of NASCAR is. It's more a science and engineering sport than a driving sport.
5

Jan 13, 2011

This book was absolutely amazing. I love NASCAR, and this book made me appreciate and love the sport even more.
5

Jan 20, 2011

A great book for any NASCAR fan. Might be a little over some peoples head. But a great book for any NASCAR fan. I have read it probably 5 times and love it every time.
5

Jan 26, 2010

This is a great book if you're a NASCAR fan and if you're a novice fan it will teach you a ton.
3

Jun 25, 2008

I grabbed this book hoping to learn a little more about the physics involved in NASCAR. This book reads more like a textbook than I hoped it would, but there were still enough cool things mentioned that I enjoyed reading it. I don't know how much of this I will retain (hence the textbook mention), but the science geek buried deep within enjoyed the learning experience.
0

Feb 18, 2011

Pretty technical and detailed, but a good read. Offers insights into aerodynamics, safety and car design. The detail about molecular structures of tire compounds and steel tubing was a bit much. But...
3

Jan 25, 2009

Got about halfway through and had to return it to the library. Learned more about torque, carbon fiber and valves though! A good introduction to some of the fascinating science of racecar construction.
0

Jan 01, 2014

The book was very informant.It explained how all the science gets put into the cars to make them faster and more aerodynamic. it was interesting because i like cars and learning about them. The book had alot of information in it. i'd recommend it for someone who enjoys cars and nascar.
5

Jun 04, 2015

For all you Nascar fans out there you would love this book because it shows and tell you how all the nascar cars would work and race with all the techniques and here it comes SCIENCE!!!!!.

everyone who likes cars and automobile racing would bassically love this book.
0

Jul 25, 2011

This is a good intro to the major facets of the car and what the teams do to try and make them go faster, however just when it starts getting interesting, that's the end of the chapter. I wanted more detail.
4

Jan 22, 2009


Even though I'm not much into the current NASCAR racing compared to the '60's & '70's, the author being a physicist gives good simple explanations on why certain materials are used and why things do what they do. Very informative on why certain materials absorb heat & energy better than others. Good Christmas present.
5

Oct 07, 2012

I gave this a 5, just because of how much I enjoyed reading the book. I thought she did a great job of blending history, science, and racing anecdotes. In some places, I would have liked a more in-depth discussion of the science in question. I felt like some of the explanations were thrown in almost as teasers. But, overall, I thought it was a great book.
3

Jul 08, 2008

I initially bought this book for my dad, who is teaches high school physics and loves fixing up cars and watching racing. I bought myself a copy, too, and found it was the perfect accessory for a race fan like myself: someone who is into racing for the sheer enjoyment of it, but also has a dorky science side and is fascinated by everything that goes into racing. Good read!
0

Feb 26, 2009

This book The Physics of NASCAR BY Diandra Leslie-Pelecky is a good book and as far as i know shes a new author. This book takes place in race shops all across the us from the famous well know Hendrick motorsports to Roush racing. The central character in the story is coming from an average person learning the basics behind nascar. Screaming, cheering, smiling nascar fans this is a book for you, it tells all about nascar what more do you need. This book in my opinion is a great book.
3

Nov 02, 2015

This book "The Physics of NASCAR" by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky is an okay book. Why I say this book is okay is because it is just boring to the guy that knows all the things that make a car go and stay together. The book does go into depth about the frame and skin of the race cars, the engines and how they little modifications to go faster, and how they keep the drivers and fans alive.
So overall this book is okay.
5

Oct 26, 2015

This book pretty much grabbed my attention when I saw the word NASCAR. Do not be afraid of the word physics, because it is not hard to understand. When it says physics it is talking about how everything works. It was a hard book to put down, if you already like NASCAR or not. If you do not already like it then this book may get you into the sport (and yes it is a sport like it or not). It will teach you about how the tracks are setup, how much horsepower is in the cars, and how they put that This book pretty much grabbed my attention when I saw the word NASCAR. Do not be afraid of the word physics, because it is not hard to understand. When it says physics it is talking about how everything works. It was a hard book to put down, if you already like NASCAR or not. If you do not already like it then this book may get you into the sport (and yes it is a sport like it or not). It will teach you about how the tracks are setup, how much horsepower is in the cars, and how they put that much power into the cars with very little engine mods. My personal favorite part was about the tracks because I knew how banking helps with turning faster but I had no clue how much it helped and how much planning they have to put into making the tracks alone. ...more
4

Aug 25, 2008

This is a really fine book for getting a racing enthusiast interested in the science and engineering behind the scenes of the most popular racing series in the United States. The author, a physics professor at University of Texas at Dallas, covers a wide range of subject matter, from the stock car's structure and engine to its paint job, from car set-up to the race-day decisions necessary to win at the highest levels of the sport. She explains everything with extremely clear prose, and provides This is a really fine book for getting a racing enthusiast interested in the science and engineering behind the scenes of the most popular racing series in the United States. The author, a physics professor at University of Texas at Dallas, covers a wide range of subject matter, from the stock car's structure and engine to its paint job, from car set-up to the race-day decisions necessary to win at the highest levels of the sport. She explains everything with extremely clear prose, and provides many analogies to illustrate the topics discussed. Dr. Leslie-Pelecky points out that success on the track comes from a combination of astute application of scientific and engineering principles, a good team and crew operating from the auto shops to the pits, and a skilled driver. ...more
3

