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Racin Lingo

Know your ABC's of Racing from Racinbabes.com 

Race Tutor 101

A

Adjustments – The changes made to the racecar, by the race team, in order to attempt to improve performance to the car.

AERO Push – A decreased turning capability, mainly upon exiting the turns of the track, caused by the way the air flows from one racecar to another closely behind it, which reduces the downforce at the front on the following car.

Aerodynamics – In racing, the way in which air flows around and under the moving racecar to affect the pressure and resistance of the car.

Air Dam –The metal strip hanging underneath the front grill of the racecar, a few inches from the ground, that gives the car aerodynamic downforce by directing faster moving air near the front to improve the way the car handles.

A-Post – A post that runs from the bottom of the windshield to the roofline on both sides in the front of the racecar.

Air Pressure – The pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure of air in a tire. Drivers often use increases or decreases of tire air pressure during a pit stop as a technique to improve the racecar’s handling and performance.

Apron - The paved part below the yellow line between the race track and the infield.

B

B-Post - A roof support in the center of the racecar.

Back Marker - A racecar that is running at the end of all of the cars.

Banking - The slope of the racetrack measured from the apron to the height of the outside wall at the corners and expressed in degrees.

Bite – The racecars’ tires ability to adhere to the surface of the race track.

Bump Draft - When a car drafts behind another (see "draft") really close and actually pushes the front car. This makes both, or several, cars faster and is mostly done in restrictor plate racing. 

Bodywork – Sheet metal that is fabricated to enclose the chassis of the racecar and is checked carefully before each race by NASCAR officials to ensure guidelines and rules are followed.

 

 

C

C-Post – A support post that runs from the top of the deck (trunk) lid to the bottom of the rear window and then to the roofline of the racecar.

 

 

Camber – Tells how many degrees a tire is slanted in (negative degrees) or outward (positive degrees) as opposed to being perpendicular to the track. A single racecar may usually have both positive and negative cambered tires setup during a race depending on the racetrack.

Camshaft -The rotating shaft inside of the engine used to open and close intake and exhaust valves.

Catch Can Man – A member of the pit crew who stands at the left rear of the racecar during the pit stop to collect excess fuel in a specialized container as the fuel cell is being refilled in order to avoid fire hazards from occurring. He is also responsible for raising his hand to signal the crew when refueling is complete.

Caution Flag – The yellow flag displayed by the flagman instructing drivers to slow their speed and follow the pace car, due to unsafe racing conditions on the racetrack.

Chassis – The skeletal racecar frame, which is made from steel.

Checkered Flag - The racing flag displayed by the flagman signaling the end of the last lap of the race, and also known as the winner's flag.

Chute – The straightaway section of a racetrack.

Contact Patch – The section of the tire that touches the racetrack.

Crew Chief - The leader of a race team who is responsible for determining and implementing various changes to the racecar, developing racing strategies, and maintaining radio contact with the driver throughout the race.

D

Deck Lid - A racecar’s trunk lid.

Dialed in – Maximum performance of a racecar. ( or hooked up)

Dirty Air - Intense air current turbulence from fast moving cars that may cause a following racecar to lose control.

DNF - Did Not Finish the race.

DNQ - Did Not Qualify for the race.

Downforce – The combination that centrifugal and aerodynamic forces produce, which creates additional track grip in the turns when increased, but can also decrease the speed of the car, and therefore requires the race team to find an acceptable balance for maximum performance of the racecar.

Draft – The lowered resistance of fast moving air between racecars following directly behind one another.

 

 

Drafting – A racing technique of racecars following directly behind one another in order to pull the following cars along with the racecar in front of the others.

Drag – The resistance created on the racecar by the air moving in the opposite direction of the car’s movement.

Duct Tape – A strong, silver or colored reinforced tape often used by pit crews to quickly repair sheet metal on a racecar after an accident.

DYNO – The computerized device (dynamometer), which is used to measure the horsepower of an engine.

E

Engine Block -The iron casting that houses the pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft.

 

 

Equalized – When the higher air pressure of the inner tire liner is lost, the pressure then becomes equal to that of the outer tire which creates a vibration of the racecar.

