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The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 07:32 AM
I heard parts of an interesting interview today of Dick Johnson... a former leading racing car driver Down Under. He also did a bit of NASCAR driving.

He made some interesting observations. On some tracks, the driver simply can't see the track ahead... and is reliant on the radio and an observer to tell him whether to go low or go high. Visibility on some highly banked tracks can be as little as 30' at times.... and they are going 200 mph.

That's just plain dumb, isn't it?

He said that the driving in NASCAR isn't hard... but that car setup is critical to it all.

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 07:41 AM
On some tracks, the driver simply can't see the track ahead... I think he either mis-spoke or you misunderstood. Its not forward vision, its vision to the sides, especially rear quarter, that's restricted. Its not just a NASCAR phenomenon either its a high speed oval thing. Indy and Champ car drivers were the first to use spotters.

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 07:44 AM
I don't think so Paul. This is the link to the audio... but its a one hour interview...

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/05/12/2897423.htm?site=brisbane&microsite=conversations&section=latest

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 07:47 AM
I just opened the audio file. The bit in question is near the end... just after the 4 minutes to go bit. He says that when you go from the 33 degree banking onto the flat, you can only see 20 metres ahead of you.... and that you need to be looking through the sunroof in order to see ahead of you. Worth listening to.

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 07:53 AM
here's a good video, its a little old, but the camera's at driver head height and the racing hasn't changed much at Talladega. Talladega is NASCAR"S fastest track and the track with the highest banking. You can see several hundred feet ahead. You'll notice you can actually see better in the banking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUX_bvgn-CI

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 07:57 AM
That Jeff Gordon vision is fine. I dunno... just going on what he said. I met him (DJ) years back.. in the airport club after the '89 F1 GP in Adelaide.

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 08:00 AM
He said that the driving in NASCAR isn't hard... but that car setup is critical to it all.I think your probably right... wonder why former Indy champion, F1 champion, Le Mans winner, Jaun Pablo Montoya hasn't won a NASCAR race yet. Or how's come y'all best 'stock car driver' Marcos Ambros average finish in NASCAR is 21st. Or Dick Johnson's best finish was 22nd in a NASCAR race???

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 08:02 AM
FWIW, I really like Ambrose, I hope he breaks out here.

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 08:10 AM
Hasn't he won a race or two? Or am I thinking about Briscoe in some other car?

marshcat
05-12-2010, 08:12 AM
For my 40th birthday my wife gave me 8 laps at the Richmond VA NASCAR track (RIR), which is 3/4 mile, and not very steep banks.

My average speed over 8 laps was 107 MPH. I did not feel at all like my sight was restricted, although there were only three other cars on the track.

On that track you spend most of your time in turns. I could easily look ahead into the turns, and across the track to see what was going on on the other side.

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 08:13 AM
Briscoe 'pilots' open wheelers over here. :D

http://www.paddocktalk.com/news/html/images/ptalk/05/chicagoland/pt-briscoe-contact-2.jpg

http://www.paddocktalk.com/news/html/images/ptalk/05/chicagoland/pt-briscoe-contact-3.jpg

http://www.paddocktalk.com/news/html/images/ptalk/05/chicagoland/pt-briscoe-contact-4.jpg

He's had a checkered career.

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 08:14 AM
Hmmm.... speaking of 107 mph.... I just downloaded a long GPS track on a public road.... :D It was not 107 mph. :D:D

Cuyahoga Chuck
05-12-2010, 08:27 AM
I just opened the audio file. The bit in question is near the end... just after the 4 minutes to go bit. He says that when you go from the 33 degree banking onto the flat, you can only see 20 metres ahead of you.... and that you need to be looking through the sunroof in order to see ahead of you. Worth listening to.

I'm trying to visualize why this would be the case and the only thing I can come up with is that in traffic, which there is a lot of in NASCAR, you are looking at the backside of other cars most of the time. It has to do with the "cookie-cutter" ( or 'biscuit cutter" if you prefer) nature of the cars. The rules are such that cars seldom get spread out.
There is also the possibility that there might be a change of elevation, i/e. going downhill, when transitioning from the high banks to the straights.
There are only a few "hig-bank" tracks. The only one I am familiar with is Daytona which I visited for Bike Week. The banking is so severe on the turns you are, essentially, looking down on the rider. If it wasn't for the shadow cast the bike and rider would be difficult to see from a distance.

marshcat
05-12-2010, 08:37 AM
Yes, I have gone considerably faster than 107 on public roads as well. However, as an average speed, driving on what is basically a 3/4 mile rectangle, in a 600 HP 4 speed that I had never set foot in before that day, I was happy with that average.

They limit your speed with a pace car, and the guy was waving me off the whole time. They said afterwards that if your pace car driver did not wave you off, you were not pushing the limit.

It was funny because all the other 'drivers' that day came in big shiny pickups, and had slick sunglasses and race themed clothing. I arrived in my Volvo wagon in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, but still had the fastest average speed.

Breakaway
05-12-2010, 08:49 AM
I've gone to several racing camps (Bertil Roos and Skip Barber) and can say , from a total amateurs POV anyway, you end up driving one car at a time; that is, you do your best not to trade paint with the car in front of you, look for an opening, then pass him. Then its the next car. And so on.

Simultaneously, though you are trying to "look far into the turns." All the instructors constantly stress that the car will go where you look, so dont eyeball the line, instead look as far into the turn as you can. Its an interesting dynamic.

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 09:03 AM
Yeah.... I do a track day once a year (road racing track, not an oval)... and its amazing how silent the young guys are when the oldest bloke there goes fastest :D:D ... in a pretty much standard car

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 09:20 AM
when the oldest bloke there goes fastest :D:D ... in a pretty much standard carthey probably just stay out of your way figuring you ain't got much to lose;):D:p

The Bigfella
05-12-2010, 04:56 PM
they probably just stay out of your way figuring you ain't got much to lose;):D:p


Nah... they try real hard. :D


Fastest times aren't recorded when there's two cars dueling though. A clear track, warmed up car, tyres not over-heated.... and away you go.

Mrleft8
05-12-2010, 06:07 PM
There's a reason that thinking people call it "ASSCAR"...... :rolleyes:

switters
05-12-2010, 07:23 PM
I bought the fiances son a Jeff Gordon jersey today in the airport in Columbia.

rufustr
05-12-2010, 07:41 PM
The theory that the car goes where you look is fact, it does.

Concentration must be absolute as well.

Here is a link to a video showing what happens when you get distracted.

Caution, bad language warning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MleuPXWotcI& (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MleuPXWotcI&feature=player_embedded)
feature=player_embedded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MleuPXWotcI&feature=player_embedded)

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 07:57 PM
ouch

Peter Malcolm Jardine
05-12-2010, 08:04 PM
A.J Foyt was asked by french reporters before his debut at LeMans whether he felt he could win there, he replied, "Hell, it's just a little old bit of country road" .
:D

redeye1962
05-12-2010, 09:00 PM
I have driven on all of the nascar tracks and have seen just fine.......................ok on a computer game.:D If you guys ever have the chance to drive a nascar do it. It is quite an experience.