Drafting is a technique seen in NASCAR all the time. In order to begin drafting, there need to be at least two cars. As the cars are racing at high speeds, they line up with the nose of one car to the rear of the car in front of them. This type of formation allows for the trailing car to gain space on the car in front. It is due to the fact that the lead car is being hit with the most resistance and the drag on the trailing car is significantly reduced due to this.
Types of Drafting
This technique is very similar to standard drafting. In this scenario, the trailing car bumps into the lead car rather than keeping its nose pressed into the back of the car. This technique can be dangerous, as the car that gets bumped into may lose control and crash or cause other crashes. The results of bump drafting offer the same speed advantage that normal drafting has.
The side drafting technique is only beneficial for one car as it negatively affects the other car. The rear car pulls up to the side of the front car while maintaining the nose of the car close to the front car's back wheel. This pushes the oncoming air onto the front car's spoiler, causing it to lose speed and slow down. The technique is used to try and pass the car in front of you.
Why is Drafting Important?
Both cars involved in the drafting process mutually benefit from it. While the lead car blocks the resistance to the trailing car, the trailing car limits the turbulence that comes off the back of the lead car. The two cars that are drafting are then acting as one car in terms of air flow. Due to this reduced air flow, the two cars then race at higher speeds than they would be able to achieve if they were not drafting. Drafting also reduces fuel consumption throughout the race.
When Should a Driver Draft?
NASCAR races are extremely long with some lasting around three hours to complete. Due to this, drafting cannot be achieved throughout the entire race due to the engines overheating. Drivers must make calculations to determine when the best time is to perform this technique so that they can get the best results. If racers draft for too long or draft at the wrong times, it can limit them for the rest of the race.