You are here

Back to top

The Physics of Nascar: The Science Behind the Speed (Paperback)

The Physics of Nascar: The Science Behind the Speed Cover Image
Special Order


A physicist explores the science of speed racing and the #1 spectator sport in America in the perfect gift for both NASCAR and science fans. 

Every NASCAR fan—at one time or another—asks the same question: Why isn’t my favorite driver winning? This is your chance to discover how much more there is to NASCAR than “Go fast, turn left and don’t crash.” If you’ve ever wondered why racecars don’t have mufflers, how “bump drafting” works, or what in the world “Let’s go up a pound on the right rear and add half a round of wedge” means, The Physics of NASCAR is for you. 

In this fast-paced investigation into the adrenaline-pumping world of NASCAR, a physicist with a passion uncovers what happens when the rubber hits the road and 800-horsepower vehicles compete at 190 miles per hour only inches from one another. 

Diandra Leslie-Pelecky tells her story in terms anyone who drives a car—and maybe occasionally looks under the hood--can understand. How do drivers walk away from serious crashes? How can two cars travel faster together than either car can on its own? How do you dress for a 1800°F gasoline fire? In simple yet detailed, high-octane prose, this is the ultimate thrill ride for armchair speed demons, auto science buffs, and NASCAR fans at every level of interest. 

Readers, start your engines.

About the Author

Diandra Leslie-Pelecky works at the intersection between science and story, leveraging her unique background as a nanomaterials researcher, a motorsports writer and a master science communicator to create unique stories. She is nationally recognized for her work in science education and outreach at all levels, with projects primarily funded by the National Science Foundation. The Physics of NASCAR has been featured in publications from the Materials Research Bulletin to Sporting News. Her blog, Building Speed, focuses on the science of motorsports and is avidly read by NASCAR fans and insiders.

Praise For…

"To understand what is happening on the track... you need The Physics of NASCAR."—New York Times
“[Leslie-Pelecky], a physicist and devoted NASCAR fan, explains in clear, simple terms what goes into making a NASCAR vehicle, from design to development to construction to test-driving. Along the way, she introduces us to some of the sport’s key players and teaches us (painlessly) more about the physics of speed racing than we ever thought we needed to know. NASCAR fans will flock to this book.”—Booklist
“Having caught, by chance, the broadcast of a multi-car NASCAR crash on television, Nebraska University physics professor Leslie-Pelecky found herself compelled to understand why it happened… Along the way, the nanotech specialist becomes an unlikely racing fan; this fun physics primer should give any NASCAR aficionado a similar appreciation for science.”—Publishers Weekly
"Language sports fans can understand... You'll be as entertained as you are informed."—Sporting News
"The people she encounters are fascinating... Even if you are not a NASCAR fan, read The Physics of NASCAR."—Physics Today

Product Details
ISBN: 9780452290228
ISBN-10: 0452290228
Publisher: Plume
Publication Date: January 27th, 2009
Pages: 320
Language: English