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Auto Racing Terms

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A

 

AERO

Commonly used abbreviation when referring to the all-important science of aerodynamics.

AERODYNAMICS

The science of understanding different forces acting on a moving element in gasses such as air. The application of this study to racing is credited with much of the sport's recent progress as teams learn more about drag, air turbulence, and downforce.

AIR WRENCH

This tool uses compressed air to quickly remove wheel nuts on contact. A crew member proficient with the air wrench can save a team valuable seconds on a Pit Pass. Also referred to as an air gun or impact gun.

ADDING SPOILER

This is a term used to describe the changing of the direction of a spoiler or wing on a racecar. Usually adjusting the angle of the spoiler creates downforce and gives more grip on the race track.

ANGLE OF ATTACK

The angle of an Indy car style wing. The angle is varied by track to produce optimal downforce and minimize drag.

ANTIROLL BAR

A bar linking suspension parts which can be adjusted to alter handling characteristics to compensate for tire wear and varying fuel loads.

APEX

The point in a corner where a car is closest to the inside edge of the track. Drivers try to "hit" the apex to take the straightest line and maintain maximum speed. See also early apex and late apex.

ARMCO

Steel material forming barriers designed to prevent vehicles from leaving race tracks similar to highway applications.

ATMO ENGINES

Engines which use natural (or atmospheric) airflow as opposed to forced induction. NASCAR, Formula One and NHRA Pro Stock cars use "atmo" engines while Indy and NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car engines have forced induction.

B

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BACK OUT

When a driver takes his foot off the gas pedal (all the way or part way), he "backs out" or "lifts off."

BALACLAVA

Fire resistant headgear worn under helmets.

BITE

The amount of traction that a race car has at the rear wheels. Adjustments can be made to the car that puts more "bite" into the rear tires by adding weight or wedge to the car.

BLACK BOX

Unlike those which store recording devices in airplanes, a race car's black box contains high tech electrical systems which control most engine functions. More technically referred to as the Engine Electronic Controls, the Engine Control Unit or the Engine Management System.

BLISTER

Excessive heat can make a tire literally blister and shed rubber. Drivers can detect the problem by the resulting vibrations and risk more serious damage if they choose not to pit.

BLOCKING

Racing term for changing position on the track to prevent drivers behind from passing. Blocking is accepted if a car is defending position in the running order but considered unsportsmanlike if lapped cars hold up more competitive teams.

BLOW UP

Irreparable engine failure which ends a racer’s day.

BOOST

The amount of pressure generated by a turbocharger or supercharger as it forces the air/fuel mixture into a forced induction engine.

BOW TIE

Nickname attributed to Chevrolet based on the likeness of its logo.


BRICKYARD

Nickname given to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) which, although paved now, used to have a brick surface. The track hosts the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Brickyard 400.

BURN OFF

Burning fuel during the course of a race. As fuel is burned, the car becomes lighter and its handling characteristics change, challenging the driver and crew to make adjustments to achieve balance.

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CAMBER

The angle that wheels are tilted inward or outward from vertical. If the top of the wheel is tilted inward, the camber is negative.

CART

Acronym for Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc., the sanctioning organization for the PPG CART World Series.

CENTER OF PRESSURE

The point on an Indy car underwing which receives the greatest amount of airflow pressure. This measurement is critical to setting front to rear balance, especially on superspeedways.

CHASSIS

The basic structure of a racecar to which all other components are attached. Indy cars have carbon-fiber monocoque "tubs" while a NASCAR stock car has a steel tube frame chassis.

CHECKERED FLAG

The black and white checkerboard style flag, which signifies the end of a race.

CHICANE

An "S" like track configuration generally designed on a fast portion of a track to slow cars. Also referred to as "esses" or a "switchback."

CHUNKING

A softer compound rain tire will shed pieces of rubber if a track becomes too dry.

CIRCUIT

Any race track. Also refers to the entire slate of races on a season schedule.

CIRCULATING

Driving around a track with a damaged and/or slow car to accumulate laps and, more importantly, points and prize money.

CLEAN AIR

Air without turbulence created in the wake of other race cars. Clean air is found at the very front of the field.

CLIPPING

Minor contact between race cars. Also often refers to hitting precisely, or "clipping," the apex of a turn.

CLOSED-WHEEL CARS

The suspension, wheels and tires are mostly covered by the body. Production-based race vehicles such as NASCAR stock cars are examples of closed-wheel cars as opposed to open-wheel "formula" cars.

