NASCAR Glossary Of Words & Terms
Info to help new fans learn about the sport and it's unusual lingo
AAA - AAA was once the organization that sanctioned most of the "legitimate" racing in the United States
Adding Spoiler - Changing the direction of a wing or spoiler to add more downforce.
Adhesion - The amount of stick between two surfaces. Adhesion usually applies to objects at rest where traction applies to objects in motion.
AERO - Abbreviation used when referring to aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics - The science studying the forces exerted on race cars surfaces by air in motion and how it affects downforce, drag, and lift.
Aero Grip - Traction provided by down forces applied to the car
Aero Loose - When two cars are close together and the lead car has less air being applied to its rear spoiler. This causes the car to have less rear downforce, which causes it to be loose in the turns.
Aero Push - When two cars are close together and the trailing car has less air being applied to its nose. This causes the car to have less front downforce, less turning ability, which then causes the car to push up the track.
Agricultural Racing or Excursion - When a car leaves the track and runs through the grass.
Air Box - Housing for the air cleaner that connects the air intake to the carburetor.
Air Dam - Used to direct or block airflow. Located on lower front valance. Used in front to prevent airflow to undercarriage, intended to prevent turbulence and lift.
Anti-Sway or Anti-Roll Bar - A suspension component that links the left and right side suspension movement together. This is a torsion spring that limits the amount of lean that a vehicle will develop in a turn. It can be used in either the front or rear of a vehicle.
Apex - The point in a turn where the car is turning most sharply. By definition, the apex is usually the slowest part of the turn; the car slows down into the apex, and then accelerates out of it.
A-Post - The post extending from the roofline to the base of the windshield on either side of the car.
Apron - An area on the inside of the track for cars that are going slowly. At high-banked tracks, the apron has less banking, so that cars that aren't up to speed won't slide off. The apron is also used as the approach to the pits, and as the merge-in area for cars exiting the pits.
ARCA - Auto Racing Club of America. Sanctions a national Stock car series, and several regional series. Founded in 1953 as the Midwest Auto Racing Club, it has evolved a number of regional racing series in the Midwest and West over the years.
Armco - A brand name for one brand of corrugated steel barrier widely used for guardrails on highways. In the '70s, many racetracks experimented with using Armco instead of concrete for crash walls. In this application, the steel barriers have been largely unsatisfactory. Armco is very much like the guard rails you see along the side of highways.
Attrition - The rate at which cars drop out of a race, due to mechanical failure or wrecks. Attrition is said to be high when few of the cars that start a race finish it.
Back Marker - A car that is many laps behind in a race. Also used as a derisive term to refer to drivers who are consistently slower then the majority of the field.
Back Out or Back Off - When a driver takes his foot off the gas pedal and slows down.
Balaclava - Nomex or fireproof fabric for head and face protection: - also see head sock
Balanced - The state in which a tire and wheel spin with all their weight distributed equally. Also refers to a cars setup being correct.
Bank / Banking - As applied to racetracks, the angle from the horizontal at which a corner or straight is tilted. Banking a corner increases cornering speed by converting some of the sideways centrifugal force to downward force, in much the same way that an airplane banks
Bead - A round hoop of steel wires, wrapped or reinforced by ply cords, that is shaped to fit the rim; holds the tire onto the rim.
Bead Wire - The steel wire wrap that is used to construct the bead package.
Behind the Wall - Referring to taking a car into the garage area behind the pit wall to do major repairs or is out of the race.
Belly Pan - Generally, a skin of aluminum or fiberglass used to cover the under carriage of vehicle, assisting in preventing turbulence and air drag.
Belt - A rubber-coated layer of cords that is located between the plies and the tread. Cords may be made from steel, fiberglass, rayon, nylon, polyester or other fabrics.
Belted Bias Tire - A pneumatic tire with a body similar to that of bias tires, but which also includes two or more belts under the tread.
Bench Racing - Talking about racing; what racers and race fans do in the winter, or any other time when there's no real racing going on. Also typically done on Monday mornings after the race.
Bias Ply Tire - Bias Ply tires are constructed of layers of rubber-coated plies composed of textile cords placed upon each other at approximately 30-45 degree angles. These plies are then wrapped around the bead wires. NASCAR used to race with bias placed tires, but has switched to Radial tires.
Big One - Also referred to as "the biog one"; Refers to a wreck involving many race cars during a race usually at one of the bigger speedways such as Daytona or Talladega.
Binders - Another name for brakes.
Bite - The amount of grip the tires or car has with the track.
Black and Red Flags together - Indicates the end of a practice or qualifying session. All cars should exit the track and go to the pits or garage area. Checkered and red, or checkered and black, flag combinations may also be used.
Black Box - In car high tech electrical systems. These would control most engine functions. More technically referred to as the Engine Electronic Controls, the Engine Control Unit or the Engine Management System. May also include measure devices to record information
Black Flag - Report to the pits. Used to call in a car, either because the team is to be penalized, or because the car presents some sort of hazard that must be fixed (e.g., leaking oil, loose bodywork, or going too slow). Generally, the driver has a small number (2-3) laps to report to the pits before his car is no longer scored in the race.
Black Flag with White X - Signals a racer that is ignoring a black flag that if he/she does not come to the pits immediately they will cease scoring that car.
Blade - Term that some drivers use for a rear spoiler. Bladder - Device that contains the fuel and keeps it from spilling and catching fire in the case of a rear impact.
Bleeder Valve - This is a device mounted in a wheel. It is a valve that is used to keep air pressure constant during a race. Air pressure increases with heat and this valve opens and releases air until the pressure returns to a preset amount. These are illegal to use in
NASCAR Blend Line - Line painted on the track near the apron and extending from the pit road exit into the first turn. When leaving the pits, a driver must stay below it to safely "blend" back into traffic.
Blistered - Condition where a tire is run at excessive temperatures causing the tread to turn into a semi-liquid state. This is characterized by visible porosity in the tread, and sections of tread separating from the body.
Blocking - Racing term for changing position on the track to prevent drivers behind from passing.
Blown Engine - An engine that has suffered a catastrophic bottom-end failure, such as a broken connecting rod. Engines that have blown usually have suffered irreparable block damage and have to be junked.
Blue Oval - Refers to a Ford. The name comes from the shape of its logo.
Blue with Yellow Stripe Flag - A signal to lapped cars to move out of the way of faster cars.
Bobble - A slight wiggle or a brief lose of control that is recovered by the driver.
Bore - The diameter of an engine cylinder.
Bottom End - The reciprocating and rotating parts of an engine that transmit the engine's power, including the pistons, crankshaft, connecting rods, and main bearings. See also top end.
Bow Tie - Chevrolet, from the shape of its logo.
B-Post - Post extending from the roofline to the base of window behind the driver's head.
Brain Bucket - Slang term for a helmet.
Brake Duct - A tube that takes air from the front or side of a car and directs it to the brakes in order to cool them. Brake Balance - The difference in braking force between one end or side of the car, and the other. Racing brake systems are usually designed so that the front-rear brake balance can be adjusted, with more force going to one end or the other as desired to improve handling
Brake Fade - Condition that occurs when the brakes get so hot they are ineffective and braking power is reduced.
Brickyard - Nickname given to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which although paved now, used to have a brick surface.
Buildup - Term use to describe an increase in tire pressure due to the tire heating up (by running and brake heating) and internal humidity turning into steam. To help limit pressure buildup teams use nitrogen dried air, or other gas to lower internal humidity.
Bull Ring - A general term for a short track usually a half-mile or less where local weekly races are held.
Bump Drafting - A drafting technique where a trailing car that is rapidly gaining on a preceding car will actually hit the preceding car in the rear (gently), in order to transfer some momentum to the preceding car and speed it up
Bump Rubber or Bump Stop - A piece of rubber used to stop the travel of the suspension.
Calipers - A component of the braking system that houses the piston, which hydraulically pushes the brake pad against the rotor.
Camber - One of the three major front suspension geometry adjustments. The camber angle is the angle between the plane of the wheel (think of it as the plane of the hub face, or the brake rotor), and the vertical. Negative camber is when the top of the wheel is leaning toward the car.
