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NASCAR: The Race Cars

NASCAR Races and Racetracks NASCAR Cars NASCAR Glossary

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NASCAR Cup Series car on track
Source: Air Force
Cup Series Race Cars

NASCAR Cup race cars are loosely based around production sedans from Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. By rule, the race cars are required to have three stock parts from the manufacturer including the roof, the hood, and the trunk lid. The remaining parts and manufacture of the race cars are fabricated specifically for the race car. The body of the car must meet specific templates provided by NASCAR. These templates are adjusted to try and keep any manufacturer car make from getting an advantage or disadvantage over the other cars.

The current (2021) generation of NASCAR cup race cars are called Gen6. The Next Gen cars will likely be used in 2022. These cars are very heavy and have a max of 750 horsepower on tracks 1 mile and less and 550 horsepower on longer tracks.

Other specifications include:

Engine Size - 358 Cubic Inches
Cylinders - 8
Weight - 3,200 pounds
Wheelbase - 110 inches
Fuel Tank Size - 17.75 gallons

Xfinity Race Cars

Xfinity series race cars are similar to the Cup Series cars. They have less horsepower due to the carburetor. They also have a shorter wheelbase and spoiler. This makes the cars somewhat easier to drive and handle.

Camping World Truck Series Trucks

The Camping World Truck Series uses modified pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. They have similar horsepower and weight to the Xfinity and Cup cars, but behave much differently because of their aerodynamics.

During the Race

For each race, the brakes, suspension, and body components are specifically designed for the characteristics of the racetrack. There are adjustments that are made to the car during the race to help the car handle better and therefore perform better in the race. Some adjustments include tire pressure and track bar.

All of the cars in the major NASCAR racing series are precision machines that are designed with care and lots of $'s. Many of the engine parts and body are hand constructed and formed for specific needs on specific racetracks.

This car specialization and the price involved is one reason that many race teams are formed. Even though there is no such thing as racing as a team (each race car driver is scored individually), the teams work together on various components as well as racetrack knowledge to bring some level of quantities of scale to the production in order to bring down manufacturing costs. Some say this gives the big NASCAR race teams an unfair advantage.

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NASCAR Races and Racetracks
NASCAR Glossary
NASCAR Drivers
List of NASCAR Race Tracks

Auto Racing Biographies:
Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Danica Patrick

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