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Racing Glossary

Track Laughs

Over the years, the racing world has developed its own code, or lingo, to help illustrate activity taking place on and off the track. Many, if not all of these terms will be very familiar. However, everyone needs a translator now and then — and not just when talking to the Burton brothers or Sterling Marlin.

Sometimes, you need help cutting through the cliche-riddled speeches and responses offered up by those in the race game, everyone from crew members to television broadcasters. If you're a novice to the sport and are looking to get more involved, this guide will probably help familiarize you with the racing slang used or you just may understand Darrell Waltrip's commentary.


A-Frame - A suspension component on a race car that connects the spindle to the frame. There are upper and lower A-Frames that are actually in the shape of the letter A.

A-Pillars (Post) - The body pillars located next to the windshield.

Ackermann - A term used to describe the difference in turning radius of each front wheel. Simply, the left will turn more than the right wheel, allowing for the difference in corner radius.

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

Aero Push - An understeer condition caused when a car pulls closely into another car's air stream. Taking the air is a term used when the downforce is broken by a car beside or behind a car.

Aerodynamic Drag - A number that is a coefficient of several factors that indicates how well a race vehicle will travel through the air and how much resistance it offers. Crewmen work to get the best "drag horsepower" rating they can, determining how much horsepower it will take to move a vehicle through the air at a certain mile-per-hour rate. At faster speedways teams strive to get the lowest drag number possible for higher straightaway speeds.

Aerodynamics - The science of understanding different forces acting on a moving element in gasses such as air. As applied to racing, the study of airflow and the forces of resistance and pressure that result from the flow of air over, under and around a moving car. The application of this study to racing is credited with much of the sport's recent progress as teams learn more about drag, air turbulence, and downforce.

Air Dam - The front valance of the vehicle that produces downforce while directing air flow around the car.

Air Pressure - With the advent of radial tires with stiffer sidewalls, changing air pressure in the tires is used as another setup tool that is akin to adjusting spring rates in the vehicle's suspension. An increase in air pressure raises the "spring rate" in the tire itself and changes the vehicle's handling characteristics. If his race vehicle was "tight" coming off a corner, a driver might request a slight air pressure increase in the right rear tire to "loosen it up."

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

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

Anti-roll Bars - Bars run in the front of the car that help control how much the car tips from side to side; linking suspension parts which can be adjusted to alter handling characteristics to compensate for tire wear and varying fuel loads.

Apex - The point in a corner where a car is closest to the inside edge of the track. Spot at which the entrance to a corner ends and the exit begins. drivers try to hit the apex to take the straightest line and maintain maximum speed. If a driver can turn the car at the apex, they usually have a better lap.

Apron - The paved portion of a race track that separates the racing surface from the (usually unpaved) infield. The very bottom of the race track, below the bottom groove. If a car has a problem, the driver goes there to get out of the way.

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

Atmo Engines - Engines which use natural (or atmospheric) air flow as opposed to forced induction. NASCAR, Formula One and NHRA Pro Stock cars use atmo engines while CART and NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car engines have forced induction.


B-Pillars - The body pillars located behind the side window.

Back Marker - A car running off the pace near the rear of the field.

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

Back Stretch - The straight on a circle track between turns two and three.

Backup Car - A secondary complete and set up stock car brought to NASCAR races by each team, transported and stored in the front half of the upper level of team haulers. Backup cars must pass all NASCAR inspections. The backup car may not be unloaded at any time during all NASCAR national series practice or pre-race competition activities unless the primary car is damaged beyond repair.

Balaclava - Fire resistant headgear worn under helmets.

Balance - 1.) A term that aero engineers use to describe downforce, front to rear. Balance also is used to explain the situation in a perfect world when the least amount of drag is produced for the most downforce exerted. - 2.) A beer can in each hand and no beer spilled. - 3.) The ability to climb 64 rows in the grandstands while carrying four cheeseburgers, three orders of french fries, two diet sodas and a funnel cake. And doing so while keeping one eye on the action out on the track.

Banking - The sloping of a race track, particularly at a curve or corner, from the apron to the outside wall. Degree of banking refers to the height of a track's slope at its outside edge.
Does it have to do with the change in slope of the racing surface between the straightaways and the turns? Of course not! Banking is what those folks who lounge around up in the suites do when they're not flying off to the Bahamas. And they've never seen the end of a single race.

Bear Grease - Slang term used to describe any patching material used to fill cracks and holes or smooth bumps on a track's surface.

Bell Housing - A metal housing that bolts to the rear of the engine block, covers the clutch and flywheel and allows the transmission to be bolted to the engine. It actually looks similar to a bell.

Binders - 1.) Brakes. - 2.) What females who don't want to go braless wear.

Bite - 1.) The difference between the weight that's on the left-rear tire and the right-rear tire. Round of bite describes the turning or adjusting of a car's jacking screws found at each wheel. Weight jacking distributes the car's weight at each wheel. - 2.) Adhesion of a tire to the track surface. - 3.) What you try to do to a racetrack candy bar. It's near next to impossible!

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

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 so he or she can safely blend back into traffic.

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

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

Blow Away Blow Off - To defeat, pass or win. I'm gonna blow that guy away.

Blow Up - Irreparable engine failure which ends a racer's day.