Caster - Is the angle created by the steerings pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the line is angled forward, and negative if backward. Typically, positive caster will make the vehicle more stable at high speeds.
Catch Can - A small can that used to be used to catch fuel that comes out of the fuel cell vent when it overflows (while being filled). Also: Most fuel cells today have a check valve in the vent line that prevents fuel from backing out of the vent line making a catch can unnecessary.
Catch Fence - The fence along the wall that protects spectators from errant cars, parts, etc.
Caution - A period when a race is stopped due to an accident or other dangerous situation (such as rain, debris, or spilled oil) on the track. Indicated by the display of a yellow flag and caution lights. The cars may continue moving around the track behind a pace car at reduced speed.
Caution Lights - At most tracks, a series of signal lights around the perimeter of the track that duplicates the functions of some of the flags. Commonly, old traffic lights containing red, yellow, and green bulbs. Some use strobe or flashing yellow lights.
Center of Gravity - A measurement used in chassis setup to determine the overall balance of a race vehicle and adjust handling characteristics. The center of gravity is an imaginary point located in the car where if raised by that point, the car would balance perfectly.
Chassis - The frame of a racecar that provides a mounting point for the motor, suspension, steering, roll cage, and drive train components.
Checked Out - Expression when the leader drives away from the rest of the field and will seem impossible to catch.
Check Up - To slow down abruptly, either because of a problem with the car, or because of an incident occurring ahead.
Checkered Flag (black and white) - The race is over. This flag is always shown first to the winner; each car gets to complete the lap that it is on, and then the race ends.
Chicane - An "S" like track configuration generally designed on a fast portion of a track to slow cars.
Chrome Horn - Bumping into the rear of the car ahead of you, to cause him to get a bit loose (so he'll slow and you can pass him), or just to express dissatisfaction with his driving. The term comes from the early days of Stock car racing, when the race cars were showroom and had chrome bumpers.
Chunking - Condition in which rubber comes off a tire in chunks due to the tire being chemically treated or a bad or misused compound.
Circuit - Any racetrack.
Circulating - Driving around a track; sometimes with a damaged and/or slow car to accumulate laps and, more importantly, points and prize money.
Circumference - The measured distance around the tread portion of a tire.
Clean Air - Air without turbulence created in the wake of other race cars. The leader of the race would be said to be out in "clean air"
Clip - On a tube-frame Stock car, the front and rear sections are designed so that if they are damaged in an accident, they can easily be cut off (with a cutting torch) from the main part of the chassis, and a new section welded on. These new sections are known as "clips".
Cock Pit - Area in a car where driver sits.
Cold Inflation Pressure - The amount of air pressure in a tire, measured in pounds per square inch (psi) before a tire has built up heat from driving.
Cold Pits - When there is no racing activity on the track and the pits are open to people other than team members and racing officials.
Collected - Getting hit by an out-of-control car while trying to pass by or through an accident in progress.
Come In / Coming In - When a tire gets up to temperature and begins gripping.
Competition Yellow - A scheduled caution period during a race. Most often is schedule before the race begins due to rubber being washed off the track and giving teams the opportunity to check tire wear on the 'green' surface.
Compound - This refers to the mixture or durability of the rubber on the tread of the tire. Compounds are usually described as "hard" or "soft". The more abrasive the track is the harder the compound you would want to use.
Compression Ratio - The volume of the combustion chamber and cylinder when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke, divided by the volume of the combustion chamber and cylinder when the piston is at the top of its stroke.
Contact Patch - The area of a tire that is in contact with the ground.
Contingency Awards - Money or prizes that are awarded to race participants by parties other than the race promoter. The contingency award may be based on performance, on a team's use of a sponsor's product, or any other criteria that the party sponsoring the award feels like.
Cool Down Lap - A lap run after taking the checkered flag in order to slow down before leaving the track.
Co-opertition - Slang term that combines the two words Cooperation and Competition. Describes the act of teams cooperating during competition. The best example is drafting at superspeedways to benefit both cars.
Cord - The strands of material forming the plies or layers of the tire. Cords may be made from fiberglass, rayon, nylon, polyester, steel or other materials.
Core - The mechanism in a tire valve stem that allows one-way passage of air. Also called "valve core".
Cosmetic Damage - A spot or location of damage that is not a structural problem to the operation of the race car or a tire.
Cowl - A removable metal scoop at the base of the windshield and rear of the hood that directs air into the air box.
Cowl Induction - Housing for the air cleaner that connects the air intake at the base of the windshield to the carburetor.
C-Post - The post extending from the roofline of a racecar to the base of the rear window to the top of the deck lid.
Crash - An incident where one or more cars are involved in a wreck.
Crate Motor - In some series such as ASA, a similar motor is supplied to all competitors. This is mainly done to reduce costs and even the competition, similar to a specified tire rule.
Crew Chief - The individual responsible for all mechanical aspects of the racecar and strategic decisions during pit stops and the race.
Cross Weight - The percentage of weight on the right front vs. the left rear wheel.
Crossed Flags (two flags furled and crossed in an X shape): Indicates that half of the distance of the race has been completed. Usually, in oval-track racing, the rules stipulate that once one-half of the scheduled distance has been completed, if some condition (such a weather) ocurres the race is concluded
Cross Thread - Stripping of the wheel stud threads when crewmembers hurriedly refasten lug nuts.
Crush Panel - On a tube-frame Stock car, a sheet metal panel that fills in the gaps between the firewall and the side body panels. If the crush panel gets damaged, engine heat (and frequently exhaust gas) comes into the cockpit, which can make the driver extremely ill.
Cure - The process of putting a completely assembled green tire in a press and forming into a finished tire.
Cushion - Area of the corner above the farthest outside groove on a dirt track where loose dirt builds up.
Cut - A sharp turn or a racecars ability to negotiate a turn. The car is cutting well means the car is able to turn well.
Darlington Stripe - A streak of scraped-off paint that appears on the right side of a car, from having made light contact with the outside wall. The term originated at Darlington back in the '60s, when the track had Armco for its retaining walls.
Decals - A tradition as old as Stock car racing itself. Decals are a low-budget form of advertising that sometimes provides rewards that are small, yet important to struggling teams. Contingency awards are sometimes tied to the display of decals.
Deck Lid - The trunk lid. On most Stock cars, the trunk is vestigial, but the lid remains for access to the fuel cell, oil tank, battery, and other things that might be stashed away in that space.
Delamination - Visible circumferential lines that occur when spiral tread wraps open up. This condition is usually cosmetic but in extreme conditions can be a performance problem.
Depth Holes - Cavities located in the tread surface that enables wear measurements.
Detroit Locker - A brand name of a ratcheting (limited slip) rear end commonly used in Winston Cup.
Dialed In - When a cars setup is in an ideal state.
Dialing In - The driver and crew making setup adjustments to for better handling.
Diamonding - Taking corners by driving into the corner fairly straight, making a sharp turn in the middle of the corner, and then driving out fairly straight (such that, as the car goes through the corner, it moves from the inside to the outside and then back to the inside, creating a diamond shape.
Dicing - Close, exciting driving between 2 or more racers. Positions are exchanged frequently.
Dirty Air - An aerodynamic term for turbulent air currents caused by fast-moving cars. Can cause a trailing car to lose control.
Dismount - Removing a tire from a wheel.
Displacement - In an engine, the total volume of air/fuel mixture an engine is theoretically capable of drawing into all cylinders during one operating cycle. Described in cubic inches or cubic centimeters.
Disqualification - The most severe during-race punishment that a sanctioning body can impose. Disqualification is imposed only for the most severe infractions, such as ignoring a black flag or deliberately wrecking another car. It may also be imposed after the fact for example when the car is inspected post-race and something is found to be illegal
DNF - Acronym for "did not finish". The opposite of running at finish. Most racing box scores will list, for each car, either "running" or a very brief reason why the car DNF'ed, such as "engine" or "accident".
DNQ - Acronym for "did not qualify".
DNS - Acronym for "did not start". See also alternate starter.
