If you’ve never seen a car set up for a banked oval up close before, it’s fascinating to see just how much of the car is set up to help it turn in one direction. Here’s a few interesting little details from NASCAR’s weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Take this extra tab on this Xfinity Series car’s spoiler, for example. If you’re only turning in one direction on a banked track, you might as well optimize the aerodynamics of the car for that.
Some teams opted to add more length to the mandatory clear flaps down one side of the back of the car. According to NASCAR, these rear deck fins create rear side force, which helps keeps cars from going airborne in a spin.
Again, if you’re only setting up to turn in one direction, why not make it easier to turn in that direction?
The camber of the wheels is also angled in such a way to make the most out of running on a big banked speedway. That crazy positive camber on this car serves a purpose!
NASCAR’s second-tier Xfinity Series also bases the Chevy and Ford body styles after cars everyone wants to see on a race track, anyway: the Camaro and Mustang.
Both are still a far cry from their road-car counterparts, but you have to admit that this “Mustang” looks fantastic in this classic livery.
Inside the cars is almost as fascinating as outside. The seats have multiple levels of lateral support for heads and shoulders, which is highlighted by the red sponsor’s decor inside this car. Compared to many sportscars, these roll cages look like jungle gyms. While Sprint Cup moved to digital dashboards this year, the Xfinity Series cars like this one still use the old-style gauges.
Of course, it’s Texas, so there’s no shortage of western-themed shenanigans in the paddock.
The area around the pit garages is manned by a small army of volunteers who would put North Korea’s legion of highly trained traffic ladies to shame. As soon as a car is coming, they’ll blow a whistle, such that the high-pitched shriek of whistles seems to follow these cars around the paddock.
On the upside, it lets you get this close to cars coming out of their garage spaces, so it’s pretty awesome.
Race cars weren’t the only cool things in the paddock. Check out this fantastic old pickup next to the fuel station.
As with any paddock, there’s no shortage of work going on, either.
Needless to say, these cars take quite a beating, both from incidents on track and from debris and grime.
Here’s a well loved spoiler where the black paint has been pitted from debris on track.
Even the tires leave their own chunk of grime.
Race-worn cars are the best.
Here are some other scenes from the Texas Motor Speedway paddock yesterday. Enjoy.
Correction: Originally, this article made it sound as if the entire rear deck fin was an optional add-on to tune the car’s aerodynamics, but several of you pointed out that cars have to have this fin in some form or fashion. According to NASCAR, the fins used for Sprint Cup cars have to be a minimum of 17", but can be elongated to 25" if teams so desire.
Per ESPN, these rear deck fins break up the air traveling over a car when a driver loses control, preventing the low pressure zone from forming above the car that leads to cars getting airborne. They were mandated for that reason.