“They told me it was illegal, I’d have to plead guilty, and they carried it away thinking to themselves that they caught me red-handed. But they didn’t cross check some other things which were even more important.”—Junior Johnson, on cheating.
It will be sad for anyone to think NASCAR is merely about drivers taking left turns around a circle, such a person should think again because there is so much about the sport that goes way deeper than what we see on the surface; it’s beyond taking left turns in a circular motion. Of course, the left turns are a principal part of the race, but the drivers have to take some things into consideration beyond what the general public knows. No doubt, making split-second decisions at high speeds is one of the major skill every NASCAR driver possess to stay alive.
Moreover, there are some hidden but real facts NASCAR bosses would rather we not know to give the sport that pleasant image, we can call it image branding. It’s something every big organization does anyway. We’ll be giving you a full exposé in this article, revealing age long secrets that even die-hard NASCAR fans may not know. Yes! We said it, hidden but real. If you like this post, you can share it with your friends, and share your thoughts in the comment section. Here are the 25 real facts NASCAR bosses don’t want you to know. Hang in there and keep reading. You’ll get real surprised at what you'll see.
One of the biggest deceits NASCAR has been able to pull off for years is making fans believe that the cars in the competition are stock cars, after all the Acronym NASCAR has “Stock Car Auto Racing” in it. True Stock car racing involves racing with car models directly from a showroom, but that isn’t the case with NASCAR.
According to Jacksonville, when they first started, they used a chassis from an automaker and modified it, but these days the racing teams build the cars from scratch themselves. How is that Stock?
The first modernized track that hosted NASCAR race was the Darlington Raceway. The Darlington Raceway is located in Darlington, South Carolina. The Southern 500 that took place in 1950 was held at Darlington Raceway—which translated to the first NASCAR race contest on a paved road.
According to Mydriftfun, before the Southern 500 in 1950 that held on a paved road, the entire NASCAR races held on makeshift dirt tracks. These tracks made it difficult for drivers to compete; accidents were frequent as well because the dirt reduced the visibility of the drivers during the race.
If you plan to become a NASCAR driver, then you must be prepared to go through a ton of rigorous examinations before you are allowed to participate in any race. Drivers go through various tests ranging from drug test to physical or medical tests before they are certified suitable.
However, there is one thing that comes as a surprise to many. According to Jacksonville, drivers aren’t required to have a state driver’s license. Strange right? Oh yes! A NASCAR driver can hit a high speed on the race track but can’t attempt such on a public road.
“The Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing” is what the Daytona 500 has been termed over time. So, it’s safe to refer to it as one of the most exciting and biggest NASCAR racing event of every year.
According to Mydriftfun, with 200 laps around the 2.5 miles race track, a driver’s race would be complete. Moreover, if a driver hasn’t completed 120 laps, he can’t be considered as one that participated in Daytona 500. If the driver goes ahead to win the race, he immediately enters NASCAR’s Hall of Fame.
On February 21, 1948, William Henry Getty France, also known as Big Will, founded NASCAR. Before that time, he was a service station owner and an amateur stock car driver who hailed from Washington D.C. The idea of a unified racing series came to him after he took part in the first stock race which held at Daytona Beach in 1936.
According to the Chicago Tribune, by the time the mid-1940s ended, Big Will was already concluding the underpinning for NASCAR. He failed to get financial backing from the AAA, so he decided to pay the contestants with the earnings from ticket sales.
Since NASCAR’s debut in 1959, the Daytona 500 has been the opening contest for all NASCAR season. There were over 41,000 fans present in the first race which was held in Daytona Beach, where the legend Lee Petty got the victory.
However, before Petty celebrated his victory as a winner officially, it took NASCAR a whole 61 hours to announce him as the winner. According to Factinate, it took a photo to review the finish, so they had to look at a newsreel of the race to identify the winner.
One of the surprising truths about NASCAR is that a second-place contestant of a race could earn more the winner. Oh yes! Are you surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be! The large percent of payouts come from a host of sponsors.
According to Jacksonville, if a racing team has more stickers of sponsors (normally placed behind the front wheel of the car), they would stand a chance to get more bonuses regardless of their position in the race (at least they should be amongst the top ten).