Door Bars - Term used to describe the side protection bars built into most full-bodied racecar roll cages. Often, 3 or 4 horizontal bars are joined to the front and rear upright support bars to form the door bar structure.
Double - Recent term for competing in the Indianapolis 500, and the Coca-Cola World 600 at Charlotte, in the same day ("running the double").
Doughnut / Donut - Circular patterns that are formed on the side of a car when it comes into contact with the front or rear fenders of another car, and that car's tires (perhaps slightly protruding from the fenders) rub off the paint, forming a circular rub pattern.
D-oval Type of oval track that has a gradually, continuously curving front "straight". Michigan, Fontana, and Richmond are examples.
Downforce - Refers specifically to downward forces generated by aerodynamics, either due to the car's body shape or due to aerodynamic aids such as spoilers and wings (as opposed to downward force resulting from the car's weight or from G-forces). Downforce resulting
Downshift - Moving the transmission to a lower gear.
Drafting - An aerodynamic phenomenon that occurs at high-speed tracks. A car following another car runs in a partial vacuum left behind the lead car, which means that it doesn't have to use as much power moving air aside.
Drag - The resistance a car experiences when passing through air at high speeds.
Drag Coefficient - A measured amount of how much drag an object creates while traveling through the air.
Drive Line - All parts included in the drive train not including the engine and the transmission.
Drive Plate - A splined metal plate that transmits the rotation of the axle shaft to the hub assembly on solid axle suspensions. Variations of this design allows for 2-3 degrees of camber in the system.
Driver's Meeting - A meeting which usually takes place 10-30 minutes prior to a major race, conducted by race officials, and which all drivers in the race are required to attend. The rules are covered; pit entrance and exit, among other things. Sometimes it is used to discuss unusual conditions or situations; and drivers or crew chiefs are allowed to ask questions to get clarifications on anything they might need. If a drivers fails to attend the drivers meeting they are penalized and must start at the rear of the field.
Drive Shaft - The shaft mounted between the transmission and the rear end differential.
Drive Shaft Strap - A U-shaped strap that is fastened to the bottom of the car, and passes beneath the drive shaft. Its purpose is to keep the drive shaft in the car if the shaft or one of its U-joints breaks. Use of drive shaft straps is mandatory by most oval track racing
Drive Train - All parts that supply power to the wheels including the engine, transmission, drive shaft, differential, and hubs.
Driving Away - When a driver is pulling away from the field with little challenge from anyone else in the race.
Dropping a Cylinder - A generic term for any condition that causes an engine cylinder to stop producing power. In racing engines, this usually results from either an ignition failure, or from a valve failing to open or close properly. Sometimes because of a broken value spring.
Drop the Hammer - When a driver puts the gas pedal to the floor.
Dry Sump - The type of oiling system used on most racing engines. In a dry sump system, oil that isn't being used at the moment is stored in a tank, away from the engine, eliminating the need for the "deep end" on the oil pan. In a NASCAR race car the oil capacity is 16 quarts.
Dry-Break Connector - A connector used for fueling apparatus (gas cans or hoses) that can be connected or disconnected under pressure without spilling any fuel.
Dry Weight - A car's weight without any liquids such as gas and oil.
Durometer - A device used to measure the hardness of the rubber on the surface of a tire.
Early Apex - When a driver turns into a corner too soon.
Economy Run - When a driver drives conservatively to save the engine, fuel and tires. Often this happens at the end of a race when a driver is trying to avoid making a pit stop wi8th just a few laps to go.
Electric Eye - A generic term for any electronic timing device.
Esses - An "S" like track configuration generally designed on a fast portion of a track to slow cars.
Equalize - To gradually lose pressure in an inner-liner equipped tire, until the main carcass pressure equals the inner liner pressure. When this happens, the inner liner partially unfolds inside the tire and flops around, which can create a severe vibration.
Fabricator - Team member responsible for the body of the racecar.
Fall Off - Gradual or drastic deterioration of a tires performance during use.
Fence -Term to describe the barrier on the inside or outside of the tracks racing surface. I may be a wall or steel rail but still be referred to as a fence.
Field - The group of cars that starts a race or the total number of cars in attendance. May also refer to the group of drivers and teams that competes regularly in a particular racing series.
Field Filler - Cars that enter an event to fill out the field of entrants. This is done in order for the series or promoter to present the advertised car count and the teams to get a guaranteed start and finishing position pay. These cars may start the race, complete a few laps and the quit.
Fill the Mirrors - When a driver is pressuring another driver so feverishly that the rear-view mirror is filled their pursuer.
Finish Line - Line, which determines winner and computes Elapsed Time.
Fire Bottle - A brand name for a model of fire extinguisher designed to be used in a racecar; sometimes used to refer to a fire extinguisher in general.
Fire Suit - The suit worn by the driver (or others potentially exposed to fire, such as a gas man), consisting of several layers of a fire and heat-resistant fabric such as Nomex or Kevlar. The development of fire suits in the late '60s cut down greatly on burn injuries and deaths.
Fire Wall - A solid metal plate that separates the engine compartment from the driver's compartment of a racecar.
Fishtail - Aft lateral oscillation of a vehicle, generally the result of traction loss.
Flagman - Person who uses flags to signal various conditions to the drivers and teams. At weekly-racing events, the flagman is often the person who has the final say over the starting and stopping of the race, and handing out penalties to drivers who commit infractions
Flags - Used by the flagman to signal various conditions to the drivers and teams. At most tracks, a series of signal lights around the perimeter of the track duplicates the functions of some of the flags.
Flag - Black - A flag demanding a car and driver report to the pits either because the team is to be penalized, or because the car presents some sort of hazard that must be fixed. A driver who continues after that point will be disqualified. At many tracks, an electric
Flag - Black and Red together - Flags indicating the end of a practice or qualifying session. All cars should exit the track and go to the pits or garage area.
Flag - Black with a White X - Signals a racer that is ignoring a black flag that if he/she does not come in they will cease scoring that car.
Flag - Blue with Yellow stripe - A signal to lapped cars to move out of the way of faster cars.
Flag - Checkered (Black and White) - The race is over. This flag is always shown first to the winner; each car gets to complete the lap that it is on, and then the race ends.
Flag - Crossed flags - Two flags furled up and used to form an "X" and shown to the drivers - It indicates that half of the distance of the race has been completed. Usually, in oval-track racing, the rules stipulate that once one-half of the scheduled distance has been completed, if some condition (such a weather) ocurres the race is concluded.
Flag - Green and Yellow together - Used to indicate the start of a race, when it is necessary to start the race under caution. This might occur, for example, if it has rained before race time, the track is still damp, and the race needs to start by a certain time in order to meet television time constraints. Also the race cars put heat onto the track from their headers and exhaust helping dry it.
Flag - Green - Start racing, or resumes racing. The green flag is waved at the start of the race, and at the end of every caution period; it remains out until the next caution period, or the end of the race.
Flag - Red - Race halted; all cars must drive slowly around to the start-finish line (or some other point designated by the officials) and then stop. Used when the track is blocked, or needs repair, or to signal a scheduled break in the race or when weather conditions
Flag - Red with Yellow "X" - Used by NASCAR to indicate that the pits are closed (in all of the NASCAR professional series, when a caution occurs, the pits are closed until the pace car has entered the track and the field is formed up behind it). An official positioned at the pit entrance is the person that displays this flag.
Flag - White - One more lap remains in the race. In NASCAR, a car may not pit or receive any form of assistance (for instance, a push from another car) after taking the white flag.
Flag - Yellow - Caution period indicates that a wreck has occurred, or some other unsafe condition.
Flat Out - To run a racecar at maximum speed.
Flat Spot - A portion of a tire worn down excessively due to locking the brakes or spinning the car.
Flip Ups - An aerodynamic device located in front of the rear wheels to direct airflow over the back tires.
Footprint - The portion or amount of area of the tread that contacts the road.
Free - The same as loose. A handling condition (known as "over-steer" to road racers) where, when the car goes through a corner, the rear end of the car wants to slide towards the outside of the turn. If the car gets loose enough, it will spin out.
Fresh Rubber - New tires.
