March 16, 2024
Delaware State University, Bank of America Building
US/Eastern timezone
See you all the the Fall 2024 Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 19 @ JLab/Zoom !

The Physics of NASCAR

Mar 16, 2024, 2:15 PM
BOA 113, Longwood Auditorium (Delaware State University, Bank of America Building)

BOA 113, Longwood Auditorium

Delaware State University, Bank of America Building

1200 N. DuPont Highway Dover, DE 19901
Featured Presentation (1 hour) Featured Talk 2


Dr Diandra Leslie-Pelecky


Most people watching a NASCAR race see racecars. Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky sees a science experiment on wheels — and a way to interest more people in physics. She’s gotten behind-the-scenes access to race shops and personnel, driven the 24-degree banking of Texas Motor Speedway, and embedded with a race team. She shows fans how a team cannot win a NASCAR race without mastering math, science and engineering, and how their understand of the sport will be enhanced if they learn a little more about the science behind the speed.

In 75 years, NASCAR has evolved from moonshine and dirt tracks to computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis. Dirt tracks are still part of the picture, but so are sweeping superspeedways and sprawling road courses. NASCAR has changed profoundly in the 16 years she’s been reporting on the sport. This will be the third year of racing with the seventh-generation Next Gen racecar, which looks more like a production car and has cutting edge safety features.

NASCAR has even built their first electric racecar.

Dr. Diandra will explain how racing isn’t as simple as mv2/r, how you can use cars to increase student interest. She’ll also explain how motorsports have the potential to help lead the change to more sustainable vehicles. Whether you’re a race fan curious to know why your driver is (or isn’t) winning, or a scientist wondering why people get so excited about cars driving in circles, you will enjoy learning about the science of speed.

Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky is the author of "The Physics of NASCAR" and the "Building Speed" blog. She is a contributor to NBC Sports and SiriusXM Speedway. Outlets from the New York Times to Sporting News to Physics World have covered her work and drawn on her expertise.

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