Blowed - Major league engine failure, for instance when a connecting rod goes through the engine block producing a lot of smoke and steam. We blowed the motor.

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

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

Brain Fade - A momentary lack of attention that leads to making a mistake during a race.

Brake Fade - When the brake pads, rotors and fluid exceed their operating temperatures and they no longer stop the car consistently.

Brake Rotor - A main component of the brake system. It's what you see get red hot behind the tires at places like Martinsville.

Brake Scoop - Openings in the body panel and other locations of a stock car that take in air for cooling. A maximum of three scoops per brake is permitted by NASCAR Officials, with a maximum of three-inch flexible hose to the brake.

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

Bump Drafting - A version of drafting in which one car bumps another. The initial contact breaks downforce and drag forces momentarily, giving the lead car as much as 100 more usable horsepower, rocketing it away from the pack without totally breaking the draft.

Bump Steer - The amount of change of toe in or toe out when suspension travels up or down.

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


C-Pillars - The body pillars located next to the rear glass.

Caliper - A part that holds brake pads in for braking force.

Camber - The angle that wheels are tilted inward or outward (the angle that a tire seizes to the track surface) from vertical. If the top of the wheel is tilted inward, the camber is negative.

Camber Gain - The amount of angle change in front spindles as suspension travels inward or outward from the center of the car. Camber changes can be used to maximize footprint when needed.

Camshaft - A rotating shaft within the engine that opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves in the engine.

Center Of Pressure - The point on a CART car underwing which receives the greatest amount of airflow pressure. This measurement is critical to setting front to rear balance, especially on superspeedways.

Caster - The angle of a spindle frontward or rearward. Caster stagger is the difference between the static caster settings; it affects the amount of pull to the right or left a driver experiences. The more caster stagger, the more the vehicle pulls or steers.

Center Of Gravity - An imaginary line that runs front to rear at the car's perfect center of mass.

Champ Car Tech
  • Top Racing Speed: Approximately 245 mph
  • Engine size: 161.703 c.i.
  • Max # of cylinders: 8
  • Maximum rpm: 100,000 from turbocharger
  • Horsepower: Approximately 800
  • Min car weight: 1,550 lbs (excluding driver)
  • Max car height: 32 inches
  • Max car width: 78.5 inches
  • Fuel: Methanol
  • Tires: Bridgestone radial tires
  • Forward gears: Six
  • Race distances: 200 to 500 miles
  • Types of circuits: Ovals, street & road courses
  • Track lengths: One mile to 4.048 miles
Champ Car (formerly CART) - The sanctioning organization for The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford Events and the Toyota Atlantic Championship, a development series for the Champ Car World Series.

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

Chassis Roll - The up-and-down movement caused when a car travels around corners at high speeds. The side of the car facing the turn becomes lighter while the extra weight goes toward the outside of the turn.

Checkered Flag - The black and white checkerboard style flag which signifies the end of a race.

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

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

Chute - A race track straightaway, either on an oval or a road course.

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

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

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

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

Cockpit - The area where the driver sits in a race car.

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

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

Compound - The rubber blend for tires. In some series, teams can choose their tire compound based on the track and weather conditions. A softer compound tire provides better traction but wears out much faster than a harder compound tire which doesn't provide as much grip.A formula or recipe of rubber composing a particular tire. Different tracks require different tire compounds. Left side tires are considerably softer than right side tires and it's against the rules to run left sides on the right.

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

Contact Patch - The part of the tire that's actually touching the road.

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

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

Cowls - The closures that seal the hood to the base of the windshield. Air box openings are located in the cowl.

Crankshaft - Shaft with U-shaped cranks that converts the reciprocal motion of the pistons and rods to the rotary motion that turns the wheels of the vehicle. NASCAR Officials require only magnetic steel crankshafts to be used. NASCAR teams are permitted to increase or decrease the stroke of the crankshaft, and they may also be lightened and balanced.

Crew Chief - Team leader. Depending on the team, duties include everything from making assignments in the shop, to calling the shots in the pits, to handling airline and motel reservations.

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


Deck Lid - The rear trunk lid.

Depth Gauge - Measures the depth holes in the top of a tire and tells the difference in wear between a new tire and a tire that just came off the track. It lets you know how far you can run on a paticular set of tires before it gets too worn down.

Dialed In - Describes a car that is handling very well. The car isn't loose or tight, it's comfortable to the driver's liking.

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

Dirty Air - Turbulent air caused by fast-moving cars that can cause a particular car to lose control. I got in his air.

DN? - DNF - Did not finish. DNQ - Did not qualify. DNS - Did not start.

Downforce - Basically, the downward pressure of the air on a car as it races. Downforce increases with velocity--that is, rapidity of motion or speed. It's determined by such things as front fenders and rear spoilers.

Draft - 1.) Airflow creates a low-pressure air pocket (or draft) behind moving objects. Most notably in NASCAR, drivers try to follow opponents closely enough to enter their draft and produce a towing effect. That's right, the car creating the draft actually pulls the pursuing driver who can ease off the throttle and save gas. - 2.) What you have to drink if you don't bring your own.