F

Fabricator – The specialist who works with sheet metal to create the body of the racecar.

Fire Extinguisher – Is located within the driver’s reach in every racecar, as per NASCAR rules.

Firewalls – The solid walls of metal used to separate the driver’s compartment from the racecar’s engine compartment and from the fuel cell compartment.

Fishtail – The act of the rear of the racecar swinging outward.

Flagman - The person who stands in the flag stand and displays the various racing flags during a race.

Flag Stand – An elevated stand located directly above the starting line where the flagman displays the racing flags of different colors to signal the drivers as to the progression of the race.

Front Clip – The front of the racecar from the firewall forward, which includes the engine, steering, electrical, cooling, braking and suspension systems.

Fuel Cell – The gas holding tank of the racecar, which is a metal box with foam baffling and a tear-resistant, specialized bladder designed to decrease spilling of gas therefore reducing fire risk.

G

Green Flag - The racing flag displayed by the flagman which signals the drivers to start racing.

Greenhouse – The entire inside top section of the racecar from the bottom of all windows to the roof.

Groove – The preferred, best, fastest, or most popular path (low groove or high groove) around the racetrack for a given driver.

H

Happy Hour – The final official practice time for racecars on the track before the race.

Handling – The feel of the performance of the racecar by the driver.

Head Wrench – The crew chief of a race team.

Horsepower – The measurement used to determine how much engine power is needed for 33,000 pounds to move one foot in one minute.

Hung Out to Dry - A driver whose car becomes separated from the rest of the line of race cars and falls back through the rank.

I

Interval – The seconds or car lengths between racecars during the race.

J

Jack Post
- Jacking point on car

Just one-of-them-deals – The phrase used often in interviews by racecar drivers concerning the problems experienced during the race.

K

Know - As in know how to talk the talk, Racinbabes.

L

Lap - One trip around the racetrack.

Lapped Cars, Lapped Traffic - All racecars, not running on the lead lap, that are one or more laps down or behind the leader of the race.

Loose – The effect of the racecar tending to fishtail or slide near the turns of the race track due to a loss of tire grip or traction with the track, often resulting in a feeling of loss of control of the car to the driver.

Lead Lap – The current lap of the first place racecar during the race.

Line - Groove

Lug Nuts – The five large nuts, attached to each wheel of the racecar with an air wrench, that hold the tire on the car. A penalty is incurred from NASCAR if the pit crew tire changer fails to replace all five lug nuts during a pit stop.

M

Marbles – Pieces of rubber, pebbles, or sand  which collect toward the top or bottom of a race track and can cause the racecar to lose traction and control.

N

Neutral – A driver’s term used to tell how the racecar is handling, not too tight or loose.

O

Off the Pace – A racecar that is unable to keep up with the speed of the other cars in the field due to mechanical problems, but is trying to gain laps and finish the race and may be black-flagged and asked to leave the racetrack due to safety precautions.

Oversteer – fishtailing or loose.

Over the Wall Crew – pit crew.

P

Pace Car – A designated vehicle which leads the field of racecars around the track at 35 – 55 mph (pit road speed depending on the track) before the race begins and during cautions.

Pit Box – The assigned area on pit road, determined by qualifying, where each racecar stops for service by the pit crew. The pole winner of each race has first choice of which pit box he wants.

Pit Crew – The seven members of a race team, consisting of the Front Tire Carrier, Front Tire Changer, Rear Tire Carrier, Rear Tire Changer, Jack Man, Gas Man, and Catch Can Man, who go over the pit wall in order to service the racecar during a pit stop.

Pit Road – The road leading off of the racetrack to the drivers’ pit boxes where the racecars are serviced during pit stops.

Pit Road Penalties - Penalties incurred by the driver or race team for unacceptable occurances on pit road, such as loss of a lap due to speeding or a tire rolling out of the team's pit box.

Pit Road Speed – The speed limit of 35 to 55 mph for racecars on pit road enforced in order to increase safety precautions for the pit crewmembers.

Pit Stall – The assigned area, separated from the pit box by the pit wall, used by the race team to view the race and store their equipment needed during the race.

