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OT: Traction Control in NASCAR ???


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#1 Locai

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 17:59

I saw Dr. Jerry Punch on RPM2Nite last night. The subject of traction control in NASCAR came up. I guess he had asked Bill France Jr. recently about it. France said that he would personally chop up any car they ever caught using it and ban the driver, owner, and anybody from the team for life.

Apparantly, this is NASCAR's dirty little secret. From the sounds of it, a lot of teams are using it. Jerry mentioned that he's heard of it being planted in the alternator, in the dash board guages, and even in the driver's helmet; anywhere that can be hidden (and preferably someplace where it can easily be removed). He mentioned that somebody (didn't say who) has the control in their helmet and can activate it by keying their headset mic.

Has anybody else got more insight into this? How prevalent is this?

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#2 Ali_G

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:02

Locai: From what I know about NASCAR, and its not too much, each engine contains NO electronics what so ever, so there really is no way that TC can be done.

Niall

#3 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:12

Its got sparkplugs doesnt it? Its generally accepted that on the road courses they've all got TC

#4 Ali_G

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:15

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Its got sparkplugs doesnt it? Its generally accepted that on the road courses they've all got TC


Well I mean no Electronic Circuitry.

Even if they had TC your very unlikley to get wheelspin while on an Oval.

ALso, isn't it only the Busch series which race on Road Courses.

Niall

#5 Paste

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:16

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Its got sparkplugs doesnt it? Its generally accepted that on the road courses they've all got TC


Generally accepted where? Never heard of that before.

#6 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:23

Kinda what I call 'industry buzz'

plane gets delayed so you have an airport lounge filled with team owners, engineers, and drivers. You learn some pretty interesting stuff after a few drinks ;) Im not saying any of it is factually proven, but there's enough evidence that if you connect the dots you come up with some fascinating tidbits.

I think the ASA guys are using TC *everywhere* and Ali_g in a stock car you most definately get wheelspin on an oval, even the highbanked ones

#7 Ali_G

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:25

Ross, I just can't understand how you can have TC in an engine, which has NO engine management system.

Pseudo TC could be created true good tuning etc, plus there is always the liitle bang - big bang theory.

Niall

#8 Paste

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:27

haha.. Nice :up:

You should divulge more of these secrets, Ross. Care for a couple of drinks?? :drunk:

#9 Todd

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:31

Originally posted by Ali_G
Ross, I just can't understand how you can have TC in an engine, which has NO engine management system.

Pseudo TC could be created true good tuning etc, plus there is always the liitle bang - big bang theory.

Niall


It is easy enough. The engines have ignitions, which determine when the spark plugs fire. If you monitor the rate of rotation of an engine component, say the rotor for the distributor, you can look for spikes, by which I mean times when the engine speed increases at a rate that is faster than the car could accelerate. The spikes mean that the tires have lost traction and are spinning. When the TC circuit in the distributor sees that, it would ****** the spark timing for a rotation or two.

#10 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:34

Thing ive never understood about TC allegations in any series, is that surely you'd hear it. The average fan might not, but someone with a trained ear, like definately a driver, would notice how the engine note changes when and where it shouldnt. I mean TC now in F1 is obnoxiously apparent, and even though there are multiple ways there'd have to be audible evidence. Only exception I can think of is the 'soft' limiter Ilmor developed for the Indy500 but that high in the RPM range at the end of a straight the RPM fluctuation would be so much slower than trying to put power down coming out of a hairpin

#11 Ali_G

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:35

Originally posted by Todd


It is easy enough. The engines have ignitions, which determine when the spark plugs fire. If you monitor the rate of rotation of an engine component, say the rotor for the distributor, you can look for spikes, by which I mean times when the engine speed increases at a rate that is faster than the car could accelerate. The spikes mean that the tires have lost traction and are spinning. When the TC circuit in the distributor sees that, it would ****** the spark timing for a rotation or two.


Todd, I'm fairly sure you'd need fairly advanced circuitry whcih would be very easily found by any NASCAR official.

It owuld be a lot harder to find TC hidden in a more advanced engine like an F1 engine (pre Spain 2001)

Niall

#12 ForzaF1

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 20:40

There's a thread on this topic in the the tech forum (http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=44242) which makes for interesting reading.

It never occured to me that there might be TC in NASCAR, but NASCAR like any big time race series has always had some "imaginative" engineering going on (despite the ban on technical development in that series.) There are some very interesting articles linked from that thread which imply that the use of TC in NASCAR is fairly common. All though there is no engine management system, the cars do have ignition systems and small TC units can be hidden in the car, or even installed by the driver at the start of the race and removed by him as he exits the car. No wheel speed sensors are needed (all though one article implies that they can be hidden in other componants) the system can simply measure the rate of change in rpms and detect wheel spin that way.

#13 Paste

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 21:12

Maybe the Jeff Gordon "Superman" car had TC, I think they chopped it up. Hendrick Motorsports (Gordon's team) built a car that took the regulations to the limits and they went out and blew everyone away. NASCAR didn't like it!

#14 Locai

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 21:22

Well, I've always heard them say during the broadcasts that the drivers are driving "on the edge" and that it often doesn't take much more to lose the rearend grip.