Drafting - Practice of two, or more, cars, while racing, to run nose to tail, almost touching. The lead car, by displacing air in front of it, creates a vacuum between its rear end and the following car's nose.
A term that has been used to describe two or more cars running nose to tail (or tail to nose) on the track, thereby traveling faster than a car running by itself. However, the term actually refers to anyone who breaks into a long line of fans waiting to use the restroom. As in "Dude, my kidneys were about to bust, so I just drafted my way up to the front of the line."

Drag - The resistance a car experiences when passing through air at high speeds. A resisting force exerted on a car parallel to its air stream and opposite in direction to its motion.

Drag Coefficient Of - A resisting force exerted on a car parallel to its airstream and opposite in direction to its motion. A coefficient is a number or constant used as a multiplier in measuring the changes in a formula to measure drag on the frontal area of the (car) body in square feet, air velocity of the body in miles an hour and the non-dimensional coefficient. Basically, the more aerodynamic the body in question, the lower the coefficient of drag.

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

Driving Deep Into A Corner - Braking as late as possible when entering a turn.

Droop Limiter - An electronic device which controls suspension travel, assuring conformity to mandated limits.

Drop The Hammer - Means a driver puts the petal to the metal.

Dry Line - A clear (or dry) line which develops after rain because of more frequent use.

Dry Weight - A car's weight without any liquids such as gas and oil.

Duct Work - The enclosures sealing heat exchangers, radiators, oil coolers, etc. While forcing cool air to flow through each. Brake ducts direct cool air through hoses to cool rotors under racing conditions. The more openings in the front of the air dam, grilles, etc. Lessen the amount of downforce produced and increase drag. Teams not only control critical water-temperature and oil-temperature numbers, but can tailor handling by the addition or subtraction of tape on noses.

DYNO - Shortened form of dynamometer, a machine used to measure an engine's horsepower and test and monitor its overall performance.


Early Apex - A driver turns into a corner early.

Economy Run - Driving slower to conserve fuel. CART series cars can actually manipulate air/fuel levels (less fuel, more air) to run lean and conserve fuel.

ECU - Engine Control Unit or Black Box.

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

EIRI Except In Rare Instances - A handy little term describing NASCAR's ability to enforce its decisions when there may not be a specific rule or regulation to cover such a decision.

End Plate - The verticle end piece of a wing. Engine Block - An iron casting from the manufacturer that envelopes the crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons.

Engine Displacement - The volume within an engine's cylinders, expressed in cubic inches, that is swept by each piston as it makes one stroke downward, from Top Dead Center (TDC) to Bottom Dead Center (BDC). NASCAR rules require that only small block V-8 engines with a minimum of 350.000 cubic-inch displacement (CID) and a maximum of 358.000 CID are allowed.

Engine Management System - Another term for the Black Box.

Equalize - Cars in superspeedway races are required to run tires with both inner tubes and inner liners, which are actually small tires inside the standard tires. When the inner liner loses air pressure and that pressure becomes the same as that within the outer tire, the tire is said to have equalized and a vibration is created.

Esses - On a road course, a series of acute left, and right-hand turns, one turn immediately following another.


F1 Car Tech
  • Top Racing Speed: Approximately 225 mph
  • Engine size: 183 c.i. (3 liters)
  • Max # of cylinders: 10
  • Maximum rpm: Approximately 18,000
  • Horsepower: Approximately 800
  • Turbo charging: Forbidden
  • Min car weight: 1322.76 lbs (including driver)
  • Max car height: 37.43 inches
  • Max car width: 70.92 inches
  • Fuel: Unleaded racing gasoline
  • Tires: Four circumferential grooves
  • Forward gears: Four to seven
  • Race distances: 190 miles?? (max 2 hrs)
  • Types of circuits: Road and street circuits
  • Track lengths: 2.09 to 4.33 miles
F1 - Abbreviation for Formula One, the premier championship of the FIA: Federation Internationale de l'Automobile.

Fabricator - A team member who is concerned with making car body parts such as door panels, instrument dashboards, special brakes, etc.
A commonly misused term. Fabricators are those folks who climb out of their car after only three laps and tell anyone within ear-shot that "This car was a rocket today! I don't know that I've ever driven a better car!" That, my friends, is known as fabricating.

Factory - A term designating the Big Three auto manufacturers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The factory days refer to periods in the 1950s and '60s when the manufacturers actively and openly provided sponsorship money and technical support to some race teams.

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

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

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

The Flags of NASCAR Racing
Green: Start Or Restart - Course Is Clear
All races start with a green flag. The green flag is also displayed on restarts during an event.
Blue/Yellow Diagonal Stripe: Move Over - Use Another Lane
The most commonly used flag during a race, which is known as the move-over flag. This flag is given to a car that is being overtaken by lead-lap cars and asks them to give the leaders the courtesy of moving over.
Yellow: Caution - Slow Hold Position
Signals the drivers to slow down because of a problem on the track, including accidents, debris, fluids on the track or some other hazard. drivers are required to slow down, exercise caution and maintain their relative position. Cars may not pass (advance a position) under the yellow flag but the balance of the field may close up behind the leader.
Black: Pull Into Pits
No driver likes to see the black flag, which is given to send a driver to the pits for either a problem with the car (oil leak, for example) or another infraction such as improperly lining up on a restart or rough driving. This flag will be shown TWICE. If a driver does not comply, he will be disqualified from the race.
Red: Stop - Bad Wreck - Course Blocked
If the situation warrants a total stoppage of the race, such as rain, the flagman will display the red flag, which tells the drivers and crews that the race is being halted due to some unsafe condition.
White: One Lap To Go
Indicates to the driver that they have started their last lap. During road coarse events, the white flag may also be used by corner workers to indicate that an emergency vehicle is on the racetrack.
Checkered: Finish
Indicates the completion of the race.