Feb 18, 2008

I'm not a NASCAR fan at all but I bought this book for a friend who is and decided to read it myself before giving it to him. Despite not knowing anything about cars or the sport itself, I actually found this fairly interesting. It deals with a ton of basic physics principles (motion, the visible spectrum, light refraction, combustion, etc.) as well as more NASCAR-specific issues like "slip", torque and octane levels in gasoline. The author addresses every aspect of the race car - from the paint I'm not a NASCAR fan at all but I bought this book for a friend who is and decided to read it myself before giving it to him. Despite not knowing anything about cars or the sport itself, I actually found this fairly interesting. It deals with a ton of basic physics principles (motion, the visible spectrum, light refraction, combustion, etc.) as well as more NASCAR-specific issues like "slip", torque and octane levels in gasoline. The author addresses every aspect of the race car - from the paint to the engine - while pointing out the ways in which NASCAR engineers can tweak the cars for optimal performance. She also tags along with the #19 team in order to provide an inside look at how these guys do what they do. I can't say this will make it anymore interesting for me to watch, but I definitely have a greater appreciation for all of the work that goes into making one of these machines. ...more
4

Aug 04, 2016

Leslie-Pelecky mixes simple physics with complex engineering, with a smattering of chemistry and biology, topped off with some information about how NASCAR works. Having never been involved with racing as a fan (but very involved with physics growing up) I found the actual science to be very polarizing. At times, processes could be boiled down to simple explanations, but at other times, when complex systems were explained in detail, I felt lost. There was limited connection between those poles. Leslie-Pelecky mixes simple physics with complex engineering, with a smattering of chemistry and biology, topped off with some information about how NASCAR works. Having never been involved with racing as a fan (but very involved with physics growing up) I found the actual science to be very polarizing. At times, processes could be boiled down to simple explanations, but at other times, when complex systems were explained in detail, I felt lost. There was limited connection between those poles. I was either reading about how atomic bonds act like microscopic springs, or I was given a detailed description of how the suspension is adjusted within each individual wheel. The text would definitely benefit from practical, hands-on knowledge if NASCAR cars. That being said, what Leslie-Pelecky brings to NASCAR is an interesting insight, especially to those who have no prior experience. It's a jumping off point for someone who wants to know more about racing on either a technical or spectatorial (not a word) level. ...more
2

Jan 12, 2009

Judy, do NOT roll your eyes! Adam gave me this book for Christmas, and I am always trying to learn something new about NASCAR racing. There was a lot to learn from this book, but, unfortunately, a lot of it went over my head---engine works, octanes, general combustion issues, air flow, etc.---or in one ear and out the other. The author is a scientist, so she tended toward charts and graphs: if the power went this way, the torque went this other way. What I more needed were drawings of how the Judy, do NOT roll your eyes! Adam gave me this book for Christmas, and I am always trying to learn something new about NASCAR racing. There was a lot to learn from this book, but, unfortunately, a lot of it went over my head---engine works, octanes, general combustion issues, air flow, etc.---or in one ear and out the other. The author is a scientist, so she tended toward charts and graphs: if the power went this way, the torque went this other way. What I more needed were drawings of how the car was put together. She verbally explained, but I needed pictures. LOTS of pictures. However, it was all very interesting, and I did learn a lot. Did you know that race cars carry 22 quarts of oil? It's in a tank behind the driver. Therefore, there's no oilpan under the engine, so the engine can sit lower in the car for a lower center of gravity. Do you know why they use the peel-offs on the windshield? Because the windshields are made of Lexan, which scratches very easily. The peel-offs are made of a form of PET plastic and protect the windshield, as well as making pit stops easier because they don't have to wash the windshield. Each one cuts the light a little bit, so, as the pit stops go by and the layers are peeled off, the driver has more light. This works well in races that start in the sun and end under the lights. So there! ...more
0

Dec 02, 2011

My review

A few Saturdays ago I was sitting in the library while my boys were deciding on which books to check out when I saw this book in a science display. After leafing through a few pages I thought it might be a fun read (something I needed) and checked out the book.

Over forty-six years ago, Tom Wolfe wrote about the attraction stockcar racing held for its fans. In a couple of places in the article, Wolfe describes some of the intuition and seat-of-the-pants experimentation by drivers and My review

A few Saturdays ago I was sitting in the library while my boys were deciding on which books to check out when I saw this book in a science display. After leafing through a few pages I thought it might be a fun read (something I needed) and checked out the book.

Over forty-six years ago, Tom Wolfe wrote about the attraction stockcar racing held for its fans. In a couple of places in the article, Wolfe describes some of the intuition and seat-of-the-pants experimentation by drivers and their crews to gain an edge. In-depth scientific and engineering studies have replaced the haphazard approach in order to improve every aspect of a racecar. Leslie-Pelecky, a professor of physics at the University of Texas at Dallas, breaks down the science behind why NASCAR and race teams do what they do.