COCKPIT

The area where the driver sits in a race car.

COLD PITS

There is no racing activity on the track and the pits are open to people other than team members and racing officials.

COMBINATIONS

Combinations of engine, gearing, suspension, aerodynamic parts, and wheel and tire settings which teams forecast will work under varying conditions and tracks. These combinations (also known as set-ups) are recorded and used as baseline when teams arrive at a track.

COMPOUND

The rubber blend for tires. In some series, teams can choose their tire compound based on the track and weather conditions. A softer compound tire provides better traction but wears out much faster than a harder compound tire which doesn't provide as much grip.

CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP

The equivalent of a Manufacturers' Championship. A championship award for the cars' builders.

CORNER WORKER

Volunteers who staff corners to notify drivers of any dangerous situations in the area.

 COSWORTH

Engine manufacturing company which has cooperatively developed racing motors with Ford for many years. Named after co-founders Mike Costain and Keith Duckworth.

CROSS-THREAD

Stripping of the wheel stud threads when crew members hurriedly refasten lug nuts. This can be more devastating in Indy car racing as each wheel has only one center nut/thread combination which, if damaged, necessitates a Pit Pass before more severe consequences take place.

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DARLINGTON STRIPE

A NASCAR term for getting the right hand side of the car close to the outside wall and rubbing the sheet metal and paint.

DEAL

An idiomatic phrase used in the NASCAR racing community to describe any number of events. Examples could include: "It was just one of them deals", " it was simply a racing deal", or "I not sure what his deal was".

DNF

Did not finish.

DNS

Did not start.

DNQ

Did not qualify.

DIALING IN

This refers to the driver and crew making setup adjustments to achieve the car's optimum handling characteristics.

DIRT TRACKING

Driving hard into a corner on a paved track causing the rear end to swing out wide as if on a dirt surface.

DIRTY AIR

The turbulence created in the wake of other race cars.

 

DOWNFORCE

The downward force generated as air flows around a moving object. Indy series vehicles use wings while NASCAR vehicles use rearend spoilers to create downforce.

DRAFT

Airflow creates a low-pressure air pocket (or draft) behind moving objects. Most notably in NASCAR, drivers try to follow opponents closely enough to enter their draft and produce a "towing" effect. That's right, the car creating the draft actually pulls the pursuing driver who can ease off the throttle and save gas.

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP

Points are awarded at each race based on finishing position. The driver accumulating the most points by the end of the season wins the drivers' championship. A similar award system is used by most major series for a manufacturers' championship.

DRIVING AWAY

This is when a driver is pulling away from the field with little challenge from anyone else in the race.

DRY WEIGHT
A car's weight without any liquids such as gas and oil.

DROOP LIMITER
An electronic device which controls suspension travel, assuring conformity to mandated limits.

DROP THE HAMMER
Means a driver puts the petal to the metal.

DRY LINE
A clear (or dry) line, which develops after rain because of more frequent use.

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EEC
The Electronic Engine Control unit or colloquially referred to as the Black Box.

ECU

Engine Control Unit or Black Box.

EARLY APEX

A driver turns into a corner early.

ECONOMY RUN

Driving slower to conserve fuel. Some series cars can actually manipulate air/fuel levels (less fuel, more air) to run "lean" and conserve fuel.

END PLATE

The vertical end piece of a wing.

ENGINE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Another terms for the Black Box.

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F1

Abbreviation for Formula One.

FIA

Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. This is the governing body for most auto racing around the world.

FILL THE MIRRORS

A driver is pressuring another driver so feverishly that the rear-view mirror is filled their pursuer.

FIRE SUIT

Fire-resistant clothing which is required apparel for drivers as well as crew members and anyone else in the pits during a race.

FLAGMAN

The person standing on the tower above the Start/Finish Line who controls the race with a series of flags.

FLAT SPOT

When drivers lock up brakes, they expose one area of their tires to excessive wear causing flat spots to develop. Flat spots lead to vibrations which may require a tire stop.

FLAT-OUT

Refers to using 100% of the race car and not holding back on the ability of the car in a race (i.e. as in running flat-out).

FRESH RUBBER

A new set of tires acquired during a Pit Pass.

FUEL CELL

The gas tank for race cars. Most racing fuel cells were borrowed from military applications for extra protection in crashes.

FULL TANK PRACTICE

Ordinarily, teams fill their fuel tanks for the last practice before a race to test handling characteristics. Before then, they practice and qualify with limited fuel to decrease weight and gain speed.