Front Clip - Beginning at the firewall, the front most section of a racecar.
Fuel Cell -A type of fuel tank that has a rubber (or similar) inner lining, to contain the fuel if the outer tank is punctured. Most also contain a foam or metal-mesh filling, which prevents fuel sloshing and keeps the flame out of the tank if a fire occurs.
Fuel Check - An area of technical inspection in which fuel is tested for compliance.
Fuel Injection - (F.I.) A system replacing conventional carburetion, which delivers fuel under pressure directly into the combustion chamber.
Fuel Pump - A device that pumps fuel from the fuel cell through the fuel line into the carburetor.
Fuel Stint - The amount of laps or time run on a full tank of fuel.
Full Bore - Running as fast as possible.
Full-Face - A helmet that covers the entire face and head. When used with a head sock, it provides full-uninterrupted coverage of the driver's upper body against fire, and the enclosure of the mouth prevents the driver from inhaling the flame during a fire.
Full Floater - A type of rear axle where the axle housing extends all the way out to the wheels, and the wheels are held on bearings fastened to the ends of the housing tubes. Works in conjunction with drive plates.
Garage Area - A covered or enclosed area, usually in the infield of an oval track, where the racecars are stored and worked in when not on the track. The garage area is the place for performing repairs that are more extensive than possible in the pits.
Gas Catcher - Pit crew member that is responsible for the catch can. This person may also perform other duties during a pit stop. NASCAR has eliminated the gas catcher position for pit stops.
Gasman - The member of the pit crew who refuels the car. In stock car racing this person must lift heavy cans of racing gasoline (Usually 22 gallons weighing about 87 lbs. or 40 kg) up to the car's filler inlet.
Gasoline Alley - The garage area at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Gather/Gathered It Up - Regaining control of a racecar after becoming loose or spinning.
Gathered Up - A car becoming involved in a wreck not his/her fault. Being
Gearbox - Racing term for a transmission.
Give Up - Gradual or drastic deterioration of a tires performance during use.
Graining - A pattern of nearly parallel ridges on a tires tread. Cause by over aggressive driving on a tire that has a compound that is usually too soft or has not been allowed to be brought up to a good operating temperature.
Grand National - The original name for what is now known as the NASCAR Winston Cup series. The Grand National name was adopted in the early '50s, and persisted until 1971 when the series named was changed to Winston Cup, after its title sponsor. To make things more confusing the tiotal sponsor was later changed to Nextel; then Sprint; and then later Monster. Monster ended it sponsorship at the end of 2018.
Gray - Area on a paved track where nobody runs, particular in the corners. Sometimes it actually is visibly a lighter color than the groove. The gray area is often full of marbles and other loose material that causes a severe loss of traction for any car that goes there.
Green - (1) The state of the track when a green flag is in effect; the opposite of a caution period. (2) A track which is either newly paved, or has experienced heavy rain since the last time the track was raced on, or just hasn't been used in a while. A "green" race track is very abrasive and wears tires quickly.
Green and Yellow Flags together - Used to indicate the start of a race, when it is necessary to start the race under caution. This might occur, for example, if it has rained before race time, the track is still damp, and the race needs to start by a certain time in order to meet televisio
Green Flag - Start racing, or resumes racing. The green flag is waved at the start of the race, and at the end of every caution period; it remains out until the next caution period, or the end of the race.
Greenhouse - The area inside the racecar, generally referring to the top inside part of the racecar, where the driver sits. The greenhouse area is basically from the windshield to the back deck lid, and from the doorframes up.
Green Track - A track which is either newly paved, or has experienced heavy rain since the last time the track was raced on, or just hasn't been used in a while. A "green" track lacks the accumulation of tire rubber that builds up when the track is raced on, which chan
Green/White/Checkered - When a caution occurs near the end of a race, the series officials may choose to go passed the advertised race length to get the race in under green. They may finish the caution and then go green for one lap, followed by the white flag indicting one lap to go.
Grenade - An engine built to go very fast for a few laps, for qualifying. Grenade engines are usually built with lightweight parts and will often blow in spectacular fashion if run for more than a handful of laps.
Grid - The starting order of the field, in the physical positions that they will actually start the race. Also refers to the part of the track where cars are assembled pre-race.
Groove - The line or path through a corner which drivers have found to be the fastest. Where the groove is depends on a huge number of factors, such as the type of paving, the car weight, tires, downforce, driving style, track and weather conditions.
Handling - A general term for the race car's capability to go where the driver wants it to go on the track, and be fast in the process. See loose and push.
HANS Device - Head and Neck Restraint System. A driver restraining system that straps over the driver shoulder and securely attaches the helmet to anchors to reduce the snapping motion of the driver's neck during an impact.
Happy Hour - The final hour of practice before an event, usually held the day before the race day and after all qualifying sessions and support races have been staged.
Hard Charger - The driver that has passed the most cars in the race.
Harness - The safety belt system worn by a race driver. The basic racing harness is a "five-point" unit; The five-point harness consists of five straps. Two are located at the shoulders, two at the hips, and one at the crotch that all come to connect to a buckle release mechanism.
Hat Dance - A routine performed by the winning driver where he is photograph in victory lane with each of the sponsors and sanctioning bodies hats.
Hauling The Mail - A term used by drivers to describe going really fast.
Head Sock - A fireproof hood that covers the entire face (except eyeholes), head, and neck. Usually worn under a full-face helmet. Also referred to as a "balaclava".
Head Wrench - Slang term for a race team's crew chief.
Headers - Fine-tuned tubular exhaust system routing exhaust from engine. Replaces conventional cast exhaust manifolds.
Heat Cycle - Refers to the number of times a tire is run up to operating temperature and then allowed to fully cool.
High Groove - The line or path on the track nearest to the outer wall. Where the groove is depends on a huge number of factors, such as the type of paving, the car weight, tires, downforce, driving style, track and weather conditions,
Hitting Your Marks - The best spots on the track to either get on or off the throttle. Also may refer to the best line or spots on the track in which to run.
Hooked Up - A car that is performing great because all parts are working well together.
Hot (track or pits) - The condition of the track and pits when racecars are on the track (whether at speed or not). For safety reasons, tracks have restrictions on who can be in the pits or garage area when the track is hot.
Hot lap - Running at race speed or near race speed during practice or testing.
Hot Shoe - Slang term for a fast driver.
Humpy's House - The Charlotte Motor Speedway
Hunting the Bottom - Slang term for a racecars ability to cut into the turn well and stay on the bottom of a corner.
Independent - A driver who owns his own racing team, and relies on race winnings as much or more than sponsorship money to finance his racing.
Inner Liner - A safety device for racing tires. An inner liner is a sort of tire-within-a-tire; it has its own air containment and its own valve stem separate from the main carcass of the tire.
Inside Line - The shortest line around the track. Also, the part of the track that is closest to the infield.
Inspection - A specific set of guidelines set by the race officials that all competitors must adhere to. Generally, there are two main categories of inspection, safety and rules inspection.
Interval - The time-distance between two cars. Referred to roughly in car lengths, or precisely in seconds.
IROC - International Race of Champions. Sanctions like prepared cars and features selected drivers from different forms of racing.
Jack Man - The member of a pit crew who operates the jack.
Jack Post - Sturdy post or rail on the side of the car where the jack man places the jack.
Jet - When air is sent at a high velocity through the carburetor, jets direct the fuel into the airstream. Jets are made slightly larger to make a richer mixture or slightly smaller to make a more lean mixture, depending on track and weather conditions.
Jumping The Start - When a driver anticipates the start (green flag) too early. This will cause a complete restart. Continued violations will result in a penalty.
Kitty Litter - Slang term for Speedy Dry or other granular substances used to soak up oil, gas, or water spills.
Lapped Traffic - Cars that have completed at least one full lap less than the race leader.
Late Apex - Turning into a corner late and missing the optimum apex point.
Lateral G's - Sideway force experienced while turning.
Lead Foot - Slang term for a driver who is very fast, but is also rough on equipment and doesn't know when to take it easy. Lead foot drivers win many races, but they also break cars and crash a lot.