Pit Stop - The act of the driver bringing the racecar off of the track during the race, down pit road and stopping in the pit box to get new tires, gas, and have the car serviced by the pit crew.

Pit Wall – The wall, usually concrete, which separates the pit stalls from the pit boxes, and is used by the pit crew to crouch upon and jump off of to begin a pit stop.

Pole Sitter or Pole Winner – The driver who has the fastest racecar during qualifying, or the most points if qualifying is canceled, gets to be first starting the race; and wins additional bonus money.

Provisional – A guaranteed starting position (positions 39 – 43) in the race given to regular race teams, which did not qualify in the top 38, based on the amount of owners points. The 43rd starting position is reserved and used for any past active champion who does not qualify, if needed.

Push – The act of the racecar’s front tires loosing grip with the racetrack, therefore causing the front part of the car to push up toward the wall.
Pyrometer – A device able to measure very hot temperatures that is used to determine and display the temperature of the tires on a racecar.

Q

Qualifying - see Time Trials

Quarter Panels – The pieces of sheet metal on either side of the racecar located around the tire area.

R

RacinBabe – Any age female who loves NASCAR* racing.

Rear Clip - The part of the racecar from the back windshield to the rear bumper, which houses the rear suspension system and the fuel cell.

Red Flag – A racing flag displayed by the Flagman signaling all drivers to stop on the racetrack due to unsafe conditions or rain.

Restart - The display of the green flag after a caution period has ended.

Restrictor Plate – A thin aluminum plate with four holes, each about the size of a quarter, which is attached between the engine and the carburetor to restrict airflow, in order to reduce horsepower and speed during races at certain racetracks. After teams receive a plate from an official during inspection, the plate is inserted and the engine is then sealed with a NASCAR seal to prevent tampering after the inspection is complete.

Ride Height – The distance from the bottom of the racecar frame to the racetrack.

Road Courses - Racetracks which have both left and right turns at various angles.

Roll Cage – The roll bars, made of steel tubing, which form the frame of the racecar body to surround and protect the driver.

Roof Flaps – The flat metal, rectangular pieces attached to the roof on a racecar, which pop up when the car moves sideways or backwards to assist the car from becoming airborne.

Roof Hatch – The trap door located on the roof of the racecar through which a driver can escape after an accident.

Rookie – A driver who is running in the first full season in a particular series.

Round – The amount of change made to the rear wheel spring pressure, to improve the racecar’s handling, by inserting and turning a long wrench into a space above the tires, either counterclockwise to loosen the spring or clockwise to tighten the spring, with one complete turn equal to one round of wedge or bite.

RPM – Revolutions per minute tells how many times the crankshaft is turning during a one-minute period.

Running the High Line - The act of a driver running the race car near the upper edge of the track, especially around the turns, in order to gain momentum and avoid traffic.

Running Wide Open – The act of the driver putting the gas pedal to the metal.

S

Saving Tires – The act of the driver not running the racecar too hard in order to make the tires last longer.

Scuffs – Tires on the racecar that have been roughed up on the racetrack during the one or two laps of practice.

Setup – The manner in which the racecar is fine-tuned before or during qualifying, practice and the race at a specific race track for best handling and fastest speed.

Shock Absorbers – The hydraulic cylinders attached to the wheels of the racecar, which help the car to travel more smoothly over bumpy areas of the track and regulate the up and down speed of the wheel.

Short Track – A racetrack, which is shorter than one mile long.

Slingshot – The technique used by drivers of using the airflow from the front racecar to propel their car forward and then sharply turn to either side of the front car and shoot through the air to pass the first car.

Splash-and-Go – A pit stop used for a splash of gas only in order to prevent the racecar from running out of fuel during the last laps of the race.

Spoiler - An upright strip of angled metal attached to the entire width of the rear trunk lid, which creates downforce on the racecar and which must meet certain NASCAR standards.

Spotter – The member(s) of a race team who are able to see around the racetrack from their position on top of the grandstands or press box and who notify the driver of the racecar about the clearest path to take for passing other cars and of accidents on the track.