In addition, the flagman also signals:
    by crossing two rolled-up flags into an "X" shape - the halfway point of the race; usually shown with the white & green flags by crossing the black and white flag - that scoring has been discontinued for your car by holding his hand out with wilth all five fingers spread wide apart - yep! you guessed it; "5 Laps To Go" by showing the white & green flags rolled up and held next to each other, in a upwards position (straight up) - that there is "2 Laps To Go" by displaying the yellow & checkered - there has been an accident in the back of the field, the race is over BUT be careful because the track is blocked ahead.

Firewall - A solid metal plate that separates the engine compartment from the driver's compartment of the race car. It protects the driver from debris and fire.

Five-Point Seat Belt - A seatbelt that has five belts that come together at the center of the driver's chest. The first two parts are the shoulder harness; one belt goes over the right shoulder and the other over the left shoulder. The other two belts come across the driver's hips, one from the left and one from the right, and the last belt goes between the driver's legs. They all attach at a single point, where a quick-release buckle locks them into place. Flagman - The person standing on the tower above the Start/Finish Line who controls the race with a series of flags.

Flat-Out - Racing a car as fast as possible under given conditions.

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

Footprint - The amount in square inches that each tire touches the earth. Larger footprints enhance tire grip to track. Four equal footprints with equal applied forces would promote great tire wear and vehicle handling.

Frame - The metal structure of a race car that is composed of supporting tubes and the roll cage. This is where the sheet metal of the body is attached. Also referred to as the chassis.

Fresh Rubber - A new set of tires acquired during a Pit Pass.

Front Clip - Attaches to the frame rails at the front-most section of a race car. It holds the engine, braking, and steering devices.

Front Roll Center - The angle of A-Arm projection points, combined with center of tread projection points drawn to a common point. After establishing left points and right points, the connecting points are the actual roll center of the car. This point can be right or left of center, low or high, and can be changed by upper A-Arm angles, lower angles, ride height, component lengths, tire size, wheel spacers and tread width. All affect handling characteristics. Drop snouts or raised snouts define the location of the front clip to the side rails of the chassis and determine component location and roll centers.

Front-Steer - A car in which the steering components (box, etc.) are located ahead of the front axle.

Front Stretch - The straight on a circle track between turns four and one. Also called front straight, or front chute, the start-finish line is usually there.

Fuel Cell - Race car gas tank. Consists of a metal box that contains a flexible tear resistant bladder and foam baffling. A product of aerospace technology, it's designed to eliminate or minimize fuel spillage and the possibility of fire in a crash.
Typically made from aluminum, fuel cells hold a fan's beverage of choice and come in 12-, 16- and 24-ounce sizes.

Full-Time Ride Or Seat - A full-time job for a driver. He has a full-time ride (or seat) next year.

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


Garage - Area of a race track where cars are housed during an event; work area for car preparation while at a race track.

Gasoline Alley - The garage area at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Gave Up - drivers use this to describe a mechanical part that fails.

Gear Ratio - The number of teeth on a ring-gear divided into the number of teeth on a pinion-gear.

Goes Up Through The Gears - Refers to a driver upshifting from the lowest to the highest gear.

Gofer - Runs errands, cleans up shop and takes orders from crew chief. Go fer this and go fer that.

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

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

Grenaded - See: Blowed.

Greasy - The track surface is slick.

Groove - 1.) The best route around a race track; the most efficient or quickest way around the track for a particular driver. The high groove takes a car closer to the outside wall for most of a lap. The low groove takes a car closer to the apron then the outside wall. Road racers use the term line. - 2.) What textured metal seats do to your bottom after sitting in them for a 500 mile race.

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

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


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

Hammer Down - The driver has the pedal to the metal or has dropped the hammer full throttle.

Hand Grenaded - See: Blowed.

Handling - Generally, a car's performance while racing, qualifying or practicing. How a car handles is determined by its tires, suspension geometry, aerodynamics and other factors.

Hanging A Body - This refers to attaching the sheet metal, after it has been cut and molded to the chassis of the car.

Happy Hour - The final practice of a race weekend, usually late Saturday afternoon.

Head Protectors - These are safety devices built into the driver's seat that wrap around the driver's head. They are lined with thick foam to keep the driver's head from moving to the left or right during an accident.

Headsock - A fire resistant head mask or balaclava.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot Shoe - Driver at a particular track who has the most past wins among active drivers, or is the quickest in qualifing. Typically he's favored to win at that track.


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

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

Independent - A driver or team owner who does not have financial backing from a major sponsor and must make do with second-hand equipment such as parts and tires. The term, like the breed, is becoming rarer every year.

Index - When a tire carrier places a wheel on the studs, an index occurs when the studs and lugnuts on the wheel line up.

