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What Is A NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Car?

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What Is A NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Car?
Parker Anderson/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0
Question: What Is A NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Car?
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing grew from NASCAR's early "strictly stock" series. You used to be able to drive your car to the race track and race it. These days the cars are purpose-built speed machines. NASCAR has many rules to keep the cars equal. Here are some of the basic things that define a NASCAR Sprint Cup race car.
Answer: NASCAR Race Car Rules

NASCAR Sprint Cup race cars are based on American-built sedans. While Formula One and IndyCar race open wheeled speedsters NASCAR cars have fenders and vaguely resemble the cars that people have in their own driveways.

Sprint Cup race cars are required to have three "stock" parts from the manufacturer. The hood, the roof and the trunk lid are all standard parts. The rest of the vehicles are pure racing fabrications.

  • Weight: 3,400 pounds
  • Wheelbase: 110 inches
  • Fuel Capacity: 17.5 gallons (most tracks)
  • Fuel Type: 110 octane unleaded fuel
  • Top Speed: 235 (Rusty Wallace ran 228 in a test at Talladega in 2004 and believes 235 was possible)

NASCAR Engines

A NASCAR Sprint Cup motor is the heart of the race car. They use somewhat older technology in that they have carburetors instead of modern fuel injection. This helps keep costs down since all of the components are mechanical instead of allowing complicated electronics.

The basic facts:

  • 8 cylinders
  • 358 cubic inches
  • 750 horsepower (approximate)

Random Facts About NASCAR Race Cars

  • The headlights on a NASCAR race car are just realistic decals

  • NASCAR race cars have to meet a series of templates that NASCAR uses to limit the shape of the cars. This keeps all cars looking basically the same

  • NASCAR tires have no tread, so they can not race in the rain

  • Because NASCAR race cars are heavier they require a harder tire compound than any other racing series

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