Lean - Running and lower fuel to air mixture. Drivers trying to conserve fuel will "run their engines lean" by using a decreased fuel/increased air mixture.
Let Go - Term to describe when an engine fails or "blows up." Also when other parts of a car fail.
Lexan - A trade name of General Electric used for a durable thermal resistant plastic material used where transparent material is required (i.e.. face plates, goggles, windows, etc.):
Lift - To let off the gas pedal
Lights Out - When the lights on the pace car, emergency vehicles, and track lights go out. Usually when the starter is ready to display a green flag during the last lap before the start or restart.
Line - The route taken by a driver, especially through a turn. The high line is a route close to the wall. A low line is closer to the track's infield and shortest distance around the track.
Linear Spring - A spring that compresses at a steady rate. For example, 1-inch of deflection for each 200 pounds applied. See Progressive spring.
Lock Down - To apply the brakes hard enough to totally lock the wheels during a spin.
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.
Loose - A handling condition (known as "over-steer" to road racers) where, when the car goes through a corner, the rear end of the car wants to slide towards the outside of the turn. If the car gets loose enough, it will spin out. Loose is the opposite of push an
Low Groove - The line or path on the track nearest to the infield. This is the shortest distance around the track but in some conditions it may not be the fastest.
Lug Nuts - Threaded nut that when screwed onto the lugs, attaches the wheel to hub.
Lugs - Threaded stem or bolts that connects the wheel to the hub with lug nuts.
Magnaflux - The process of using a special electromagnet and magnetic powder to detect cracks in iron, which may be invisible to the naked eye. Used to check chassis and engine components to detect potential problems before they occur.
Marbles - Loose pieces of rubber or debris above the upper groove on the racetrack.
Midget - An open wheel car formula using short wheelbase chassis with driver enclosed in a roll cage and the engine in front of the driver. Midget cars run on ovals exclusively. Engines are usually 4-cylinder, normally aspirated.
Minimum Weight - The lowest allowed weight for the vehicle in its class. Can be measured pre or post race.
Mirror Driving - Driving while paying an inordinate amount of attention to a car or cars behind (while paying less attention to one's own line); especially, driving so as to make it difficult for faster cars behind to pass.
Mount - Installing a tire on a rim or wheel.
NASCAR - National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The top promoter of stock car racing in the U.S.,
Nomex - A trademark for a fire-resistant fiber often used in fire suits. Originally invented by Du Pont for NASA in the early '60s, Nomex was introduced to racing in 1970, and has enormously improved the safety of the sport.
Nosing Over - When a race car's performance "flattens out" or doesn't pull down the straights anymore. Poor tuning or exceeding the engine's power range cause this.
Offset - The difference in weight between the left and ride sides of the car. On an oval track, handling is improved by having as much weight over to the left as possible, so car builders usually offset the weight to the left as much as the series rules allow.
On the Bubble - The last position available to qualify for the race.
One-more-lap Signal - A signal to the drivers that the green flag will be flown on the next lap. This usually consists of two things: the flagman holding up one finger, or a furled flag in the shape of a one, to the field and the pace car turning its flashing lights off.
Open Hand - Indicates that five laps remain in the race.
Out Brake - A driver gains time and position on an opponent by applying the brakes later and deeper into a corner.
Overall Diameter - The diameter of the inflated tire, without any load.
Overall Width - The distance between the outside of the two sidewalls, including lettering and designs. Also known as section width.
Overflow - Usually refers to the line from the radiator cap's relief valve. On a passenger car, this goes to a catch bottle, but on a racecar, it is usually allowed to vent. Some Stock cars bring the vent line out from under the hood cowl, so that escaping steam or water can be seen.
Oversteer - A handling condition (known as "loose") where, when the car goes through a corner, the rear end of the car wants to slide towards the outside of the turn. If the car gets loose enough, it will spin out. Oversteer is the opposite of push and under-steer.
Pace Car - A car, which comes onto the track, in front of the race leader, and leads the field whenever a caution flag is in effect. The pace car has two important functions: setting the permissible speed during yellow flag periods, and gradually bringing the field around to take the green flag.
Pace Lap - A lap just before the start of a race, where the pace car gradually brings the field up to racing speed. The purpose of the pace lap is to prevent big discrepancies in speed between different cars from developing; having all cars start the race at nearly the same speed.
Paddock - A road racer's term for what oval-track racers call the garage area. Sometimes, however, the "paddock" does not actually contain garages, but is simply an open area away from the racing surface, where cars can be worked on.
Panhard Bar - In a rear suspension, a lateral bar that prevents the axle from moving left or right. It is generally attached to the end of the axle housing on the left, and to a frame bracket on the right. Also called a track bar.
Parade Lap - The first lap taken by the field as the cars get under way, before the start of the race. The parade lap is run at a very slow speed. Its purpose is mainly ceremonial.
Pick - Refers to when a car is trying to pass another car, the car under attack may pass closely by a slower car, such that the slower car is on the same side as the attacking car. The attacking car then has to back off, and get in line with the lead car in order to pass the slower car.
Pick Up - Debris built up on the tires consisting of rubber bits or stones.
Pinched - When a racecar squeezes another car into the inside or outside wall.
Pit Board - A signboard on the end of a long pole that the pit crew uses as a flag to their driver, so that the driver can find the proper pit, and to indicate, when executing a pit stop, exactly where the driver should stop. (2) Back in the bad old days before radios; pit crews communicated messages to their drivers while racing by writing the message on a large chalk board and showing it to the driver as he raced by.
Pit Box - A rectangle painted on the pit lane that shows exactly the area where servicing is permitted for each team. (same as pit stall)
Pit Road/Pit Row/Pits - An area adjacent to the track surface (generally in the infield) where cars are serviced. The name comes from early days of racing in which the pits actually had holes or pits dug in the ground so the crew could work on the underside of the car.
Pit Stall - A rectangle painted on the pit lane that shows exactly the area where servicing is permitted for each team. (same as pit box)
Plate - A Restrictor Plate: A device used to control power at tracks where the cars would otherwise be too fast for safety or insurance reasons. The plate is a machined slab of aluminum, about 1/20" thick, with four holes of a specific size. The plate goes in between the carburetor and manifold.
Plate Engine - An engine designed to run with a restrictor plate.
Plowing - When the car is pushing up the track in the turns.
Plug Check - During a practice or a qualifying session, if a driver shuts off the engine while at full power and then coasts into the pits, it is generally so that the crew can perform a plug check. The spark plugs are removed and the electrodes and insulator examined
Ply - A rubber-coated layer of fabric containing cords that run parallel to each other; extends from bead to bead.
Pole - The first starting position in a race; the inside of the front row. But a driver in NASCAR has the option of choosing the inside or outside of the front row.
Pole Sitter - The car occupying the first position in a race or the fastest qualifier for a race.
Polish Victory Lap - An extra lap, run by the winner of a race, around the track in the reverse direction, and usually completed with a 180-degree spin at the start-finish line. The Polish victory lap was a creation of the late Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki. After winning a race; the winner will often do a Polish Victory lap in Alan's honor
Porpoising - An undesirable condition in which the racecar is bouncing up and down due to improper setup.
Powder Puff - A name used, back in the chauvinistic '60s, for a race or racing division where all the competitors were women. At many tracks, powder-puff races often consisted of wives of drivers or car owners in a very short race, using their husbands' cars.
Power Plant - Commonly used term for engines.
Primary Sponsor - The sponsor that puts up the bulk of the sponsorship money for a race team, and consequently gets the most exposure on the car.
Progressive Spring - A spring that needs an increasing amount of force to increase deflection. For example, 1-inch of deflection for the first 200 pounds but the 2nd inch of deflection needs 500 pounds instead of 400. See Linear spring.
Promoter - Someone who organizes a race, puts up the purse, gets race sponsors, handles advertising and ticket sales, and assumes the financial risk of putting on the race. The promoter might be a track owner, the owner of rights to a series, or an independent.
Promoter's Option - The traditional prerogative of the promoter, as the person who organizes a race, of designating one or more cars to start a race even though they failed to qualify.