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

Inner-Liner - The tire within the tire. The tires used in NASCAR racing have a second tire inside the main tire that meets the race surface.

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

Inspection - The process all race teams go through at least three times per weekend. The NASCAR officials approve cars to race, qualify, and practice, along with checking the cars for safety features. Teams' car bodies must conform to NASCAR's templates to race. Additionally, the engines and chassis will be examined.

Intermediate Track - These are race tracks that are more than one mile in total length, but less than two miles, in total length. Normally, the banking on these tracks is low to medium.

Interval - The time-distance between two cars. Referred to roughly in car lengths, or precisely in seconds. IRL - Abbreviation for Indy Racing League.


Jack The Bear - When someone says his car is running like Jack The Bear, it's moving at optimum efficiency. See: Flat-Out.


IRL Car Tech
  • Top Racing Speed: Approximately 240 mph
  • Engine size: 214 c.i. (3.5 liters)
  • Max # of cylinders: 8
  • Maximum rpm: 10,700 (with rev limiter)
  • Horsepower: Approximately 650
  • Turbo charging: Forbidden
  • Min car weight: 1,550 lbs (excluding driver)
  • Max car height: 38 inches
  • Max car width: 78.5 inches
  • Fuel: Methanol
  • Tires: Slicks
  • Forward gears: Six
  • Race distances: 200 to 500 miles
  • Types of circuits: Short & high-speed ovals
  • Track lengths: 75 to 2.5 miles

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

Kick A Leg Out Of Bed - An engine breaks a connecting rod which penetrates the engine block and ends a driver's day. Announcers describe this as the engine blowing up.

Knocking The Toe Out - Screwing up the wheel alignment after smacking a wall or a racecar.


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

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

Lapped Traffic - Cars that have dropped one or more laps behind the race leader after being passed by the lead driver and others on the lead lap.

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

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

Lead - A term associated with wheelbase, indicating that one side is longer or leading the other.

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

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

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

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

Line - See: Groove.

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

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

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

Loose Stuff - Debris such as sand, pebbles or small pieces of rubber that tend to collect on a track's apron or near the outside wall.

Loose - 1.) A car has more grip in the front than the rear end and tends to fish tail, a handling condition describing the tendency of a car's rear wheels to break away from the pavement, swinging its rear end toward the outside wall. drivers often report whether the car is loose or tight so the crew can make Pit Stop adjustments. See: Oversteer. - 2.) Next day symptoms caused by too much racetrack food and drinks.

Low Drag Setup - Adjusting a car's aerodynamic features to minimize drag which also reduces downforce. This setup achieves better performance on straightaways and reduced cornering ability. Drag is how much horsepower it takes to push the car through the air. At restrictor-plate races like Daytona and Talladega, you trade drag for down force, so you have lower drag in order to have more down force.

Low Line - See: Groove.

Lower A-Arm - The other link for the lower part of this independent front suspension. The length and location of these a-arms establish the perimeters known as front-end geometry.

Lubricity - The ability of a fuel, oil or grease to lubricate vehicle components that they come in contact with, particularly under the extreme conditions during a race.

Lucky Dog - Most casual fans think this term refers to those instances when the first driver one lap down is allowed to get back on the lead lap, despite the fact that his car is slower than molasses in winter, during a caution period. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Veteran race fans know that the term refers to the corn dog that they didn't have to pay for when ordering food at the concession stand. If you order three corn dogs, for example, and are only charged for two, then the third one would be, of course, the lucky dog.


Magnaflux Short for magnetic particle inspection. - A procedure for checking all ferrous (steel) parts, suspension pieces, connecting rods, cylinder heads, etc. for cracks and other defects utilizing a solution of metal particles and fluorescent dye and a black light. Surface cracks will appear as red lines.

Making Up Time - A driver is catching up to or gaining ground an opponent.

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

Max Revs - Revving a car to its maximum RPM levels.

Monocoque - The structure of a vehicle in which the body is integral with the chassis.

Motor Mounts - Supports for the engine and transmission on a racecar's frame, on which the motor sits in relation to the body of the car. NASCAR requires all motor mounts to be reinforced steel or aluminum, and adjustable mounts are not allowed. NASCAR teams strive to lower the motor mounts so that the car will have a lower center of gravity and handle better.


NASCAR National Association For Stock Car Auto Racing - Organization founded in December 1947 by William Henry Getty Big Bill France Sr., and others, that sanctions races, sets rules and awards points toward championships for several types of stock cars, Winston Cup, Craftsman Truck and Busch Grand National series among others.

Neutral - A term drivers use when referring to how their car is handling. When a car is neither loose nor pushing (tight).

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


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

On The Throttle - A driver has the pedal to the metal.

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

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

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

Oval - An oval-shaped track such as the old configuration at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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

Overtake - A term commonly used by announcers meaning a pass.


P & G - Basically, the procedure for checking the cubic-inch displacement of an engine. The term comes from the manufacturer of the particular gauge used.

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

Paddock Area - The enclosed portion (or infield) of a race track.

Parade Lap(s) - The warm-up lap before a race. drivers use this lap to warm up their engines and often zig-zag to warm up tires.

