Although we make every effort to cover our own transportation costs, NASCAR arrived in Orlando for two nights in the hotel.
Daytona 500 is the opening season of the NASCAR, as well as the largest race of the series. Maintained on the track just a bit from the beach in Florida, where the series got its start, a 200-lap, 500-mile test of endurance for the car, the driver and the team. (And depending on when they started the party, for fans.) I've had quite a lot of endurance races at this point, although there are some differences between the NASCAR race and your average long-distance sportscar event, I figured the basics would still be used. For example, as well as driver training.
"This is a challenging challenge, especially since it's the first race of the year: it's easy not to be in the best shape, getting away from the holidays. Being a driver of a racing car on a light day when it's not too hot when the tires are working. When everything is smooth, it's not a super-complexity. "But there are very few easy days," explained Brad Keselowski, who is competing for the Penske team in Car 2. "Daytona is a long race, of course in the weather it's much warmer than anywhere else so you're not acclimatized. And this is the race limiter plate so cars are grouped, you can not just drive in the distance. There are a lot of worries because it's like the first day of school.
Installing a car for Daytona is an aerodynamic optimization. "It's about how much stability you build in a car and where you have your attitude. If your back car is really truncated, it has no inherent stability because there is no clamping force. As soon as you start to bring the car back, now you have some stability, the car has some air load and can stay planted a little better, "said Travis Geisler, Team Penske NASCAR Competition Director. With each car limited to 400 horsepower (300kW), a compromise between the air that works for you, as coercion The power and the air working against you are like dragging and the teams can be overtaken by their competitors.
"Here, where it is wide open and the track is pretty smooth, you can become quite aggressive," Geysler said. Back at the racing shop, engineers will "replay" the track's knees on the car up to the seven-post measure of the actual tire change of the contact patches. "This is a load on the bus on the track on the track. If you get too tight at everything, the tire loses contact and you start to wash the racing track [understeering] .This becomes your limit in many places.If it does not bounce then the driver simply has to to cope with this, – explained Geysler.
For as much as there is similarity, the Daytona 500 is very different to events like the Rolex 24 or Petit Le Mans, or even the Indy 500, especially on the race weekend. "There is a big difference between our IMSA teams and the Indycar teams and our NASCAR teams at this location. They all have full telemetric information about cars during races, they can measure everything that they can, they can run it through their simulations and We basically have a person for feedback, "said Geysler." At this point you have to listen to them, and the simulation is close, but it's not a reality. "
"This is what separates many NASCAR drivers from many other racing styles where you really need to be in harmony with your car and have a reverse link that makes the car faster," Geysler told us. "It's one thing for the driver to say:" Hey, I'm too free on leaving the fourth turn, you have to work on it. "But if we fix it and you go slower, you do not realize that your limit was speed, you went from a comfort level. Drivers should learn to combine these things because their level of comfort and speed of the car may not be the same Ideally, they are the perfect car when they're happy and quick-but in a place like this it's unlikely to be the case. "Why they get an extra comma on their salary .
Despite the fact that this is a long race, the driver of comfort plays the second fiddle to the knee of time t. – There "men the headquarters is in need "and" I can not manage this territory, and you can say in their voice when it reaches a certain point, "Geisler explained." Ultimately, the quality of the flight is really beginning to worsen the performance of the car 10 , 15, 20 runs in running, because the tire grip is just as bad [by then]. "
This does not mean that the driver's comfort is not important in this current NASCAR era. Keselowski thinks this is the area where he saw the most change as driver over the past decade. "One of the biggest changes was the driver's seat and how you are positioned in the car. We now have lightweight carbon fiber seats, my body is being tested, and then special molded foam pads are made of scans." The material is very light, very nice, "he told me. Even the safety belts are made to order for each driver. "Now they are sewn and made perfectly for my body – I even have another kit for when I weigh more than 4-5 pounds than now," said Keselovsky.
The degree of this drug extends even to the weather. "The key is to understand what's going on in this direction: there's a lot going on in the car and a lot of preparations for the race. Cars should be ready two weeks before the more teams can understand the state of the tracks and weather conditions, the better they can compete, "said Pat Suhy, manager for General Motors. NASCAR
GM worked with IBM Weather Company to provide its racing teams (IndyCar, IMSA, NASCAR) as accurately as possible. "On the eve of the event, you begin to get an idea of the weather to prepare a car, a book. On the track, the key is the confidence in the tools we provided to the commands. Our teams find it hard to stick to that data, since our teams received data and they We continue to improve – we are in the middle of the trip – as we get racial outings, they see that the data is good and they pay attention. "
" We share training in the main Chevrolet teams. No one solves the secrets of speed, but when one team develops have confidence, it helps others, "- said Byron MakMikel, Senior meteorologist and IBM. Data comes from more than 100,000 meteorological stations before they fall into one of IBM's AI systems, with new forecasts that are suppressed every 15 minutes. "There is a lot of AI and machine learning involved in the forecast, which was a very interesting journey, because you do not understand how much weather affects the race – you always think about precipitation, but not about all other aspects of the weather that affects the race." The only there are the ability to produce forecasts with such a high degree of precision because of the amount of data we can feed the AI from, "McMichael said.
What counts as perfect weather for a cup car, I wondered?" A cool sunny day with some warmth in a sunshine and cold track air for the engine. The overall beautiful bright sunny day is ideal. Super-hot, super-sunny day generates the best competition as cars start to slip, "Dry explained.
Jerry Markland | Getty Images
Unfortunately, for most competitors, this level of training is often considered to be zero. The 61st race of Daytona 500 was for the first 190 laps measured, even boring, the biggest drama – three car accidents, as some of the fields were part of the pit lane. Then, with 95 percent of the completed distance, it seemed that the brain, not the tires that were fading. As the race was restarted from the caution period (rendered by Keselowski suffering from puncture), the massive 21-car pileup ensued, Matt DiBenedetto # 95 started. The race was red, which allowed breaking the crash – everything was just broken, and for the current car, the Gen6 is an extremely safe rider .
After a long delay, the race was restarted, with a pair of rounds under the safety car to get everyone settled in front of the green flag. When the green waved with six rounds to go, we got a different accident – this one including six more cars. Cue car security, then another restart and … yep, another big accident, this time it is enough to bring the red flag for the second time. (Maybe Daytona 500 was jealous of Rolex 24, who also saw unprecedented two red flags this year?) When things finally got going for the last time, Denny Hamlin # 11 managed to avoid hitting anything for two rounds and he took to win. In fact, on the map of the flag, only the cars – from field 40, the mind – were intact.
I believe that the moral of this story is that if you want to be at the front, you have to put all this time and effort in preparation. But that's all for nothing, if you fall into someone else's crash with 20 miles to go.