Provisional Start - A system used by many touring series that provides extra starting spots in the main event for teams that participate in a series on a regular basis. Provisionals are generally based on point standings, earnings, or past championship victories.
Pucker Factor - A high level of fear over an incident or difficult racing situation... as in you but hole will pucker up.
Punt - To bump someone from behind, usually causing a spin.
Purging - Process of removing air from a tire and replacing it with drier air, nitrogen, or another gas in order to lower humidity in a tire. This may be repeated several times in order to achieve even lower humidity.
Purse - The total prize money to be awarded to the race participants by the promoter. See also contingency awards.
Push - A handling condition where the front wheels tend to slide when turning into a corner, which makes the car want to keep going straight. "Pushing like a dump truck" Push is the opposite of loose. Sometimes referred to as understeer.
Quad Oval - A tri-oval variant, which has two doglegs in the front straight instead of one, which increases the number of seats, which are directly in line with some part of the front straight. Charlotte and Texas are examples. (Atlanta, originally a conventional ova
Qualifying - The act of running a timed lap to earn a starting position in a race. In nearly all forms of oval track racing, qualifying consists of one car at a time running one or more laps to try to record the fastest time, for the best starting position. In road ra
Qualifying Trim -Special setup used during qualifying whose purpose is to make the car go as absolutely fast as possible for only one or two laps.
Quarter Midget - A miniature version of a Midget. Quarter midgets are very small single-seaters, similar in proportions to a kart, but with full bodywork and a sprung suspension. Most also have some type of roll cage.
Quarter Panel - The sheet metal on both sides of the car from the C-post to the rear bumper below the deck lid and above the wheel well.
Quick-Change - A type of rear end gear, which is designed so that the final drive ratio can quickly be changed without removing the rear end from the car.
Rake - Term used to describe the angle of the chassis compared to the ground.
Ratchet Rear End - A rear end gear that locks under acceleration, and unlocks when the driver lets off the throttle. Commonly used in oval-track racing, where it provides the straight-line acceleration of a locked rear end, without the cornering difficulties.
Rear Clip - The section of a race car that begins at the base of the rear windshield and extends to the rear bumper. Contains the car's fuel cell and rear-suspension components.
Rear End - Racer's term for the differential, the set of gears that transfers power from the driveshaft to the rear wheels. Racing rear ends may be locked. Stock cars usually require cooling fans or radiators to dissipate the heat that builds up
Red Flag - Race halted; all cars must drive slowly around to the start-finish line (or some other point designated by the officials) and then stop. Used when the track is blocked, or needs repair, or when weather conditions make it unsafe to continue even at caution
Red with Yellow "X" Flag - Used by NASCAR to indicate that the pits are closed (in all of the NASCAR professional series, when a caution occurs, the pits are closed until the pace car has entered the track and the field is formed up behind it). An official positioned at the pit entrance is the person that displays this flag.
Redline - Usually, the maximum RPM that an engine can be safely operated at; indicated by a red pointer or painted line on the tachometer. Many modern racing engines have a rev limiter that will momentarily cut off the ignition to prevent the redline from being exceeded and damaging the engine.
Restart - The term for the resumption of a race after a caution period.
Restrictor Plate - A device used to control power at tracks where the cars would otherwise be too fast for safety or insurance reasons. The plate is a machined slab of aluminum, about 1/20" thick, with four holes of a specific size. The plate goes in between the carburetor
Retaining Walls - Barriers lining the inside and outside of a racing surface used to contain cars and debris from the spectators.
Retire - As used in racing, to drop out of a race due to mechanical difficulties or irreparable damage. Also used, however, in the conventional sense, as in to retire from the sport.
Rev Limiter - A device that limits the maximum RPM that an engine can reach, usually by momentarily cutting out the ignition when the set limit is reached. The rev limiter (often a standard feature of modern racing electronic-ignition units) can be set to prevent the engine for over revving and damaging the engine.
Reverse Cooling - A method of routing engine coolant to reduce differences in temperature between different parts of the head in block. A conventional cooling system has coolant from the radiator flowing into the block's water jacket, where it flows upwards towards the top
Ride Height - The distance between the car's frame rails and the ground.
Riding the Rails - Used to describe a car or driver that is driving in the outer most portion of the track.
Rollback - A flatbed truck equipped with a winch, used to retrieve cars that have been so badly wrecked that they can't be towed.
Roll Bar / Roll Cage - The steel tubing inside the race car's interior. A U- or V-shaped bar that protrudes from the top deck of an open-cockpit car, higher than the driver's head, such that if the car rolls, the car's weight will land on the bar instead of the driver's neck.
Roll Center - The theoretical point where suspension components intersect. This defines the point of rotation for the "lean' or "roll' when cornering. In practice, this point changes as the suspension moves up and down.
Rolling Resistance - The measured drag create by a driving surface, the tire, drive train parts, or a combination of all. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy needed to keep a vehicle moving.
Rollout - The circumference of an inflated tire. The measured distance a tire will cover in one revolution.
Roof Flaps - A set of trap doors in the roof of a stock car. The roofs of these cars, since they are usually shaped somewhat in profile like an airplane wing, tend to generate lift when the car gets sideways, and on a superspeedway, this lift can be strong enough to a lift a car up and flip it over. The flaps open and allow air to excape and lets the car settle back onto the ground without flipping.
Roof Net - webbing, similar to a window net that covers the opening in the top of the roll cage. Its function is to keep the driver's arms in the car in case the roof sheet metal gets torn off the car in a roll or flip. Invented by Robert Yates and Davey Allison.
Roof Strips - Strips of metal that run lengthwise on the roof of a stock car. These are designed to disrupt the airflow over the car if it becomes sideways. This kills the lift created and keeps the car from becoming airborne.
Rookie - In general, a driver who is inexperienced in the type of cars he/she is currently running. In most series a rookie is required to put a yellow stripe on the back of their car to notify other drivers.
Roller - A complete racecar minus an engine.
Rounds - The number of revolutions a wrench, nut, or bolt is turned. One and a half rounds are one and half revolutions.
Rounds of Wedge - Adjusting the handling by changing the pressure of the rear springs. A wrench is inserted in a jack bolt attached to the springs, then turned
Roval - Slang term that combines the two words Road (course) and Oval. Describes an oval track such as Daytona or Homestead that has a road course in the infield. Events such as the Daytona 24 hour race use the road course as well as a large portion of the oval. In 2018 NASCAR was the road course and oval to have the first "roval" race in the Cup series.
Rub - Light contact between two cars or two parts.
Rubber - 1) The blend of rubber and other chemical and natural components that form the surface of a tire. Race tire rubber is not purely natural rubber, but a blend of natural and synthetic rubbers with chemicals and oils. 2) A semicircular wedge of rubber that is inserted between the turns of a coil spring to increase the spring's rate. Spring rubbers are often inserted into a spring prior to a race, when the team suspects that they will have to make a large handling adjustme
Rubbing - Minor contact between cars.
Running at Finish - A statistical classification; the opposite of DNF. A car is classified as having been running at the finish of a race if it crosses under the checkered flag. Note that this does not represent how many laps the car may have lost during the race.
Running the Double - Recent term for competing in the Indianapolis 500, and the Coca-Cola World 600 at Charlotte, in the same day.
SAFER Barrier - Steel and Foam Energy Reduction Barrier; is a technology found on oval automobile race tracks and high speed sections of road and street tracks, intended to absorb and reduce kinetic energy during the impact of a high speed crash, and thus, lessen injuries sustained to drivers and spectators. It consists of structural steel tubes welded together in a flush mounting, strapped in place to the existing concrete retaining wall. Behind these tubes are bundles of closed-cell polystyrene foam, placed between the barrier and wall. The theory behind the design is that the barrier absorbs a portion of the kinetic energy released when a race car makes contact with the wall. This energy is dissipated along a longer portion of the wall. The impact energy to the car and driver are reduced
Safety Bead - A hump that is present on the mounting flange of a wheel. This prevents the tire from unseating when air pressure is lost.