FULL-TIME RIDE OR SEAT

A full-time job for a driver. "He has a full-time ride (or seat) next year."

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GASOLINE ALLEY

The garage area at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

GAS CAN

Large steel can used to fill the tank of NASCAR racers during a pit stop. A car usually holds two 10 gallon cans of fuel.

GAS CATCHER

The person on a NASCAR pit crew that uses a small catch can to catch the overflow of gas from a rear pipe as the tank is filled on a pit stop.

GAS MAN

The person on a pit crew with the job of filling the car with fuel from either a can (NASCAR venue) or from a filler hose (IRL, CART or F1)

GAVE UP

Drivers use this to describe a mechanical part that fails.

GOES UP THROUGH THE GEARS

Refers to a driver upshifting from the lowest to the highest gear.

GOT UNDER

A driver out brakes an opponent on the inside of a turn and makes a pass.

GRAND PRIX

This French term meaning grand prize is widely used to refer to a race. At one time in racing, it was used exclusively for a series' grand finale, usually the most important race.

GREEN TRACK

A track that has little or no rubber on it from previous races. A green track is a bad condition that allows little or no traction for a race car.

GROUND EFFECTS

Aerodynamically designed parts which are fitted to the lower areas of a car to create additional downforce. Many production car owners add ground effects more for style than function.

GURNEY FLAP

A vertical extension to the back edge of an Indy car wing invented by racing legend Dan Gurney to generate more downforce, especially at higher angles of attack. This device is usually made of metal, aluminum or carbon fiber and is also known as a wickerbill or a return.

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HAIRPIN

A slow, 180-turn which exits in the opposite direction a driver enters.

HAMMER DOWN

The driver has the pedal to the metal or has "dropped the hammer" full throttle.

HEADSOCK

A fire resistant head mask or balaclava.

HELICOPTER TAPE

Used to cover and protect exposed areas from flying debris as helicopter technicians developed it to protect rotors.

HOLE SHOT

A drag racing term for beating an opponent off the starting line and winning a race despite having a slower elapsed time. Other racers use this term to describe a good start or restart.

HOLDING UP TRAFFIC

When a slower race car causes cars running faster on the track to slow and does not heed the "move over flag" of the race officials.

HOOKED UP

A car that is performing great because all parts are "hooked up" or working well together.

HORSEPOWER

The estimated power needed to lift 33,000 lbs. one foot per minute roughly equated with a horse's strength.

HOT LAP

A car(s) is running at or near racing speed on the course.

HOT PITS

A car(s) is/are on the track. Only crew members and racing officials are allowed into the pits for safety reasons.

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IMS

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Also referred to as the Brickyard.

IMSA

The International Motor Sports Association. The North American road racing sanctioning body featuring prototype GTS sports car series.

IMPACT GUN

The machine used to removed wheel nuts. Also an air wrench or air gun.

INFIELD

The enclosed portion of a track which includes team garages on most oval tracks. During race weekends, this area is usually filled with large transporters, merchandise trailers, and driver and fan motorhomes.

INSIDE GROOVE OR LINE

On an oval track, this is the innermost racing line which is usually separated from the infield by a distinctly flat surface called an apron. On road courses, the inside groove refers to the line closest to the curbs or walls forming the inner portion of turns.

INTIMIDATOR

Dale Earnhardt’s nick name because of his driving style, which some might call reckless.

IN THE FENCE

A phrase used to describe the wreck of a race car involving several cars or only one car.

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KEPT BUSY

A driver is distracted (or kept busy) by another driver who is relentlessly pursuing.

KICK A LEG OUT OF BED

An engine breaks a connecting rod which penetrates the engine block and ends a driver's day. Announcers describe this as the engine "blowing up."

KING

The unofficial title given retired racer Richard Petty. Petty has a career high of seven NASCAR driving championships and a record setting 200 separate victories on the track.

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LAG

Turbo lag. The time it takes a turbocharger to "boost" an engine's power from the moment the driver pushes the throttle.

LAP

One time around a track. Also used as a verb when a driver passes a car and is a full lap ahead of (or has lapped) that opponent. A driver "laps the field" by lapping every other car in the race.

LAP CAR

Any race car that is running one or more laps down to the leader of the race.

LAP(S) DOWN

The number of laps a car is running behind the leader of the race. It can range from only one lap to several hundred.

LAUNCH

A car can be propelled or launched into the air (all four wheels are off the ground) by hitting a severe bump or another car.

LATE APEX

Turning into a corner late and missing the optimum apex point.

