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The Basics of a Nascar Nextel Cup Race Car

Americans have been known for their many passions which includes speed. This apparent need for speed has led to the creation of motor races which have been attracting Americans year after year. While the sport may not seem as physical as other sports such as baseball, football, and basket ball, a huge number of Americans are supporting sports based on the speed of automobiles. And when one speaks of car race, the first thing that comes to mind is the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

The said championship series has captured the imagination of millions of Americans who are known for their attraction to speed contests. The United States is also undoubtedly the biggest market for automobiles in the world which is a reason for the love of automobiles shown by Americans. As popular as the Nextel Cup Series may be, there are still a large number of people who are still in the dark what this sport is about.

Basically, the Nextel Cup is a series of races where the best race car driver, as judged by the number of points received during the duration of the entire series of races is crowned as the champion. The motorsport can be traced back to the days when races are between "strictly stock" cars or cars which have not been modified in any way. During those early days, one can bring a car to the tracks and race it.

Today though, the race cars used in the Nextel Cup Series are tailor made for racing. Although teams can tinker with their cars to make it better than the competition's, NASCAR imposes rules to keep the cars equal. This year, four car brands have their vehicles racing at the series. These are Ford, Dodge, Toyota, and Chevrolet. The latter has been dominating the current series by winning nine of the last ten races.

While a NASCAR Nextel Cup race car can be modified for racing, they must have three stock parts from manufacturers. These three parts are the roof, the trunk lid, and the hood of the cars. Aside from these three parts, the chassis, the drive train, suspension, steering, and other systems can be modified to make the car so as to be suited to the demands of high speed operations. In fact, aftermarket parts such as the Pacesetter exhaust parts can be used by these race cars. While these systems can be tinkered with, NASCAR set some rules that each team must meet including the weight of the race car.

Currently, the weight set by NASCAR for race cars is 3,400 pounds. Another rule is that the distance between the front and rear wheels should also be uniform on all race cars which would compete in the Nextel Cup Series. The wheelbase of all race cars should be 100 inches. The fuel capacity of these race cars are also controlled by NASCAR. For most tracks, the mandated fuel capacity is 17.5 gallons. All race cars entering the contest should have the same fuel type which is 110 octane unleaded fuel as ruled by the sport's sanctioning body. The cars' top speed also has a limit which is set at 235 miles per hour.

For a car to be permitted to race at the Nextel Cup Series, its engine should conform to the rules set by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or NASCAR. For instance, electronic features are not permitted and instead, mechanical parts are used. This keeps the costs from ballooning for the benefit of teams competing in the races. Engines allowed to be used on race cars competing in the Nextel Cup Series should have eight cylinders with combustion chambers measuring 358 cubic inches. To keep the cars equal power output is set at a maximum of approximately 750 horsepower.

An interesting fact about these race cars is their headlights. Since these cars are raced only during the day, they do not need to have a pair of headlights. The actual headlights that we see in front of these cars are in fact decals which look realistic enough to fool the unknowing person. Another interesting fact about these race cars is that they have to meet a number of templates that NASCAR is using to make sure that the shape of the cars is almost uniform. The tires used on these cars have no tread on them which is the reason why the Jimmy Stewart 400 was postponed due to the rain that poured during the event. The absence of treads on the tires of these cars makes them impossible to race in wet tracks. The tire compound used on these cars' tire is harder than those used by other motorsport vehicles given the fact that these race cars significantly weigh more.

About The Author Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today. You
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