Safety Liner / Shield - Same as an inner liner. A safety device for racing tires. An inner liner is a sort of tire-within-a-tire; it has its own air containment and its own valve stem separate from the main carcass of the tire.
Sanctioning Body - An organization that sets and enforces the rules for a race or racing class or series.
Sawing On The Wheel - Expression describing when a driver turns the steering wheel back and forth in a rapid manner.
Scuff - Weaving across the track to warm up and/or clean off tires. Usually done before a race is about to restart.
Scuffs - In general, any tire that has been used, but usually refers specifically to tires that have been run for a few laps, removed from the car, allowed to cool, and then put aside for later use. Scuffing changes the physical characteristics of the rubber, gene
Seat Time - Used to describe time spent in a racecar.
Seize - When an engine locks up due to mechanical failure. This may result from overheating or a part breaking.
Self-Cleaning - Said of high-banked tracks, where wrecked cars and debris tend to slide off of the corners into the infield. Drivers at such a track have to be careful when approaching a spin or wreck in progress, since the out-of-control car will eventually slide off the track down the banking.
Setup (chassis) - The configuration of the chassis in order to achieve the desired handling. Generally this consists of a selection of springs, shocks, and other suspension components with the needed force and damping characteristics, plus adjustments like camber, caster, wedge, etc.
Shake Down - Testing a brand-new car or engine.
Sheet Time - Time spent in a hospital, or otherwise rehabilitating from an injury.
Shoe - Term used to refer to a racecar driver.
Shoot Out - Two or more driver's that are racing for the victory.
Side Bite - A general term used to describe the amount of force available to hold the car in the apex of a corner. In car setup, putting more side bite in usually refers to reducing the sliding motion of a car in the corner.
Silly Season - Slang for the period during the latter part of the current season, wherein some teams announce driver, crew, and/or sponsor changes for the following year.
Silver Crown - A type of car defined by USAC, and the USAC series that runs these cars. Silver Crown cars follow basic Sprint car design except they're longer, heavier, and slower. Silver Crown is sort of the successor to the old front-engine Championship roadster cars
Slicks - Racing tires having no tread design, in order to get the maximum amount of rubber in contact with the pavement.
Slide Job - A passing technique seen at dirt tracks. It involves diving into the bottom of a corner, under the car to be passed, at a speed far too high to maintain that line. As soon as the passer is clear of the car being passed, he allows the car to drift up the track in front of the other car forcing him to slow down.
Slideways - Slang term that combines the words sliding and sideways. Means doing a combination of both.
Slingshot - When a trailing car is able to draft and attain a higher speed, allowing it to run up on the leading car and pass.
Slipstream - The cavity of low-pressure area created by a moving object. In racing, drivers use this slipstream to draft another vehicle.
Snaking - On a superspeedway, driving a meandering path down a straight, in an attempt to cause following cars to get out of line and lose the draft.
Soft Walls - A type of racetrack wall construction that uses softer materials and spacer designs to absorb impact energy.
Speedway - A racetrack.
Speedy-Dry - A trade name for a granular mix of sand, cement, and resin used to soak up spilled oil, water, etc., from a racetrack. Has become the generic name in racing circles for any material used to soak up a spill.
Spin and Win - A race in which a car spins during the race but then ends up winning.
Splash-and-Go - A very short pit stop in which a small amount of fuel is added to the car and no tires are changed. Often seen near the end of a race, when a team calculates that they will be just short of having enough fuel to finish the race.
Spoiler - An aerodynamic device used to increase downforce. On a Stock car, there typically is a spoiler on the rear edge of the deck lid, which produces downforce on the rear by causing air to "pile up" against the deck lid. Front spoilers were once similar, but n
Sponsor - A person or company who gives support money and/or products to a series, driver and/or team in exchange for advertising or some other benefit.
Spotter - Found in series where drivers are permitted to use radios. A spotter is someone who sits in a high place (typically on top of a grandstand roof) and watches their car, and the track ahead of their car. The spotter advises the driver when there is a car to
Spring - Coil springs are located at each corner of the chassis. The springs determine how much weight is transferred to each corner of the car. The springs are mounted in such a way that they can be adjusted up or down to change ride heights. Springs are rated by
Spring Rate - Amount of force measured in pounds needed to achieve a certain amount of deflection. Used in rating springs and tires.
Spring Rubber - A semicircular wedge of rubber that is inserted between the turns of a coil spring to increase the spring's rate. Spring rubbers are often inserted into a spring prior to a race, when the team suspects that they will have to make a large handling adjustme
Sprint - An open wheel style of cars similar to, but somewhat larger than, Midgets. Engines are generally V-8, normally aspirated, and injected. Sprints are run on both dirt and paved ovals. Sprint cars are divided into two broad categories: winged and non-winged. Not to be confused with Sprint Car (NASCAR race cars that raced when Sprint sponsored the series)
Spun Bearing - A type of engine failure. The main bearings (that hold the crankshaft in place in the block), and the rod bearings (that connect the rod to the crankshaft) consist of thin semi-circular pieces of special metal alloys that contain the rotating parts, and t
Squat - The action and ability of a race cars rear end to stay down in order to get good contact and grip.
Squirrelly - Used to describe an ill handling car, usually loose.
Stagger - A difference in circumference between the left-side and right side tires on a car. In a car with a locked rear end, rear-tire stagger will make the car want to continuously turn in the direction of the side with the smaller circumference tire.
Start and Park - Term to describe a car that starts the race then pulls into the garage after only one or a few green flag laps. This is usually done for several reasons: to fill out the field to meet the advertised car count, pick up prize money for a finish without spen
Starting Shotgun - occurs when a driver starts last in a race.
Start-Finish Line - A line on the track where the race officially begins and ends. The flagman's stand is usually at the start-finish line.
Sticker Tires - Tires that have never been run on a car, and still have the manufacturer's sticker on them. The stickers can easily be seen on the tires when a car equipped with sticker tires leaves the pits. See also scuffs.
Stop-and-Go - A type of penalty, which calls for the driver to drive the car to the pits, stops, and then immediately leaves again. This penalty is usually imposed for moderate infractions, such as going too fast in the pits, or passing improperly during a restart.
Stopping Short - A type of pit strategy which involves making a pit stop prior to the time where tire wear or fuel depletion would make it necessary. This strategy is often employed at tracks where the average lap time is greater than the time required to make a pit stop.
Stringing - A procedure for checking the toe of the front wheels. Basically, it consists of running a string down the side of the car; with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead, the distance between the front edge of the wheel and the string, and the rear edge of of the wheel.
Stroking - Driving conservatively so as to preserve the equipment and stay out of accidents. Drivers who do this consistently are known as "strokers".
Submarining - A term for when the driver slides out from under the lap belt in a high-speed frontal impact.
Surface Plate - A large flat metal surface used as a dimensionally stable and level platform for the construction or alignment of a chassis. They are perfectly level and usually where the chassis of a race car is assembled.
Sway Bar - See anti-roll bar. Bar used to resist or counteract the rolling force of the car body through the turns.
Tacky - A track condition where the racing surface is slightly wet and sticky.
Taking Rubber - A track term describing when a racetrack starts to take rubber from the tires begins to stick to the surface, creating an tackier condition for race tires to adhere to. The tracks is less abbrasive and tires wear slower as the track takes more rubber.
Taking the Air - When two cars are close together and the lead car has less air being applied to its rear spoiler. This causes the car to have less rear downforce, which causes it to be loose in the turns.
Talent - Used to describe a driver
Tear-Off - A layer of clear plastic that covers the windshield on a race car or a visor on a full-face helmet. The tear-off is attached with a weak adhesive, and has a tab so that a pit crew member (or driver) can rip it off and remove it when it becomes dirty. Some tear-offs have several layers, each with its own tab to tear it off.
Tech - Short for Technical Inspection, an area and/or process in which Officials inspect vehicles for rule and regulation compliance.
Telemetry - A radio system that gathers data about the car's performance from sensors, and passes that data directly to the pits via radio, without any effort on the part of the driver.
Template - A metal, wood, or plastic cutout used to check the body dimensions of a car. Often used for Stock cars, which must conform to rules which require the body shape and heighth maintain the body shape of a production car model. The templates hold the car bodies to tight tolerances up to thousands of an inch.