LEAD LAP

The race leader's lap. If the leader laps you for the first time, you are no longer on the lead lap.

 LEAN

High tech race cars (e.g. Indy cars and Formula One cars) have engine management systems which can adjust air/fuel mixtures. Drivers trying to conserve fuel will "run their engines lean" by using a decreased fuel/increased air mixture.

LET GO

Most commonly used when an engine fails or "blows up." Announcers also use this term for other parts of a car that fail.

LIFT

To raise or lift your foot of the gas pedal. Commonly used when drivers have to "lift" after an unsuccessful pass attempt to slow down and get back into the racing line.

LOCK UP

Just like production cars, racers can lock up the brakes and even "flat spot" their tires at race speeds.

LONG PEDAL

Commonly refers to a car's gas pedal because of the design. Also used to describe a brake pedal when brakes wear out because the driver has to push the pedal harder and further to slow down.

LOOKS TO PASS

A driver ponders a pass. The driver will actually move over, look at the possible passing area and make a decision to go or not.

LOOSE

A car has more grip in the front than the rear end and tends to "fish tail." Drivers often report whether the car is "loose" or "tight" so the crew can make Pit Pass adjustments. Please see oversteer.

LOOSE STUFF

Area above the racing line that contains chucks of rubber, stones and other materials that can harm the car or tires and cause a driver to lose control.

LOW DRAG SETUP

Adjusting a car's aerodynamic features to minimize drag which also reduces downforce. This setup achieves better performance on straightaways and reduced cornering ability.

LOW LINE

See "low groove or line."

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MAKING UP TIME

A driver is catching up to or gaining ground an opponent.

MARBLES

Rocks and debris that collect off the racing line. If a driver enters the marbles at an excessive speed, his car will lose grip and drive perilously into awaiting hazards as if a person walked across a bed of marbles.

MAX REVS

Revving a car to its maximum RPM levels.

MILLION DOLLAR BILL

A name given Bill Elliott after his win of the Winston Million in 1985. He was the first driver to meet the required three out of four wins on the major speedways of NASCAR. Only one other driver has done this to date and that was Jeff Gordon in 1997.

MOTORING

When a driver is using the racecar in a prudent and wise fashion and not demanding more of the car than it can perform.

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NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The sanctioning body for the Winston Cup, Craftsman Truck and Busch Grand National series among others.

NEW SPACER

Term used for a new engine because it fills the space between the chassis and transmission.

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OFF LINE

Driving off the best racing line. Drivers will go off line to attempt a pass or to move out of the way of faster cars.

ON THE THROTTLE

A driver has the pedal to the metal.

 OPEN WHEEL

Formula One and Indy car style race cars which are designed to have the suspension, wheels and tires exposed, no fenders.

OUT BRAKE

A driver gains time and position on an opponent by applying the brakes later and deeper into a corner.

OUTSIDE GROOVE

The outside racing line. Sometimes a car will handle and perform better on the outside/inside line and a driver opts not to use the optimum groove.

OVAL

An oval-shaped track such as Atlanta Motor Speedway.

OVERSTEER

A condition when the front of a car has more grip than the rear. This is the same as a car being "loose."

OVERTAKE

A term commonly used by announcers meaning a pass.

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PACE CAR

The car which leads the field to set the pace before starts and restarts after cautions.

PADDOCK AREA

The enclosed portion (or infield) of a racetrack.

PARADE LAP (S)

The warm-up lap before a race. Drivers use this lap to warm up their engines and often zigzag to warm up tires.

PARKING LOT

After a big crash, which takes out a lot of cars, the track looks like a parking lot.

PHYSICAL CIRCUIT

Usually refers to road courses which require a lot of turning and hence, great physical strength.

PICK UP

Debris built up on tires from rubber bits and small stones.

 PIT ROW

The area designated for teams to set up temporary garages during races accessible to ("pit out") and from ("pit in") the track. Each team is allotted one pit area (or space) per car. Drivers pit so crews can refuel, change tires and make any other repairs or adjustments. Simply called the pits most often.

PIT BOARD

A board used by crews inform drivers of lap times, lap until pit and other various information. The board is used along with team radios to keep in constant communication.

PIT LIZARD

Nickname for a racing groupie.

PIT STOP

An integral part of most racing series where drivers stop in pit row so their crews can change tires, refuel, and make repairs or other adjustments.

PITS

Short for pit row or a dejected driver. Also see hot pits for cold pits.