The book begins with concentrated looks at various components that come into play in racing—many of the concepts and particulars will already be familiar to anyone that has watched more than one race or has taken chemistry and physics classes. The level of expertise and prodigious amount of work that crews do off the track is impressive and several topics get down to the atomic and molecular level. When Leslie-Pelecky moves the story to the track for practice, qualifying and a race, the book comes alive and shows how all the parts work together (or often don’t). Like many fans of the sport, she realizes she has gone from objective observer to a member of the race team she follows.

With so many standardized and regulated features on the cars, small changes in the dimensions crews have freedom to vary can make a big difference. In addition to covering many topics on how to increase speed, the book also has several chapters on the evolution of safety features of the car and the track. After all the precise measurement and exact preparation for a race, though, deciding factors in a race can boil down to instinct, experience, and luck. As Leslie-Pelecky points out (usually in looking at different materials but it applies to almost every aspect) every choice comes with a trade-off, something being sacrificed in order to improve another area.

My only real complaint is that I wish several of the topics had been more in depth. Fortunately Leslie-Pelecky has set up a website that provides additional information on topics not included in the book as well as links to educational material and videos.

Overall a fun read that explains the physics and chemistry in relatively easy terms. And if it makes it sound like I know what I’m talking about when the boys ask a question about racing, so much the better. ...more
3

Jun 21, 2008

I am not a racing fan. Believe it or not, my interest in racing stems from bicyle racing. I worked with a competitive cyclist; through him, we spoke about techniques in bike racing and how it isn't merely an issue of go fastest for the longest time. I was thus primed.

Because of my son, my wife and I had many viewings of the movie Cars. While my son also tells us to fast forward to the good parts (no character development for him! He just wants to see the two races in the movie!). Rather than I am not a racing fan. Believe it or not, my interest in racing stems from bicyle racing. I worked with a competitive cyclist; through him, we spoke about techniques in bike racing and how it isn't merely an issue of go fastest for the longest time. I was thus primed.

Because of my son, my wife and I had many viewings of the movie Cars. While my son also tells us to fast forward to the good parts (no character development for him! He just wants to see the two races in the movie!). Rather than developing a macabre fascination with the crashes, I did wonder more about the racing. The only strategy I knew of was drafting; clearly, engineering principles must come into play on actually building the race car. Thus, I did become interested in the technology of racing. Luckily, someone had already done the legwork for me.

The Physics of NASCAR centers on the technologies that enable cars to run 500 miles at high speeds. Dr. Leslie-Pelecky organized her book into chapters that describe one major structure of the race car or some bit of physical force that plays a crucial role in enhancing or hindering motion. The chapters that shine, and the ones I was most interested in, are the engineering ones. For a few of the chapters, Dr. Leslie-Pelecky wrote about some basic science (such as electromagnetic radiation, soundwaves, and a little bit on chemical structures.) These are serviceable, of course, and I would say that anyone with a high school science background should recognize the ideas and terms that are discussed.

Since I don't have an engineering or an auto shop background, the remainder of the book was a revelation to me. While I am familiar with the science and engineering principles that Dr. Leslie-Pelecky presents, she interjects a large number of the day-to-day workshop operations that convert an equation or a graph into an actual object.

The simplest example of what I mean is when she described steel. Steel is an alloy; it can be created as easily as having iron and heating it over coal. The longer the iron is kept on the coal, the more carbon incorporates into the iron, turning it into stronger steel. In another example, she describes the creation of shock absorbers for race cars. The stiffer the shock, the better the grip is maintained between the tire and the race track. So how does one make stiff shocks? The main feature of a shock absorber is a piston encased in an oil filled housing. Bumps in the road forces the frame of the car to push against the piston. The piston moves through the oil; how fast the piston moves through the oil depends on how easily the oil can escape from the compressed compartment (the compression of the shock and its "return" can have different rates). The ease of movement is controlled by placing "gaskets" of different flexibility and thickness over escape port holes.

Everything I have described above is fair-game for a digression into the science behind some of the objects. In the case of the shock, she might talk about how there is a trick in finding or constructing a material that has the proper flexibility, strength, and heat-resistance.

Although the science isn't described in-depth, there is still enough to chew on and to aid further investigation. Dr. Leslie-Pelecky also includes her observations of the day-to-day function of a NASCAR garage, but it is only enough for flavor, not a tell-all.

I think this book is well suited for people who do not have an engineering background, but are interested in how science can be translated into cars that go really fast. ...more
2

Nov 15, 2019

Some interesting stuff, but in places the author argument was faulty. Not a lot of physics in it.

Best Books from your Favorite Authors & Publishers

compare-icon compare-icon
Thousands of books

Take your time and choose the perfect book.

review-icon review-icon
Read Reviews

Read ratings and reviews to make sure you are on the right path.

vendor-icon vendor-icon
Multiple Stores

Check price from multiple stores for a better shopping experience.

gift-icon

Enjoy Result