As far as being able to hear TC kick in, I'm not too sure how you could really hear it with 43 cars on the track at the same time. Especially at some of the shorter tracks you have cars spread out all around the track all the time. Being able to hear a "miss" in the engine and being able to point out exactly which car would take one heckuva good ear. :eek:


I don't know if this is related in anyway, but when I took my car in recently to get my emissions certification they hung some kind of a sensor above the engine to somehow pickup the RPM's. I suppose that some kind of a non-invasive system could somehow be in-use by NASCAR teams to pickup the RPM's to trigger a traction control system.

#15 Tec Freak

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 23:18

Sorry folks, I'm not buying this theory.

The bottom line is that to run tc, you need a microprocessor and it would be pitfully easy for the NASCAR tech guys to find either the processor or the wiring running to it (assuming the driver is "palming" a plug-in module). All of the other "electronics" in a NASCAR stocker are "state-of-the-art in 1955" and there would be no credible explaination for a microprocessor or related wiring in the vehicle.

This is in addition to the "little" problem that TC implemented with spark interruption is incredibly easy to detect audibly and nobody's ever heard that sound in a NASCAR stocker (or at least one that's not limping into the pits).

TC was a problem in F1 and CART because the cars had virtually every item of hardware needed to implement TC (including drive-by-wire throttles which can be used to implement a form of TC and which do NOT make any sound) and the hardware was legal. Detecting TC thus became a matter of checking software code, which was beyond the FIA's capabilities.

All the credible NASCAR cheating stories I've heard are low-tech, like putting balsa blocks in the springs to temporarily raise the ride height or (my favorite) filling the door panels with BB's and dumping them on the warm-up lap to beat the minimum weight requirements.

#16 RiverRunner

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 23:29

Originally posted by Tec Freak


All the credible NASCAR cheating stories I've heard are low-tech, like putting balsa blocks in the springs to temporarily raise the ride height or (my favorite) filling the door panels with BB's and dumping them on the warm-up lap to beat the minimum weight requirements.


I love the tricks they pull in NASCAR and some are pretty clever.
Some of my faves:
The sliding lead block to keep car balance as the fuel tank emptied.
Slide the lead to the back and presto,balanced car.
The manifold that had a hidden block inside it,it would conform to NASCAR specs,yet when under a load had a block of alunminum that would depress and allow more air in.
I'm sure there are countless other things they've tried,so I wouldn't put it pass them to try TC.From what I saw at the Sonoma race there was sure a suspicious amount of broken ring gears in the rear ends.

#17 John B

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 02:56

The NASCAR cheating stories are indeed entertaining, going all the way back to the first days of the sport. I've heard tales of the nitrous shot on the Daytona backstretch where someone would suddenly just take off and blow by other cars. I would imagine even a crude TC setup would be crucial in today's NASCAR. The field seems quite even (19 diff cars won last year) and you see so many events decided by pit strategy and track position, which is a giveaway that a select few don't have the cars to blow everyone away as has been the case in the past. Therefore even a tiny TC advantage can be of great value. Anyone checked Kenseth's car after his sudden explosion of wins in the first half :) ?

#18 John B

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 02:58

and speaking of low-tech tricks...anyone remember 1981 when everyone was trying those trick suspensions? Cars used to come into the pits pointing in all sorts of odd angles because something didn't work, and 1,2, or 3 wheels would be in the wrong position....Gilles Villeneuve finished 4th in a race where the front of the car was in the air and the back down!

#19 karlth

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 11:31

Considering the weight of the drivers in NASCAR do they need traction control? I could understand
if they needed ABS brakes or parachutes to slow down before the turns but a traction control
system?

This is a serious question.

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#20 Tec Freak

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 18:31

Originally posted by RiverRunner


I love the tricks they pull in NASCAR and some are pretty clever.


You've heard the famous Smokey Yunick story right? It goes like this:

Smokey's car was just a little to quick, so the tech inspectors pulled it into the garage and gave it a thorough going over, including removing the gas tank. When they were done they called Smokey in and handed him a sheet stating they found 16 rule violations. Smokey gets in the car, says "you better make that 17," starts it and drives out of the garage.

Probably "urban legend, subcatagory NASCAR," but entertaining nonetheless.

#21 Todd

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 18:57

Originally posted by karlth
Considering the weight of the drivers in NASCAR do they need traction control? I could understand
if they needed ABS brakes or parachutes to slow down before the turns but a traction control
system?

This is a serious question.


A Winston Cup car produces similar horsepower and roughly twice the torque of an F1 car. It also weighs almost 3 times as much, but the forces that are acting on the contact patches of the rear tires are simply torque, inertia of the vehicle to be accelerated, and the loading of the contact patch of the tires, which is determined by the inflation pressure of the tires. The more the car weighs, the larger the contact patch becomes for a given inflation pressure. This is almost irrelavent, but I think it might have something to do with your confusion.

The simple matter is that WC cars put a great deal of power down through relatively small tires. Have you ever spun the tires of a road car? It is possible in most, and none of them have 825 hp and 575 ft/lbs of torque. On top of that, when driving around an oval you need to do your corner wieghts very well indeed to avoid spinning the inside rear tire any time you are on the gas.

Haven't you discussed your racing exploits before? I find it a bit difficult to believe that you've raced and never experienced unwanted wheelspin on a corner exit, and there are few amatuer road racing cars out there that approach the power to weight ratio of a Winston Cup stocker.

#22 karlth

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 19:48

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