POINT PAYING

In some series (e.g. CART and Formula One), you must finish a certain place or higher to receive points towards the championship. Conversely, NASCAR awards points to any driver who starts a race.

POINTS RACE

The overall competition to win the Drivers' or Manufacturers' Championship at the end of the season.

POLE POSITION

The driver qualifying fastest is awarded the first starting position. This means the driver will start on the inside (relative to the first turn) of the first row.

POP-OFF VALVE

In Indy-style racing, this valve is connected to the plenum exiting the turbocharger. Many racing groups supplies these valves in order to restrict the pressure generated by the turbocharger.

POWER PLANT

Commonly used term for engines.

 

PROVISIONAL STARTING SPOT

Special performance-based exemptions for drivers who do not initially qualify for a race. A driver awarded a provisional spot must start at the back of the starting grid.

PUSH

The rear end of a car has more grip than the front. This condition makes a car harder to turn into a corner. Commonly known as understeer.

PUSHING AND SHOVING

Race cars making contact.

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QUALIFIERS OR QUALLIES

Softer compound tires designed for qualifying only because they provide excellent traction but only for a very short amount of time.

QUALIFY

During designated sessions, teams must meet established lap times to qualify for (or enter) a race based on a predetermined number of spots available.

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RACE RUBBER

Race tires as opposed to qualifying tires.

RACER'S TAPE

Heavy-duty duct tape used to temporarily repair hanging body parts, which might hinder aerodynamic features and decrease performance. Most commonly used on stock cars (e.g. NASCAR Winston Cup) which use more paneling than Indy-style cars and are accustomed to more contact.

 

RAIN TIRES

Softer compound with better tread for wet-weather conditions. In dry conditions, these softer tires wear faster than harder compound tires with less tread.

RESTRICTOR PLATE

A stainless steel plate used between the carburetor and the intake manifold to limit the amount of fuel and air reaching the engine. It is used to slow down the race cars on certain high speed NASCAR tracks like Daytona Speedway.

 

RETURN

A vertical flap attached to a Indy car wing for increased downforce. Please see Gurney Flap.

ROAD COURSE

A racetrack with multiple left and right hand turns. Generally refers to permanent, purpose-built racing facilities. Can also refer to temporary street courses built on big city streets, which were popularized in the 1980's.

ROLL BAR

Large, sturdy bars designed to protect a driver's head if the car rolls over. Very functional in racecars but used more for style in production cars. Most production and racecars use anti-roll (or sway) bars as part of the suspension to prevent the excessive rolling in corners.

ROLLING START

The race begins after the pace car leaves the track while the cars are moving. Formula One opts for a standing start where the cars start from a standstill.

ROOSTER TAIL

The spray trailing cars in wet conditions similar to the effect boats create across water.

ROUNDY ROUND

A slang term in NASCAR used to describe an oval track.

RUBBING

Racing announcers use this describe cars that make contact but don't crash. Also called "pushing and shoving."

RUNNING ANYWHERE

A car is handling so well, a driver can use any racing line (or drive anywhere.) Sometimes, handling problem lead to a preferred line where the car handles better.

RUNNING LIGHT

A car is running with little fuel. Teams qualify with a light load to achieve maximum speed.

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SAVING THE CAR/TIRES

Driving a car somewhat moderately to conserve the cars mechanical parts and lessen tire wear. This allows a driver to be more aggressive during the all-important final laps.

SCUFFS

Tires that have been run a few laps in practice to heat them up. This make them adhere better under race conditions. Term used in NASCAR racing.

SCRUBBED TIRES

The best kind of racing tire because they've had a few laps of wear to normalize the surface. Term used in CART, IRL and F1.

SETUP

The combination of settings for a car's engine, aerodynamic features and tires/wheels. Teams make continual adjustments to a car's setup during pit stops based on driver input.

SETUP SHEETS

Documents with recorded setups from different tracks under varying weather conditions. Teams use this baseline to adjust setups when they arrive at a track.

SHAKEDOWN

First test with a brand-new car or engine.

SHIFT POINTS

The best engine r.p.m. at which to shift gears. Some production and race cars have lights to indicate when a driver should shift gears.

SHOOT OUT

Two or more drivers race to the end for victory.

SHUT DOWN

Turning a car off to avoid mechanical damage or an accident. Often times, drivers shut down so a mechanical problem doesn't lead to more severe and expensive consequences. Drag racers often shut their cars down when they get out of control.

