NASCAR Fans Have Been Earning Physics Degrees And Don't Even Know It

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IApril 6, 2009

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 05:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

There isn’t a NASCAR fan out there that doesn’t know that science is what gets their favorite drivers around a race track at 190 mph. They just might not know that science intimately.


A newly-released 12 module online educational video series called “The Science of Speed” that was announced at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas this past weekend could change that. The sole intention of the series is to get science students in high school not just interested, but excited, about science.


The production of this educational series was completed through the coordination of NASCAR, University of Texas at Dallas Physics Professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, and Sante Fe Productions, Albuquerque, N.M. Professor Leslie-Pelecky is also the book author of "The Physics of NASCAR."


If you were to sit back and think about it, the race cars that are put on the track today are all about physics, geometry, and aerodynamics. Leslie-Pelecky is also a NASCAR fan and she actually did some thinking about it.


The professor walks you through the basic concepts of many sciences with the help of crew members from several of the well-known racing camps of Hendrick Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, and Earnhardt Childress racing, among many other teams. These talks cover safety, sound, friction, and other physics branches that are required to make those race cars move at high speeds.


And you thought it was just a spectator sport. Now we know NASCAR racing is nearly as sophisticated as rocket science.


You can learn more about Professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky and her book, "The Physics of NASCAR", at You can learn more about “The Science of Speed” at