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Super Short Track Racing
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A Quick referance to Racing Terminology!

Talk Race'n

Index  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z   End


A-Post - Forward roof support

Adhesion - The "stick" between two touching objects. Adhesion implies a static condition, while traction implies a dynamic (moving) condition.

Air Dam - The piece of the cars body just below the front grill extending down to within inches of the track surface. The air damn acts to direct fast moving air at the front of the car to improve handling by helping to create down force at the front of the car.

Aerodynamics - 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.

A-Frame - Either the upper or lower connecting suspension piece (in the shape of an A) locking the car's frame to the spindle.


Bull Ring - The WCIS arena where bullfights take place in the form of Xtreme SST racing action that consist of four banked oval turns, two very fast straits and some of the ballzeists drivers in WNY. Its a playground were few dare enter.

B-Post - Center roof support

Back Marker - A car running at the rear of the race.

Ball Joint - A ball inside a socket that can turn and pivot in any direction. Used to allow suspension to travel while the driver steers the car.

Bodywork - The body of the race car enclosing the chassis. NASCAR rules require that this be made of fabricated sheet metal and conform to specifically defined dimensions and body profiles. The bodywork is carefully checked by officials before each race using full size templates of the approved body profiles.


C-Post - Rear roof support

Camber - The amount a tire is tilted in our out from vertical. Described in degrees, either positive or negative. The angle of a tire in relationship with the surface of the track. Zero camber means that the wheel is at 90°, or perpendicular, with the track. If the top of the wheel tilts inward towards the car the wheel is said to have "negative camber". If the top of the wheel tilts out way from the car the wheel is said to have "positive camber".

Chassis - The welded steel tube frame that makes up the skeleton of a race car. The roll cage, floor pan, wheel wells and welded steel tube frame are all part of the chassis.

Contact Patch - This is the area of a tire that is in contact with the race track. A variety of factors affect the size of the Contact Patch including tire pressure and temperature. As a race wears on the contact patch will change along with the way the car handles.

Crew Chief - The head mechanic and technical leader of a race team. The crew chief and driver are in constant contact with each other by radio during a race to determine race strategy and car adjustments.


Deck Lid - Slang term for the trunk lid of a race car.

Dirty Air - This refers to the turbulent air currents created by a lead car. Cars driving behind the lead are said to be driving in "Dirty Air" which can affect the way the car handles.

Down force - Forces working to effectively push a car down on to the track. Down force is created by both the aerodynamics of the cars body and by the mass of the car as it's going around a banked turn, ie., centrifugal force. Too much down force results in too much drag and loss of speed. Too little down force and the car doesn't grip the track well resulting in poor cornering.

Draft - The aerodynamic effect that allows to or more cars traveling nose-to-nose to run faster than a single car. When one car follows another closely, the one in the front cuts through the air, providing a cleaner path of air, that is, less resistance, for the car in the back. The phenomena that occurs when a car follows closely behind another at high speeds. The air stream created by the lead car blends with the air stream of the trailing car resulting in both cars experiencing less drag.

Drafting - The practice of two or more cars, while racing, to run nose-to-tail, almost touching. The lead car, by displacing the air in front of it, creates a vacuum between its rear end and the nose of the following car, actually pulling the second car along with it.


Engine Block - An iron casting from the manufacturer that envelops the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons. (AKA), Short Block


Fabricator - In general this refers to anyone that works sheet metal to make things. In particular it's used to refer to the folks that create race car bodies from sheet metal. The team at Body Dynamics Racing Bodies are some of the best fabricators in the industry!

Fire Bottle - Fire Extinguisher

Firewall - The metal wall between the drivers cockpit and the engine area of the race car. The firewall acts to help protect the driver in the event of fire in the engine compartment, (ie., "under the hood")

Fishtail - Another term to describe "Oversteer". When a car is oversteering you''ll hear the driver or crew say that the car is "fishtailing" which means that the rear end of the car is swinging towards the outside as the car goes around a turn at high speed. (See Oversteer)

Front Clip - The front section of the race car. The front clip extends from the firewall to the front of the car.