SPRING RUBBER

A circular rubber device added to the front springs of a stock car to stiffin the spring ratio and make the car handle better. Often these are added or removed during pit stops.

SLICKS

Tires with no tread designed for dry weather conditions.

SLICK TRACK

Usually an oval track with an unusual amount of oil and other fluids on it making it difficult to drive.

 

SLIP STREAM

The cavity of low-pressure area created by a moving object. In racing, drivers use this slip stream to draft another vehicle.

STAGGER (OPEN WHEEL)

On ovals, teams may use a different size tire (or stagger) on the outside wheel to improve the car's handling ability.

STAGGER (CLOSED WHEEL)

The amount of flex in the side wall of a tire in racing. Race teams can use the stagger of the tire to stiffen the spring ratio of the car by adding air to the tire and thereby change how the car handles.

STANDING START

In Formula One racing, the field starts from a gridded standstill (standing) start unlike rolling starts in most other types of racing.

STICKERS

Brand-new tires with the manufacturer's label (or sticker) still on the surface. Teams generally use sticker tires during qualifying, then use scrubbed tires in a race. See scuffs or scrubbed tires.

STOP-AND-GO PENALTY

A penalty which requires a driver to stop at their team's pit for a timed penalty before reentering the race. This penalty can be assessed for anything from speeding in the pits to contact with an opponent.

SUPERSPEEDWAY

A 1 to 2+-mile oval track.

SWEEPER

A large sweeping corner on a road or street course.

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TALENT

Television announcers.

TAPED OFF

Usually refers to applying racer's tape to the brake duct opening in full bodied cars.

 TEAR OFFS

Transparent plastic strips applied to helmet visors or windshield (NASCAR). As these strips accumulate debris, a driver or pit crew can tear a dirty strip off for a clear view. Drivers in open cars go through about five tear-offs a race. In NASCAR, this is a new approach to the old problem of giving the driver a clear view.

TECH

Short for tech (or technical) inspection. Each car is submitted to tech inspection so sanctioning body officials can confirm all chassis and engine parts meet series' guidelines. A "teched" car has passed inspections.

TELEMETRY

Highly sophisticated electronics which transmit performance data back to a team's pit.

THROTTLE

The gas pedal.

TOP END POWER

The amount a car accelerates at high speeds or in its highest gear.

TUB

The chassis or monocoque of a Indy-style race car.

TUCK UNDER

A driver follows an opponent close enough to move into (or tuck under) their draft.

TURBO OR TURBOCHARGER

A device which pressurizes air, pumps it into the engine and "boosts" a car's performance. Essentially the condensed air increases the air/fuel mixture to create more power.

TURBULENCE

Rough air encountered by race car drivers.

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UNDERSTEER

When a car has more traction (or grip) in the rear than in the front.

UNLAP

A driver down one lap passes the leader to regain position on the lead lap.

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VORTEX

In wet conditions, racecars can produce vortexes off their rear ends or wings. These vapor trails are similar to those produced by the engines of jet planes.

W

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WARM-UP LAP

The lap before a race starts. Drivers use this parade lap to warm up their engines and tires.

WEAVING

Zig zagging across the track to warm up and clean off tires, or to confuse an opponent while attempting a pass.

WETS

Tires designed to perform better in the rain.

WEDGE

The process of adding weight to the rear of a race car. It is done by shifting the amount of weight applied to the rear wheels by thightening the presure on the rear springs.

WINDSCREEN

A transparent fiberglass surface on the front of a car designed to aid airflow and deflect turbulent air from the driver.

WINGS

Aerodynamic surfaces mounted to the back of a race cars to create downforce. Racecar wings employ the opposite aerodynamic designs as airplane wings (which create lift to help an aircraft elevate) to create this downforce.

WINSTON MILLION, THE

A $1 million award given to any NASCAR Winston Cup driver who wins three of four selected races -- the Daytona 500, the Winston Select 500 (Talladega), the Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte), and the Mountain Dew Southern 500 (Darlington).

WINSTON CUP

The world's premier stock car racing series sanctioned by NASCAR. Racing legends such as Bill Elliott and Rusty Wallace have made their names in Winston Cup. Term also given to the trophy awarded to each season's Drivers' Champion.

WONDER BOY

A name given to Jeff Gordon by some of his detractors. Frankly, he is a “wonder” having won 27 races and two NASCAR driving championships by the age of 26. Gordon will likely be a wonder no matter how long he races.

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ZIG ZAG

To sharply move back-and-forth on the track. Drivers often zig zag on warm-up laps to heat up their tires.

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