National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, better known as Nascar sends some adrenaline flowing. A stock car means the one which is available with the dealer for sale. It could also mean a racing car having the same chassis available with a normally available car. In that sense, Nascar car is not really a racing car, but the one which you drive on normal roads. But then the difference is of winning.
This difference of winning has snatched honesty of some of the people in the past. It had to be winning at any cost. Some of the prime examples of such tricks on Nascar circuit have been laid out to make your reading interesting and also to ‘enlighten’ you.
Initial years of early 50’s didn’t really offer much of a chance for tricksters to showcase their talent. However, some engine tuning used to take place. Nothing more than that.
The later ‘golden’ era changed some of this when strictly Stock Car banner was somehow stretched to racing. A smart driver had deployed a trick of reducing the weight of the car. He used to have loads of buckshot and get the car ‘passed’ during an inspection. He would then very innocuously drop it down with a simple mechanism, and no wonder, his car would canter away because of lower weight.
Then there was one, a legend of sorts, called Smokey. He still enjoys a reputation – he had lots of parts in the car which were illegal. He was called to remove those parts, which was duly done. Even the fuel tank was found to be out of ’specs’ sheet. Smokey was asked to remove that too, this too was complied with. Who knows really what & why this happened, he was asked to take his car out, without the tank. Smokey didn’t utter a word, and took the car away!
Smokey is credited with yet another ‘innovation’. While being checked for adherence to specifications, each on the inspection team had a feeling that something was wrong, but nobody could really find out. It was known only when his car was compared to that available in the showroom. It was found that his car was made to be 13% smaller than the commercially available car. This reduction in size would have given tremendous advantage to Smokey – the car would have been much superior aerodynamically, and thereby zip ahead of others.
And now comes daddy of all the tricks as heard from storytellers – one driver actually had a small tank containing nitrous oxide. It was so beautifully camouflaged that no inspector could ever find it. A small pipe was used to inject this oxide in the combustion, and this pipe was disguised as a fuel pipe. Of course, the truth never was and will be found out.
Now the times have changed. Nascar has become stricter than ever it was. Penalties have been heavier than before, and most important – it is now difficult to race ahead of its inspection team, which rather used to be not so difficult.