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

Penalty Box - Derived from ice hockey. NASCAR's way of penalizing drivers for infractions by holding them in the pits or behind the wall for a specified time during a race. He screwed up and they put him in the penalty box.

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

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

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

Pit Lizard - Nickname for a racing groupie.

Pit Road - The area where pit crews service the cars. Generally located along the front straightaway, but because of space limitations, some racetracks sport pit roads on the front and back straightaways. drivers pit so crews can refuel, change tires and make any other repairs or adjustments. Pit Row - The area designated for teams to set up temporary garages during races accessible to ("pit out") and from ("pit in") the track. Each team is allotted one pit area (or space) per car. Simply called the pits most often.

Pit Stall - The area along pit road that is designated for a particular team's use during pit stops. Each car stops in the team's stall before being serviced.

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

Pits - 1.) Short for pit row or a dejected driver. Area of a race track, off the racing surface, where a car stops for servicing. See: Hot Pits or Cold Pits. - 2.) Orgin of the grandstand odor.

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

Points Race - The overall competition to win the drivers' or Manufacturers' Championship at the end of the season.

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

Pop-Off Valve - In CART-style racing, this valve is connected to the plenum exiting the turbocharger. CART supplies these valves in order to restrict the pressure generated by the turbocharger.

Post-Entry PE - A team or driver who submits an entry blank for a race after the deadline for submission has passed. A post-entry receives no Winston Cup points.

Power Plant - Commonly used term for engines.

Provisional Starting Spot - Special performance-based exemptions for drivers who do not initially qualify for a race. A position NASCAR holds open for certain drivers — such as past champions — who had trouble qualifying for the race. A driver awarded a provisional spot must start at the back of the starting grid.

Push - 1.) The rear end of a car has more grip than the front. This condition makes a car harder to turn into a corner. Commonly known as Understeer. - 2.) What you eventually have to do to get your bottom on your seat number!

Pushing And Shoving - Race cars making contact.

Pushing - Handling characteristics of a car where its front end tends to push or plow toward the outside wall in a corner.


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

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

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.


Race Rubber - Race tires as opposed to qualifying tires.

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

Racin' Deal - A phrase that describes bad luck on the track.

Ragged Edge Running On The - Driving a car to its extreme limits while either qualifying or racing. Going over the ragged edge can result in loss of control.

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

Rake - The amount of change in ride height from left to right and front to rear.

Ram Air - Air in orderly rapid motion relative to the vehicle and therefore possessing kinetic energy, particularly in context of air required to charge an air-breathing device such as a cooling system or engine induction system.

Rear Clip - The section of a race car that begins at the base of the rear windshield and extends to the rear bumper. It contains the car's fuel cell and rear suspension components.

Rear Roll Center - Located simply at the center of the track bar from the ground and center from the right to left mounting points. Roll centers are measured from the ground, but are relative to center of gravity. Higher roll centers exert less mechanical advantage, so lower spring rates can control roll or weight transfer.

Rear Spoiler - Two non-adustable, aluminum pieces attached side by side to equal a rail approximately 57 inches wide, 6.5 inches high and 1/8 inch thick on the trunk of the car. Spoilers create downforce to improve the car's handling and NASCAR alters the size and angle now and then to create parity among the manufacturers.

Rear-Steer - A car in which the steering components are located behind the front axle.

Reasonable Suspicion; Substance - Both refer to NASCAR's drug testing policy. Under it, if a NASCAR official is reasonably suspicious a driver, crew member or another official is abusing drugs, he or she may be required to undergo testing. Substances include cocaine, heroin, PCP and other illegal drugs, as well as alcohol and prescription drugs while participating in an event.

Restrictor Plate - An aluminum plate with four holes in it that is placed under the carburetor to restrict air and fuel. That restriction keeps the cars from reaching speeds that NASCAR considers dangerous.

Return - A vertical flap attached to a CART car wing for increased downforce. See: Gurney Flap.

Ride Height - The designed height for a chassis to race at. This height is measured at frame corners.

Right Combination - 1.) Catchall phrase to describe why a car, team or driver has performed well or won a race. Included are engine horsepower, tire wear, correct weight distribution, performance of the driver on the track, the crew on pit stops and so on. - 2.) What 5 fans think when they all claim they should be sitting in the same seat.

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

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

Roll Cage - This is the frame made of steel that surrounds a driver in the car. It is a safety device used to protect the driver in the event the car gets turned over or is impacted from the side. Roll bars make-up the roll cage.

Roll Center - A dynamic point determined by geometry, relative to the center of gravity in a car.

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

Roof Flaps - A device made to keep the car from turning over. It works like an airplane flap and comes up when the car slides sideways or backward to help slow down the car and keep it on the ground.

Roof Rails - Half-inch aluminum strips that run the length of the roof. They were developed to help keep the car planted on the ground during a sideways spin.

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

Round, Rounds Of Wedge - Slang term for a way of making chassis adjustments utilizing the race car's springs. A wrench is inserted in a jack bolt attached to the springs, and is used to tighten or loosen the amount of play in the spring. This in turn can loosen or tighten the handling of a race car.

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

Rumble Strip - The section of little speed bumps in the corners of some tracks to warn drivers they're getting off the surface.

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

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


Sandbaggering - Driver who allegedly fails to drive a car to its full potential in practice or qualifying, thus being able to provide a surprise for his or her competitors during a race.

