My girlfriend is a huge NASCAR fan but I am not. She’s also nuts about Danica Patrick. What resources does the library have to help me understand what drafting, drag and dirty air are so I can hold a conversation with her during the next race?

That’s a really fun question and the library has lots of resources available for checkout in the sports collection in the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas. The Central Library houses one of the largest collections of sports materials in North Texas.

Physics of NASCAR

If you want to understand the aerodynamics and get under the hood of racing, I suggest picking up The Physics of NASCAR: How to Make Steel + Gas + Rubber = Speed by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky.

To learn what drives Danica to be a winner, read her autobiography Danica: Crossing the Line.Danica: Crossing the Line

For a good overview on NASCAR and its history, check out NASCAR: The Thunder of America a great “pedal to the medal in pursuit of the winner’s circle”.

Also have a look at NASCAR Essential: Everything You Need to Know to be a Real Fan!  by David Poole and Jim McLaurin.

To impress your girlfriend, I recommend that you race on down to the sports collection at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown and sit awhile to see all of the available resources that the library has to offer.

 

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One Response to My girlfriend is a huge NASCAR fan but I am not. She’s also nuts about Danica Patrick. What resources does the library have to help me understand what drafting, drag and dirty air are so I can hold a conversation with her during the next race?

  1. Jose Campana says:

    Answer to Question of the Week:
    Drafting – Drafting is a technique used at high speed (over 100 MPH) whereby the vehicle behind the vehicle ahead gets to within zero to about 10 ft of the lead vehicle. This reduces the drag, a form of air resistance, on both vehicles, allowing them to increase their speed.
    Drag – Drag is simply air resistance. Every part of a moving vehicle encounters drag, however some parts of a vehicle cause more drag than others. For example, a damaged vehicle with part of its bumper misshapen and sticking out to one side or the other will create more drag than it would in its original, designed shape.
    Dirty Air – Dirty air is the opposite of “clean air,” as it is termed. The faster a vehicle is moving, the more air turbulence it creates (which is also an unavoidable form of drag). The greatest areas of air turbulence are those to either side of the vehicle and also just behind it. This is because the vehicle perturbs the air as it moves through it, and most of that air is pushed to both sides and is greatest from a few feet to tens of feet behind the front of the vehicle depending on how fast it is moving and on how aerodynamic the vehicle is. Just behind the moving vehicle the air is at a slightly lower pressure than the atmospheric pressure and it moves in a circular fashion.
    It takes a finite amount of time for this disturbed air to settle down and return to relatively stationary air. Before it has returned to its normal state, the disturbed air is called “dirty air.” Any vehicle that encounters it will experience unpredictable buffeting that causes the vehicle moving through it to move more or less from one side and the other and to move vertically as well. It also reduces the velocity of any vehicle passing through the dirty air.
    By the way, when a vehicle is drafting, it will not encounter any dirty air; it is too close to the car creating it such that the dirty air is behind the vehicle that is drafting.

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