A term drivers use when referring to how their car is handling. When a car is neither loose nor pushing (tight).
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.
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.
Slang term for the foremost position on the starting grid, awarded to the fastest qualifier.
(Also referred to as "tight" or "understeer.") "Push" is a condition that occurs when the front tires of a vehicle will not turn crisply in a corner. When this condition occurs, the driver must get out of the throttle until the front tires grip the race track again.
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.
The section of a race car that begins at the base of the rear windshield and extends to the rear bumper. Contains the car's fuel cell and rear suspension components.
An aluminum plate that is placed between the base of the carburetor and the engine's intake manifold with four holes drilled in it. The plate is designed to reduce the flow of air and fuel into the engine's combustion chamber, thereby decreasing horsepower and speed.
These flaps are sections at the rear of a race vehicle's roof that are designed to activate, or flip up, if the air pressure flowing across them decreases. In the case of a vehicle turning backwards, the tendency for an uninterrupted flow of air is to create lift. The roof flaps are designed to disrupt that airflow in attempt to keep the vehicle on the ground.
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.
Slang term for the tuning and adjustments made to a race car's suspension before and during a race.
Racetracks that are less than one mile in length.
Slang for the period that begins during the latter part of the current season, wherein some teams announce driver, crew and/or sponsor changes.
(Also referred to as a "blade.") The spoiler is a strip of aluminum that stretches across the width of a race vehicle's rear decklid. It is designed to create downforce on the rear of the vehicle, thereby increasing traction. However, the tradeoff, again, is that more downforce equals more aerodynamic drag, so teams attempt, particularly on qualifying runs, to lay the spoiler at as low an angle as possible to "free up" their vehicles for more straightaway speed.
Stagger is a concept that has largely been eliminated with the use of radial tires. It refers to the difference in tire circumference between the left- and right-side tires on the vehicle. Typically, the left-side tires would be a smaller circumference than the right-side tires to "help" the vehicle make left-hand turns.
Slang term used for tire traction.
Slang term for new tires. The name is derived from the manufacturer's stickers that are affixed to each new tire's contact surface.
STOP 'N' GO (BLACK FLAGGED)
A penalty, usually assessed for speeding on pit road at the appropriate speed and stopped for one full second in the team's pit stall before returning to the track.
A racetrack of one mile or more in distance. Road courses are included. Racers refer to three types of oval tracks. Short tracks are under one mile, intermediate tracks are at least a mile but under two miles and superspeedways are two miles and longer.
Sometimes called an "antiroll bar." Bar used to resist or counteract the rolling force of the car body through the turns.
A device used to check the body shape and size to ensure compliance with the rules. The template closely resembles the shape of the factory version of the car.
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 through the wall.
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.
(Also referred to as a "Panhard bar.") This bar locates the vehicle's rear end housing from left-to-right under it. In calibrating the vehicle's "suspension geometry," raising or lowering the track bar changes the rear roll center and determines how well it will travel through the corners. During races, this adjustment is done through the rear window using an extended ratchet. Typically, lowering the track bar will "tighten" the vehicle and raising the track bar will "loosen" it.
A rear suspension piece holding the rear axle firmly fore and aft yet allowing it to travel up and down.
A racetrack that has a "hump" or "fifth turn" in addition to the standard four corners. Not to be confused with a triangle-shaped speedway, which only has three distinct corners.
Air that trails behind a race car and disrupts the flow of air to the cars behind it.
(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.
Sometimes called the "winner's circle." The spot on each racetrack's infield where the race winner parks for the celebration.
Refers to the relationship from corner-to-corner of the weight of the race vehicle. Increasing the weight on any corner of the vehicle affects the weight of the other three corners in direct proportion. Weight adjustments are made by turning "weight jacking screws" mounted on each corner with a ratchet. A typical adjustment for a "loose" car would be to increase the weight of the left rear corner of the vehicle, which decreases the weight of the left front and right rear corners and increases the weight of the right front. A typical adjustment for a "tight" vehicle would be to increase the weight of the right rear corner, which decreases the weight of the right front and left rear and increases the weight of the left front.
The practice of shifting a car's weight to favor certain wheels.
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.