Ten-Tenths - Slang term for running at the maximum.
Tethers - steel cables which are attached to the car's wheel hubs and assembly, as well as the hood and various pieces of sheet metal, to prevent these parts from flying off the car during a high speed crash.
Tight - A handling condition where the front wheels tend to slide when turning into a corner, which makes the car want to keep going straight. Also called push or understeer. Tight is the opposite of loose and oversteer.
Tire Rub - When a tire is coming in contact with part of the car.
Tire Run - The amount of laps or time run during the useful life of a set of tires.
Tire Shake - A drag racing phenomenon when a loss of traction and/or tire distortion causes the tires to shake violently. Normally, the car becomes out of control and the driver's vision is blurred from the movement. See also back-pedaling.
Tire Stint - The amount of laps or time run during the useful life of a set of tires.
Tire Wear - The loss of rubber from tire treads due to use.
Toe - (1) This is the area of the bead that describes the point of termination of the bead. (2) One of the three major suspension geometry adjustments. It is the angle of the wheels, relative to the car's forward motion.
Toe Steer - Changes in the direction of a wheel or wheels due to deflection of suspension parts. Usually during cornering or driving on an uneven surface.
Top End - (1) The parts of the engine above the cylinders, including the cylinder heads and valves. Compare with bottom end. (2) The part of an engine's RPM range near the redline.
Top End Power - The amount a car accelerates at high speeds or in its highest gear.
Track Bar - In a Stock car rear suspension, a lateral bar that prevents the axle from moving left or right. It is generally attached to the end of the axle housing on the left, and to a frame bracket on the right. Also called a Panhard bar.
Tracking - The direction an object is moving. May be different than the direction the object is pointing.
Traction - The friction between the tires and the road surface; the amount of grip provided.
Trading Paint - Slang term used to describe aggressive driving involving a lot of bumping and rubbing.
Trail Braking - When the brake is applied after steering into a curve. Traditionally in racing, brakes are applied while the front wheels are still steering straight. Trail braking may allow deeper braking into a corner, but if not done properly can very quickly result i
Trailing Arm - A rear suspension piece holding the rear axle firmly fore and aft yet allowing it to travel up and down.
Tramping - A state in which a vehicle bounces up and down abnormally. If the bouncing is localized to the rear tires while under power, the car is said to be experiencing "wheel hop".
Transponder - A small electronic box, attached at the same point in each car, that sends out a small signal every time it crosses a fixed scoring point.
Tread Depth - The usable thickness of the tread. Small pinholes, called depth holes, are placed in the tread so tread depth can be measured.
Tri-Oval - An oval track where the front straight is built with a dogleg (the word "tri-oval" is also the name used for the dogleg itself). The main advantage of this type of track is that, for fans in the front straight sitting around the curve of the dogleg, the fans have a curved area to view the race cars.
Turbulence - Swirling, disrupted air.
Turn In - Location on the track where the driver starts to turn the steering wheel to enter the turn.
Turn Out - Location on the track where a driver turns the steering wheel back for exiting a turn.
Two Hundred MPH Tape - Also known as "racer's tape." Highly adhesive Duct tape strong enough to hold parts of the racecars body together at high speed.
Understeer - A handling condition where the front wheels tend to slide when turning into a corner, which makes the car want to keep going straight. Also called push or tight. The opposite of loose and over-steer.
Undertray - A portion of the underbody of a car that is sculpted to increase downforce.
Un-Lap - When a driver down one lap passes the leader to regain their position on the lead lap.
Un-Sprung Weight - The weight of the wheel, tire, and suspension parts that are not supported by the springs. More un-sprung weight means more inertia in the suspension, which usually means less responsiveness and poorer handling.
Valance - A panel that extends below the vehicles front bumper. This is used to divert air around the car and not allow it to travel under the car. This helps with increasing downforce.
Valve - A device used to start and stop the flow of a liquid or a gas.
Valve Core - This is the core of a valve stem. The core is depressed to apply or remove air from the tire through the stem. The core can be removed from the stem to increase the airflow.
Valve Float - What happens when an engine is run at an RPM higher than what the valve train is capable of operating at, resulting in the valves' failing to close completely during the compression stroke. Valve float causes loss of power and usually leads to engine damage
Valve Stem - An assembly, metal or rubber that houses a valve cap to keep out dirt and moisture and a valve core to prevent air from escaping.
Valve Train - All parts related to the function of the valves.
Venturi - An area of a device that reduces area in order to speed up flow.
Victory Lane - An area on or inside the track where the winner is honored after the end of the race.
Walking the Dog - Describes a driver who was lucky enough to hit the proper setup and is running away from the field.
War Wagon - A large pit cart usually stocked with all the necessary components to rebuild a racecar after a wreck. These carts become popular in most all-traveling series when access to the team's trailer during a race was limited. These wagons have grown to where they have about everything to do quick damage repair to a race car; has spare parts; tools; and even is large enough for the crew chief and about 7 other people to sit on.
Wedge - In Stock cars, the dynamic weight balance of the car from corner to corner using a jackscrew at each corner, attached to the spring mount; turning the screw transfers weight to or from that wheel, altering the handling characteristics.
Weight - A measured piece of metal usually lead attached to a wheel by tape or clamped on. Used to balance a tire/wheel assembly to reduce vibration.
Weight Jacking - The art of shifting a portion of the weight of a car to certain wheels or corners to improve tire grip and the cars handling.
Weight Transfer - The dynamics of weight being transferred. Side to side during cornering, to the rear wheels during acceleration and to the front during deceleration or braking.
Wheelbase - The length of a vehicle when measured from the center of the front hub to the center of the rear hub.
Wheel Hop - A hopping action of the rear wheels during heavy acceleration. Traction is lost and regained in rapid cycles after power is applied to the rear wheels.
White Flag - A flag displayed to indicate one more lap remains in the race.
Window Net - Tight webbing that covers most of the left-side window of a Stock car, next to the driver. It prevents the driver's head and left arm from going out of the window in a left-side impact or roll, and it keeps crash debris from flying in the window and striking the driver.
Windscreen - The windshield or a transparent fiberglass surface on the front of a car designed to aid airflow and deflect turbulent air from the driver.
Wind Tunnel - Controlled environment in which cars are tested against a generated airflow. Used to test and improve aerodynamic characteristics of a racecar and its components.
Winston Cup - NASCAR's top Stock car racing series whose primary sponsor was RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company who manufactures Winston cigarettes. Prior to 1982, this was referred to as the Grand National division. Primary sponsorship was changed to Nextel in 2004; then later was Sprint and after that it was Monster.
Wire-to-Wire - A driver who wins the race from the pole position.
WoO - World of Outlaws, a sanctioning body that sanctions Sprint car events across the United States. WoO cars are noted for their large wings (as opposed to USAC sprints, which aren't allowed wings).
Worst to First - When a car starts in the back at the beginning of a race and then wins in the end he is said to go from worst to first.
Wrap - A vehicle wrap consists of a design which is developed by a designer. It includes everything that would be painted or decaled on a race car; only it is laid out as one continuous large "decal" then printed on special vinyl wrap and laminated, and finally installed or “wrapped” on a vehicle. The wrap is applied directly to the vehicle. The application is so precise it is often mistaken for a custom paint job. The weight of a wrap is surprising light; as it weighs less than what the paint would weigh were it applied to the car.
Yellow Flag - A flag indicating that a wreck has occurred, or some other condition (such as rain, debris, or spilled oil) has made the track unsafe for racing at speed. In oval-track racing, when the yellow is in effect, all cars must slow to a safe speed. The pace car will pick up the leader of the race and passing is not allowed.
Yellow Stripe - In many oval track series, a rookie driver is required to put yellow strips of tape on rear of their car. The purpose of this is to warn other drivers that they are approaching an inexperienced driver.
Yellow Tail - Slang term for a rookie driver. In most series rookies are required to have a yellow stripe on the back of their car.
Zig Zagging - Weaving across the track to warm up and/or clean off tires.