Fuel Cell - A specially design gas tank for race cars. The fuel cell in a NASCAR Winston Cup car is comprised of an extremely tough polymer bladder inside a stainless steel shell. This helps to minimize the chance of the fuel cell rupturing in the event of an accident to protect the drivers from the risk of fire.


Groove - The path (or "racing line") around a race track that the majority of the cars favor. The Groove is generally the path that results in the best lap times for most cars and is where most of the traffic on the race track is. You can often tell where the Groove is on a track by heavy concentration of tire marks on the track.


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

Happy Hour - it's when race teams get the chance to practice one last time out on the track before the race.

Happy Loose - Its the desired setup a driver would like to have out on the track. Its when the front tires are not pushing into the corner and the rear tires of the car stick in the corners yet allowing the rear end to swing outward giving up just a bit of traction during the turns with out the car "fishtailing".

Hot Lap - Its for safety issues only, allowing a race team to test their car on the track in between race heats after making a change on the car, such as brakes or tie rods.

Head Wrench - Race talk for "Crew Chief"

Hundred Mile an Hour Duct Tape - When a car gets banged up good during a race the pit crew will do whatever it takes to get it back racing in a hurry using duct tape to make a fast repair to damaged body work. "It's amazing what you can do with duct tape and that stuff holds on even at a hundred miles an hour!"


Interval - Refers to the time/distance between two cars in a race.


Jack Post - Jacking point on car



Lap - One time around a race course.

Lap Cars - Cars that are one lap or more behind the race leader. Also referred to as "lapped traffic".

Lead Lap - The lap that the lead car is currently driving.

Line - Also known as "groove." The best route around the race track; the most efficient or quickest way around the track for a particular driver. The "high line/groove" takes a car closer to the outside wall for most of a lap, while the "low line/groove" takes a car closer to the apron than the outside wall. The path a car takes around a race track. Drivers work to find the "line" that feels most comfortable for their car's setup and results in the best lap times. (See Groove)

Loose - Also known as "oversteer." When the rear tires of the car have trouble sticking in the corners. This causes the car to "fishtail" as the rear end swings outward during turns.

Lugs - The nuts that hold the cars wheels to the axle.




One-of-them-deals - A carefully considered phrase often used by drivers and/or team members during interviews to scientifically explain the technical reasons for an accident or other "error" made during the course of a race. The phrase "That's Race’n" has the same basic meaning.

Over steer - Used to describe the handling of a car when the rear tires lose traction with the race track before the front wheels do. When a car is Over steering you're likely to hear the driver or crew describe the car as being "Loose" or that the car is "Fishtailing".


Patch - An area on the track surface that has been repaired.

Pit Crew - The members of a race team that work on pit road to service the car during a race.

Pit Road - The part of a race track where the cars are serviced during the race. Pit Road is generally located near the start/finish line on the front stretch of most race tracks. There is a maximum speed limit on Pit Road that is strictly enforced with a penalty for drivers that exceed it.

Pit Stall - An area on pit road designated for a given race team. A teams car must stop in it's designated Pit Stall before any service to the car can be performed.

Pole Position - The front inside position on the starting line. The Pole Position is generally awarded to the fastest qualifier for the race. In cases when pre-race qualifying is canceled the pole position is awarded based on a points system.

Push - Another term to describe "Understeer" a tight handling condition.. When a car is understeering you''ll hear the driver or crew say that the car is "Pushing". (See Understeer)

Pyrometer - Essentially an electronic thermometer used to quickly measure the temperature of a race car's tires. Tire temperatures help race teams determine how the car is running and what adjustments to make.


Quarter Panels - Pieces of the body immediately behind and in front of the tires.