Before a car is fit to enter a race in a NASCAR competition, it has to meet the minimum weight restrictions for driving. Funny right? We share the same thoughts.
According to Jacksonville, if a driver weighs 220 pounds or more, his car must not be less than 3,325 pounds, and if the driver weighs about 139 pounds or less, his car must weigh a minimum of 3,325 pounds. This measure is taken to normalize the playing field so that a driver that has a lightweight doesn’t go faster because he has the advantage of a light car.
If you are looking for the perfect sport to burn all those unwanted calories you’ve been fighting with, then entering NASCAR as a driver would be a great option. According to Mydriftfun, a NASCAR driver loses about five to ten pounds of weight in every race.
The weight loss occurs because the temperature in the car during a race can hit up to 110 to 170 degrees near the ground. With this, a driver can lose about five to ten pounds of weight. To make matters worse, a driver may experience a drop in reflexes and focus if he isn’t replenishing the fluids lost.
In case you have never noticed, there are no water breaks in a 500-mile race, unlike an NBA or NFL game. It’s one of the unique features of the NASCAR, or should we say what makes the game NASCAR different from all other US sports.
According to Jacksonville, most drivers are left with the option of peeing on their selves in the heat of the race. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone we mentioned this. Yeah right! Even the greatest NASCAR champions have had the experience.
If you do the proper servicing, your car requires periodically, the engine of your standard road car may last you for long years. According to Motor1, the engine of a vehicle can last for up to three decades if it’s new, while it could do fifteen for a used car before it loses its horsepower.
According to Factinate, it’s a different ball game for the NASCAR engines, as they can only last for one full race. The engine of an average NASCAR car wears out after 200 laps in the Daytona 500.
Have you ever checked how much of oil your mechanic uses to service your car? Of course, it shouldn’t be more than 5 liters of Oil if you use a Sedan and probably two if you use an SUV. Well, all that doesn’t count for an average NASCAR car which uses up more than three times of what an average car consumes.
According to Mydriftfun, during a race, an average NASCAR vehicle accelerates at about 1000 horsepower. Therefore it needs more oil to lubricate its moving parts.
The minimum NASCAR vehicle comes with a basic 5.8L V8 engine, plus it’s far larger than an average road vehicle because of the amount of power it produces. Therefore, the fuel used to power the engine is specially designed for NASCAR cars, and it’s also purer with lesser or no impurities.
According to Factinate, 98 Octane is the name of this modified fuel used for the NASCAR vehicles. The 98 Octane comes from NASCAR’s refinery. Even though a NASCAR team doesn’t get to measure the amount of fuel that goes into the car, the vehicle can hold up to 22 gallons of fuel.
A lot of planning goes into every NASCAR event before it takes place, especially the safety of drivers. According to the Chicago Tribune, NASCAR has a safety, research and development unit, with a lot of millions pumped in, to ensure the safety of drivers.
In February 2001, an accident occurred; it involved a three-car crash on the final lap of the race. A driver was fatally injured, and the others lost their lives. Since that unfortunate incident, NASCAR has put all measures in place to ensure no lives are lost on the race track again. The head-and-neck constraints have helped to reduce the head and neck trauma.
The weight of NASCAR cars plays a vital role in the event; the vehicles are usually not lighter than 3,400 pounds.
It would interest you to know that out of the vehicle’s weight of 3,400 pounds; the tires account for 200 pounds as each of the four tires weigh 50 pounds, according to Mydriftfun. Even though it seems like a stress-free task for the team mechanics in charge of changing tires, it takes a lot of strength to carry out such task in split seconds.
It’s natural for you to assume that a NASCAR vehicle comes with several gears, because of the speed that goes down on the race track. However, the NASCAR vehicles use a four-speed manual transmission, according to Jacksonville. Under normal circumstances, the drivers don’t need to change gears as much, since they drive at high speeds on a single gear most of the time.
Compared to the regular road cars that have speed gauges, NASCAR drivers undergo training that enables them to gauge their speed from the feel and sound of the car.
