Can NASCAR Survive the Inevitable Electric Race Car?

No explosions. No sound, no fury, no ground trembling just silence or a soft whoooosh as they blow by at 200 mph.

Ever wonder what fascinates guys about NASCAR?

It is the explosions, not the wrecks.

Ssince the Ninth Century when the Chinese invented gun powder, men have been fascinated about things that go kaboom. The sound, the power..."Fascinating," as Spock would say.

What we have tried very successfully to do in auto racing is harness the power of an explosion and turn it into something useful, like motion.

When a 4-cylinder engine is turning 9,000 RPMs that's 9,000 explosions per minute. In a big stock car V-8, that's 18,000 explosions per minute.  


Formula 1 cars shriek, Indy cars whine but stock cars roar. You can hear the explosions and the power. Stand close enough to a grand national stock car, and you can actually feel the power.

If you go to Daytona for either of the two NASCAR races, the ground actually trembles on the starting lap. Now that's sound and fury.

I am one of those guys who routes the TV race sounds through the stereo, all 500 watts or so, and when they say crank it up, I do. The Bose speakers leap to life.

The dogs hide, the bird puts her head under her wing, the wine glasses rattle.  I think I have actually seen the curtains flutter.

Explosions at their absolute best. I love it!

This week there was a lot of press about electric cars. I think they are the wave of the future. We are one breakthrough away from the electric-powered vehicle going viral. It will either be in electric motor technology or battery science. There are literally thousands of researchers working on the problem as you read this.

What happens to NASCAR when cars go electric?

No explosions. No sound, no fury, no ground trembling just silence or a soft whoooosh as they blow by at 200 mph.

To get a feel for how all of this might work, during this week's race, I set up a large fan, cranked up the stereo and then simply pushed MUTE and turned on the fan.

The silence was deafening. Even my Coors Light didn't look as inviting

I can't imagine what it would be like in the grandstands. You would actually have to talk to the person next to you and hear their response.

NASCAR needs to start a research program on a noisy electric motor because without the sound and the fury, it just won't be NASCAR. 

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net , or send me a Facebook Friend request at Gene Webb

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Dean Hunter June 09, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Doc, you are missing the opportunity here. The electronics (Bose) manufacturers will have a whole new market. Can you imagine 100,0000 + watts of amplifier in a NASCAR generating that sound we all like. What I will miss is all the smells. The smell of Sunoco racing fuel and motor oil. We will, I suppose, still have the smell of burning rubber. So it will not be all bad.


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