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

Scrub - The amount of force exerted on the tire footprint due to the different location of tire center or pivot and the actual pivot of the spindle.

Scrubbed Tires - The best kind of racing tire because they've had a few laps of wear to normalize the surface.

Scuff(s) - A tire that has been used at least once and is saved for further racing. A lap or two is enough to scuff it in.

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

Setup - 1.) The combination of settings for a car's engine, aerodynamic features and tires/wheels. Teams make continual adjustments to a car's setup during pit stops based on driver input. - 2.) First time race goer buys a ticket in the parking lot for the gate.

Shakedown - 1.) First test with a brand-new car or engine. - 2.) Taking a car through a final practice session - Happy Hour - for tweaking and fine-tuning.

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

Shock Absorbers - These are suspension components that are hydraulic cylinders attached to each of the car's wheels. A shock specialist designs them for each particular track.

Shock Dynamometer - This is a machine that teams put the shocks on that can simulate the particular race track as if the shocks were on a real car.

Shoot Out - Two or more drivers race to the end for victory.

Short Track - A speedway under a mile in distance.

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

Silly Season - Slang for the period that begins during the latter part of the current season, wherein some teams announce driver, crew and/or sponsor changes.

Slick - A track condition where, for a number of reasons, it's hard for a car's tires to adhere to the surface or get a drivers bite. A slick race track is not necessarily wet or slippery because of oil, water, etc.

Slicks - Tires with no tread designed for dry weather conditions.

Slingshot - 1.) A maneuver in which a car following the leader in a draft suddenly steers around it breaking the vacuum; this provides an extra burst of speed that allows the second car to take the lead. See: Drafting. - 2.) What you wish you had when the fans in front don't sit down!

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

Spindle - The component the front hub assembly attaches to, which allows the wheel to bolt to the hub. Spindles not only suspend the chassis from the wheel, but also turn, allowing cornering. Spindle height, steering arm location, pin height and king pin control many perimeters in the front end.

Spoiler - A metal strip that helps control airflow, downforce and drag. The front spoiler or air dam is underneath the car's front end near the axle; the rear spoiler is attached to the trunk lid. Adding more spoiler refers to increasing the rear spoiler's angle in relation to the rear window and generally aids a car's cornering ability. Less spoiler decreasing its angle aids straightaway speed.

Sponsor - An individual or business establishment that financially supports a race driver, team, race or series of races in return for advertising and marketing benefits.

Spotter - Crew member who stands in a NASCAR-designated area on a building above the grandstands and informs the driver via radio about crashes ahead and traffic coming up behind.

Spring Rubber - A spacer put in spring coils that puts two spring coils in a coil-bind condition, thus changing the spring rate of that spring. Springs - They hold the car up, resisting the downward movement when the car is in the corner. Springs are located between the suspension and the chassis. All the weight from the car is transferred to the suspension through the springs.

Stagger - 1.) On ovals, teams may use a different size tire (or stagger) on the outside wheel to improve the car's handling ability. - 2.) The difference in size between the tires on the left and right sides of a car. Because of a tire's makeup, slight variations in circumference result. If the left side tire is 87 inches, and the right side tire is 88 inches, you have 1-inch of stagger. - 3.) What you do after too many beers.

Stand On It - When a driver depresses the gas pedal as far as possible. See: Flat Out.

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

Static Camber - The amount of camber set in the vehicle initially when the front end is aligned. Camber settings change from track to track, depending on weight transfer, track surface, loads on the chassis, etc.

Steering Ratio - Determined by the amount the steering wheel turns in relationship to the wheels. drivers often get used to turning the steering wheel a certain amount. Turning more or less disrupts rhythm; therefore many ratios have been developed for different length turns.

Stick - Tire traction. The car's sticking to the track.

Stickers - A new tire(s). Term comes from the manufacturer's stick-on label denoting the type of tire, price, etc. Teams generally use sticker tires during qualifying, then use scrubbed tires in a race.

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

Stroking - Said of a driver who allegedly lays back in a race so as not to punish or wear out equipment before the end of an event.

Superspeedway - A race track of a mile or more in distance. Road courses are included. NOTE: Racers refer to three types of oval tracks. Short tracks are under a mile, intermediate tracks are at least a mile but under two miles and speedways are two miles and longer.

Suspension - This is the part of the car that affects the handling. It bolts to the chassis and to the wheels or the axles. Some components that make up the suspension system are: A-Frames, springs, shock absorbers, and sway bars.

Sway Bars - Are in the front of the car, and sometimes teams run them in the back depending on the balance of the car. It controls how much the car wants to roll to one side or the other through the corners.
A mechanical device used to limit the amount of roll a car endures when going through the turns? No. Everyone knows a sway bar is where sways go to watch the races.

Sweeper - A large sweeping corner on a road or street course.


Tear Down - The process teams go through after a race when cars are inspected. There are chassis tear-downs and engine tear-downs, but it can also include anything NASCAR officials want to inspect in the race car. Often, officials look at engines, suspension, rear-end gears, and ignition boxes, to confirm that the car is legal.

Talent - Television announcers.