If you’re attentive to the NASCAR race, you would have noticed that it has different colored flags. According to the Chicago Tribune, each of the colored flags used in NASCAR conveys different meanings to race drivers. There are five colored flags: red, green, yellow, white, and check (black and white).
The red flag signifies that the race must reach a designated place and halt immediately because of safety issues. The green flag signifies the start and restart of a race. The yellow flag indicates that there has been an accident or sends caution messages to drivers. The white flag signifies that one lap is left in the race while the checkered black and white flag means the end of the race.
According to Factinate, when an object moves away from the central position, gravity makes the object speed up about 22mph every second. As a result, NASCAR drivers experience about two to three G-forces on turns.
Because drivers have to turn left as the race track is oval consistently, G-forces are continuous. The G-forces make drivers have a severe sore neck or pass out; NASCAR requires drivers to do special neck training to strengthen their neck muscles. When the driver’s neck muscles are strengthened, they can counter G-forces on the race track.
When Bill Elliot reached a top speed of 212mph on a qualifying lap at Talladega in 1987, he held a record for the highest speed ever attained in NASCAR. Ever since then, it has not been officially broken because NASCAR installed restrictor plates to limit the speed of a car at Daytona and Talladega not long after.
The NASCAR vehicles come with engines that can produce 1000hp—which is responsible for the incredible speed they attain. According to Thedriftfun, NASCAR drivers can cover the length of a football field at 200mph in a second.
Since we are talking about real facts that the NASCAR bosses would rather we don’t know, it would interest you to know that you can consider Rusty Wallace a record holder. Record holder for what you say? Well, according to Chicago Tribune, in 2004, Rusty Wallace reached a top speed of 228mph at the Talladega.
However, the record was held during a trial run when the restrictor plates were removed, and not during an official event or race like Bill Elliot. It’s left for you to decide who’s the fastest?
The 1979 Daytona 500 is referred to as the most critical race in the stock car history by racing car experts, according to Jacksonville, because the 1979 Daytona 500 was the first NASCAR race that was aired uncut on national television in the US.
Thanks to the onboard cameras that were installed in the vehicles, fans from across the US got a chance to grasp a glimpse of the inside view of racing cars for the first time in NASCAR’s history. Two innovative uses for TV cameras were introduced by the 1979 Daytona 500: the low angle and in-car camera—which are now standard to television racing.
It’s evident that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the highest capacity sports facility and largest NASCAR track with a seating capacity of over 250,000 and an infield seating that increases the number to 400,000. According to Chicago Tribune, the NASCAR track is the first to be called a Superspeedway.
The Bristol Motor Speedway boasts of a capacity of 160,000, and the Texas Motor Speedway has a capacity of 181,655. For your information, the top five NASCAR racing venues have a bigger capacity than the largest soccer stadium in the world.
In 1949, NASCAR held it “Strictly Stock Series Race.” The race took place at the Charlotte Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thirty-three drivers took part in the race and are comprised of 200 laps on a 0.75-mile dirt oval track. According to Thedriftfun, Jim Roper won the race with his 1947 Lincoln.
Jim claimed the victory when Glenn Dunaway his competitor, was disqualified. Dunaway was disqualified because his car gave him an edge over other competitors thanks to his spread rear springs that improved his handling at rugged turns.
Are you familiar with the name Richard Petty? If you’re nodding to this, then it would interest you to know that he is one of the most successful NASCAR drivers of all time. According to Chicago Tribune, Richard started his career at the age of 21; in 1964, he won his first Daytona 500.
It’s no surprise though because Richard’s father won the first Daytona 500 in 1959; he was also a three-time NASCAR champion. Asides Richard’s seven stock car championships, he had 7 Daytona 500 races in him, and a total of 200 NASCAR races in his career.
Did you know that NASCAR runs three national series? The three national series are Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY Series, and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Monster Stock Series is the primary Series that’s determined by a point system; it’s usually named after its chief sponsors.
According to Jacksonville, the XFINITY Series is NASCAR’s beginners’ series which offers novice drivers the opportunity to step up to the top level competing-circuits. The Third national series which is the Camping World Truck Series is a pickup truck series that started in 1991.
Sources- Jacksonville, Chicago Tribune, Mydriftfun, Factinate