Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Can NASCAR Survive?

I love NASCAR. I watch the races on TV, go to the tracks, I even driven on several of the super speedways.

Every wonder what fascinates guys about NASCAR?

It is explosions, not wrecks -- explosions.

Every since the 9th century when the Chinese invented gun powder, men have been fascinated about explosions. The sound, the power - fascinating as Spock would say.

What we have tried very successfully to do in auto racing is harness the power of an explosion and turn it into something useful - like motion.

When an 4 cylinder engine is turning 9,000 RPMs that's 9,000 explosions per minute. In a big stock car V-8, that's 18,000 explosions per minute Success!

Formula 1 cars shriek, Indy cars whine but stock cars roar. You can hear the explosions and the power. Stand close enough grand national stock car you can actually feel the power.

If you go to Daytona for either of the two NASCAR races, the ground actually trembles on the starting lap. Now that's sound and fury.

I am one of those guys that routes the TV race sound thru the stereo, all 500 watts or so, and when they say crank it up -- I do. The Bose speakers leap to life.

The dogs hide, the bird puts her head under her wing, the wine glasses rattle. I think I have actually seen the curtains flutter.

Explosions at their absolute best. I love it!

This week there was a lot of press about electric cars. I think they are the wave of the future. We are one breakthrough away from the electric powered vehicle going viral as they say. It will either be in electric motor technology or battery science. There are literally thousands of researchers working on the problem as you read this.

What happens to NASCAR when cars go electric?

No explosions. No sound, no fury, no ground trembling just silence or a soft whoooosh as they blow by at 200MPH.

To get a feel for how all of this might work, during this weeks race, I set up a large fan, cranked up the stereo and then simply pushed MUTE and turned on the fan.

The silence was deafening. Even my Coors Light didn't look as inviting

I can't imagine what it would be like in the grandstands. You would actually have to talk to the person next to you because you could hear them.

NASCAR needs to start a research program on a noisy electric motor because without the sound and the fury, it just won't be NASCAR.

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