Spring – The spiral, steel coil, which is part of the suspension system, mounted near each wheel of the racecar and is used for smoothness of ride, and height of the car. The Spring Rate of Compression or tension affects the overall handling of the car’s looseness or tightness that is adjusted by inserting or removing spring rubber in the spring, since the actual springs may not be changed during a race. Different springs can be mounted on different wheels of the racecar.

Spring Rubber – A block of rubber that can be inserted between two coils of the spring near each of the tires on a racecar to increase tension or removed to decrease tension in order to tighten or loosen the handling of the car.

Stick – The grip or traction of the racecar tires to the track.

Stickers – New racecar tires, which still have the manufacturer’s sticker attached to them.

Stop-and-Go Penalty – A penalty for speeding or unsafe driving on pit road during which the racecar driver must return to the team’s pit box and remain stopped for one second before rejoining the race field.

Superspeedway – A racetrack that is two miles or more in length.

Suspension – The system beneath the front and rear of the racecar that includes the shock absorbers, springs, track bar, sway bars, steering links, brake rotors, tie rods, and trailing arms connected to the axles and wheels, which is continuously adjusted to gain peak performance of the car.

Swapping Paint, Trading Paint – The act of bumping and rubbing between racecars during the race.

Sway Bars, Anti-roll Bars – The bars attached to the front or rear suspension systems which act to control the weight transferred to springs near the corners of the racecar or how the car rolls from side to side during turns on the track.

T

Templates – A set of large, form-fitting, flat aluminum measuring devices, resembling the factory make of each type of car, and that are placed on different parts of the racecar body during technical inspections to determine that NASCAR specifications are met by each racecar.

Tight – see Push

Time Trials - A day or two before a race, laps are taken around the race track by the drivers of the upcoming race in order to determine who has the fastest timed lap, and therefore the pole position, and to determine the rest of the line order of the drivers for race day. (also known as qualifying)

Tire Carriers – The two members of the pit crew who each carry the new front or rear tires, mounted on the wheels and weighing about 75 pounds each, off of the pit wall to the Tire Changers, roll the used tires toward the pit wall, and may clean the grill on the front of the racecar during a pit stop.

Tire Changers – The two members of the pit crew who each jump off of the pit wall, air gun in hand with knee pads on knees, remove five lug nuts from the tire on the car with the air gun, align the new tire, tighten the lug nuts with the air gun, and rush to the other side of the racecar to repeat the process during a pit stop.

Toe – The amount of alignment of the racecar’s tires turning toward each other, toed-in, or away from each other, toed out, as opposed to in-toe or directly straight, which is crucial for even wear of the tire surface.

Track Bar, Panhard Bar – A bar in the rear suspension system of the racecar, used to keep the rear tires centered within the body, which is attached to the rear axle on one side and the frame on the other side.

Trailing Arm – The rear suspension bar on each side, which allows the axle to move up and down.

Tri-oval – A racetrack with a slight fifth turn usually located in the middle of the frontstretch.

U

Understeer – Push or Tight

V

Valance – The panel extending below the racecar’s front bumper.

Victory Lane, Winner’s Circle – The circular or square fenced in area near pit road of a racetrack where the winning driver takes the winning racecar to celebrate winning the race with the race team, family members, NASCAR officials, and members of the media.

Victory Lap - A customary lap around the racetrack by the winning car after the race has ended, sometimes taken backwards to remember or honor someone.

W

Wedge – See Round

White Flag - The racing flag displayed by the Flagman signaling to the drivers that this is the last lap of the race.

Wind Tunnel - A structure used by race teams to determine the aerodynamic efficiency of their cars. It consists of a platform on which the car is fixed, with a giant fan to create wind currents. It contains electronic equipment to determine how the airflow over the car has an affect on drag and downforce.

Y

Yellow Flag - A racing flag displayed by the flagman used to signal drivers to slow down due to unsafe conditions on the race track.

Yellow Line - A painted yellow line that is used to mark the separation of the racetrack from the apron. In restrictor plate races, NASCAR declares that it is illegal for a car to go below the yellow line or pass another car below the yellow line to gain a track position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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