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

Tear Offs - Transparent plastic strips applied to helmet visors. As these strips accumulate debris, a driver can tear a dirty strip off for a clear view. drivers in open cars go through about five tear offs a race.

Tech - Short for tech (or technical) inspection. Each car is submitted to tech inspection so sanctioning body officials can confirm all chassis and engine parts meet series' guidelines. A teched car has passed inspections. Telemetry - Highly sophisticated electronics which transmit performance data back to a team's pit.

Template - A piece of aluminum that is placed on the cars to regulate the body sizes and diameters to make sure the body stays the way the manufacturer submitted it.

That's Racin' - Expresses frustration or emotion. 1. When a small part costing just a few dollars fails and stops a $150,000 race car, that's racin'. 2. When you race a competitor for 500 miles and lose to him by just a few feet, that's racin'. 3. When a hot dog wrapper blows out of the stands, gets caught across the air vent on the front of your car and causes your engine to overheat, that's racin'.

Three-wide - Especially prevalent on, but definitely not limited to, NASCAR's larger tracks. Casual race fans relate the term to a situation that involves three cars racing side by side. That's an easy mistake to make. However, the term actually is often used to describe the size of the rear-end of the fellow seated next to you.

Throttle - The gas pedal.

Tight - Also known as understeer, the car's front tires don't turn well through the turns because they're losing traction. A driver must slow down entering and going through the turns to avoid having the car push all the way into the wall.
Anyone who has accidentally stumbled upon one of the dozens of prerace shows might mistakenly think that "tight" refers to the condition when a race car's front wheels won't adequately turn. But that's merely technical jargon that confuses the viewer. Anyone who has attended races for more than a season knows that "tight" refers to their best friend's condition after indulging in several cold adult beverages. Before prerace.

Toe - Looking at the car from the front, the amount the tires are turned in or out. If you imagine your feet to be the two front tires of a race car, standing with your toes together would represent toe-in. Standing with your heels together would represent toe-out.

Top End Power - The amount a car accelerates at high speeds or in its highest gear.

Track Bar - Connects the rear housing to the frame of the car and keeps it centered under the vehicle. It can be adjusted up and down to change the car's handling characteristics during pit stops.

Trailing Arm - An element of the rear suspension, which holds the rear axle tightly from moving back and forth, but allows it to travel up and down.

Trioval - Said of a race track that has a hump or fifth turn in addition to the standard four corners. Not to be confused with a triangle-shaped speedway which has only three distinct corners.

Truck Arm - A torque arm-trailing arm combination that evolved from the early Chevy pickup. The truck arm pivots freely at the cross member and solidly on the rear end.

Trunk Lid - The rear deck lid.

Tub - The chassis or monocoque of a CART-style race car.

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

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

Turbulence - Rough air encountered by race car drivers.
Most might think this has something to do with the air disturbance behind a car, sometimes also known as "dirty air" Of course, real race fans know turbulence is the feeling in one's stomach after spending an entire day eating greasy racetrack food and drinking warm beverages. Which can lead to "dirty air".

200-mph Tape - Racer's Tape. Duct tape, so strong it will hold a banged-up race car together long enough to finish a race.


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

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

Upper A-Arm - The link that fastens the spindle top to ball joint as an assembly to the chassis.


Valance - (Also referred to as "front air dam.") This is the panel that extends below the vehicle's front bumper. The relation of the bottom of the valance, or its ground clearance, affects the amount of front downforce the vehicle creates. Lowering the valance creates more front downforce.

Victory Lane - Sometimes called the "winner's circle." The spot on each racetrack's infield where the race winner parks for the celebration.

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


W.F.O. - Originally a phrase for a driver running pedal to the metal, now it refers to anyone acting like a jack-ass on the track.

War Wagon - Or pit wagon. Large metal cabiner on wheels that holds equipment in the driver's pit box during the race.

Warm-Up Lap - The lap before a race starts. drivers use this parade lap to warm up their engines and tires.

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

Wedge - 1.) The cross-weight difference, the amount of weight on the left rear and right front of the car. - 2.) What a 300 lb fan has to do to get into their reserved racetrack seat.

Wedge Adjustment - Chassis adjustment on the springs, that changes the ride height and the spring rate.

Wedge, Round Of - Same as bite (First Definition). Weight Jacking - The practice of shifting a car's weight to favor certain wheels.

Wets - Tires designed to perform better in the rain.

Wheel Offset - The back spacing from the hub surface to the rim of the wheel. All nascar touring divisions have four and one-half inches back spacing.

Wheel Stud - Attaches to the hub assembly and allows the wheel to be tightened with lug nuts; there are five per wheel.

Wheelbase - The length between axle center line and spindle center line front.

Wind Tunnel - A structure used by race teams to determine the aerodynamic efficiency of their vehicles, consisting of a platform on which the vehicle is fixed and a giant fan to create wind currents. Telemetry devices determine the airflow over the vehicle and its coefficient of drag and downforce.

Window Net - A screen made of a nylon mesh materials that is on the driver's side, connecting from the door-top area to the roof area. In the event of an accident it keeps debris out, but the driver's arms and head in the car.

Windscreen - A transparent fiberglass surface on the front of CARTcars designed to aid air flow and deflect turbulent air from the driver.

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

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

Wrench - Slang for racing mechanic.




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

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