Rear Clip - The back section of a race car. The rear clip starts at the base of the rear windshield and extends back to the rear bumper of the car.

Restart - The commencement of full speed racing after a caution period. When the accident or unsafe condition that caused the caution period is cleaned-up or corrected the Restart is signaled by a NASCAR official waving the green flag.

Restrictor Plate - A plate mounted beneath the carburetor on the engine to restrict the flow of air and fuel thereby limiting the top speed of the car. NASCAR determines when Restrictor Plates are required and mandates their use on the bigger tracks as a safety measure to slow the cars.

Ride Height - The distance from the surface of the track to the bottom of the cars chassis. (Sometimes referred to as "frame clearance")

Roll cage - A tubular steel frame inside the race car that protects the driver in the event of an accident. The Roll Cage in an integral part of the car's chassis, it's constructed to strict NASCAR guidelines and carefully inspected before each race.

Round - A round is one complete turn of a wrench. Often used as a unit of measurement when referring to "Wedge" adjustments made to the set-up of a race car. For example, you may hear that a team put "one and a half rounds of wedge in the car". (See Wedge)


Setup - The way a race car is adjusted and tuned for a given race. A car's "setup" comprises many variables including tire pressures, chassis adjustments, shocks and suspension adjustments, rear spoiler angle, gear ratios, steering lock, weight distribution and more.

Short Track - Race tracks that are less than a mile in length.

Silly Season - Refers to the later part of the race season when many teams start announcing team and sponsorship changes for the coming season.

Splash-n-Go - A very fast pit stop to get just enough gas to finish a race.

Stop-n-Go - The penalty imposed for exceeding the speed limit on pit road or for unsafe driving. The driver must bring the car back into the pit area and stop the car for one full second in the team's pit stall before continuing the race.

Stagger - Refers to the difference in diameter of the tires on right side of the car from those on the left. On oval race tracks the right side or "outside" tires will be larger in diameter than the left side or inside tires to improve cornering. This is referred to as "positive stagger". For a given NASCAR Winston Cup race the tire manufacturer for the race will determine the stagger that will be used by all the race teams.

Stickers - New Tires. Contrary to what many race fans may think the term did not originate because new tires stick to the track more. The term actually came about because of the manufacturer's labels (ie., stickers) that are placed on the contact surface of new tires.

Super Speedway - Race tracks that are over one mile in length.

Swapping Paint - Also referred to as "Trading Paint", it's a phrase used when there's a lot of bumping and contact between cars during a race.


Template - Used to check that the car's body shape and size are in compliance with NASCAR rules. A template is a large flat pattern in the shape of the approved profile that the car must match.

Tight - Another term for "Understeer". Also known as "understeer." A car is said to be tight if the front wheels lose traction before the rear wheels do. A tight race car doesn't seem able to steer sharply enough through the turns. Instead, the front end continues toward the wall.

Tire profile - The cross-sectional shape of a tire when it's on the car. Higher tire pressure makes the tire profile more upright.


Understeer - Used to describe the handling of a car when the front tires lose traction with the race track before the rear wheels do. When a car is understeering you're more likely to hear the driver or crew describe the car as being "Tight" or that the car is "Pushing"


Victory Lane - The place where the winning car is parked to celebrate after the race. Located in the infield of the race track.

Victory Lap - A customary lap around the race track by the winning car after the race. It's a chance for the winning driver to wave to the race fans to say "Thanks" and celebrate the victory.


Wedge - An adjustment made to the car to change the weight at each wheel, also referred to as "Cross Weight adjustment". A Wedge adjustment results in tipping a corner of the car up or down. Wedge adjustments are measured in "Rounds", the number of revolutions that the screw used to make the adjustment is turned.

Weight Jacking - Shifting the way in which the car's weight is distributed on the wheels. Weight Jacking is done to improve the way the car handles, it's part science and part art.


Xtreme - Racing far beyond the norm, being on the edge, participating in a very dangerous or difficult sport.




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