Q: “I’ve been reading your book and I was wondering how much certain techniques, such as the ideal line through a corner and reducing steering angle with rotation and others, translate to NASCAR-type cars on ovals. I know that isn’t the kind of racing you did; however I do know you coached Colin Braun who did race in NASCAR for a bit so I was wondering if you could give me any guidance!”
A: The simple answer is it totally applies – all of it. Now, the ideal line in every corner is different, so I can’t say the line through turn 1 at Road America is the same as turn 1 on the Charlotte oval. But the concepts are equally important and valid. In almost all cases, reducing steering angle is a good thing. Reducing distance driven is also a factor to consider. Because the corners tend to be longer and faster on ovals, there is often less need to rotate the car, but it’s still used at times – especially on short ovals. And the idea of “diamonding” a corner really applies to ovals (and some long carousel corners on road courses).
I’m a sim racer on iRacing and I’ve read and am reading every Speed Secrets book I can get my hands on. It’s really helping me understand what’s happening with the racer, and yes the techniques apply to the sim once you understand what to look/listen for, although it’s a little trickier without being able to feel the motion and G-forces to the car.. I used to run only oval, but became curious about road course racing. Once I trained my hands to turn right (LOL), I was hooked, but last night I went back to oval after almost a year absence. I got in late and had next to no practice so I started at the back of the field. Setups were fixed with the exception of brake bias, so we were all driving the sam car basically. Having a better understanding of trail braking from the books and lot of road course racing helped me quickly adjust the bias to get a better entry. The first thing I noticed was my braking point was early compared to everyone else, but because I wasn’t driving into the corner too deep, I seemed to be able to roll the center better, so I was winning from the center off. Trail breaking the entry instead of driving deeper into the corner and braking harder kept my right front cooler gave me a huge advantage in the longer runs. I ended up 2nd out of 25 cars, but I never would have gotten their without applying the techniques I learned in the Speed Secret books!!