NASCAR coming to a school near you  maybe yours! NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Matt Kenseth celebrates with a burn out after winning race one of the Budweiser Duel at Daytona International Speedway in 2014 (Reuters / Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)
NASCAR coming to a school near you maybe yours!
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It takes a lot of geometry and physics to get a race car to go 200 laps at speeds that can top 200 mph.

In a nod to the often overlooked science behind races like the Daytona 500, NASCAR is announcing a years-long commitment to promote "STEM" inside classrooms and out. STEM is the buzzword for science, technology, engineering and math.

The NASCAR Acceleration Nation initiative focuses on the three D's of speed. That's downforce, drafting and drag. The initiative includes instructional materials for teachers.

The effort is a way for NASCAR to show the fun side of engineering and math. And to encourage fans to view NASCAR in a new way, said Brent Dewar. He is the racing organization's chief operating officer.

"A lot of people see cars racing and they love the sport for the sporting element of cars winning, and racing and passing," Dewar said. "Behind all of that is pure science. It's the horse power. And it's drag and it's aerodynamics."

Driver Carl Edwards was a substitute teacher in Columbia, Missouri. That was long before he became known for his back-flip off cars after winning races. For him, one of the biggest teaching challenges was keeping students' attention. He hopes that bringing race cars into science discussions will spark interest.

Edwards said that with every lap, scientific data is involved. The science includes tracking the statistical probability of crashing at different parts of the race. Or determining the amount of fuel used by the engine at different speeds. Although he said he still uses the science and math he learned in school, Edwards wishes he'd learned even more.

"You can take any part of the car and talk about how it was engineered and why it's designed the way it is to interact with the rest of the race car. And there's a physics or a math or a science lesson in any of that," he said.

As part of the initiative, NASCAR partnered with publisher Scholastic Corp. Fact sheets and quizzes have been developed focused on aerodynamics, primarily for middle school teachers.

Here is an example of the topics.

Why can race cars in a drafting formation lined up behind each other go faster than cars moving solo?

The answer is that the air acts like a vacuum and sucks trailing cars forward. Leading cars also get a boost because the trailing cars push high-pressure air over the leading cars' spoilers.

About 7,400 kits will be mailed to teachers. Teachers can also go online to download the material. They can see online demonstrations. The effort includes a website for fans with math and other games. There is an interactive play area that children and teens can visit on race days.

Critical thinking challenge: How does NASCAR benefit from this initiative?

SPONSOR LINK: Learn How Bayer Is Supporting STEM Education in Schools

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COMMENTS (120)
  • gerquincy
    2/25/2015 - 08:56 a.m.

    NASCAR is really cool for school because you can play and drive it to you can get tickes to NASCAR games.
    car will always be cool.

  • BradfordAmani-DiB
    2/25/2015 - 10:53 a.m.

    Basically there are NASCAR things coming to town. People will enjoy. And all that greatness. NASCAR NASCAR NASCAR. Can't wait to see it in my home town. Yayyy (sarcastically speaking)

  • HicksQueen-DiB
    2/25/2015 - 11:07 a.m.

    I don't care about NASCAR but i think it benefits the people cause its entertainment and something to do when there's nothing to watch on tv

  • briw-boo
    2/25/2015 - 11:41 a.m.

    Those races seem fun to go to but I never been to one. The drivers go fast, its dangerous I could never do that job. The people who do that job are brave to me.

  • travisp-DiB
    2/25/2015 - 11:47 a.m.

    over the years Nascar has gotten boring. They really not as aggressive as they used to be when I used to watch them in my childhood Jeff Gordon was my favorite racer. Sa me thing with him he's not doinggood much to win anymore. No one is really trying to make it seem like a good race.

  • BenP-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 03:50 p.m.

    This article was about how NASCAR may be entered into your science classroom. It is about how it is hard to get kids attention. NASCAR or racecars may be the answer. If racing was a topic in science it would be a way better class.

  • MichaelWW-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 03:52 p.m.

    I remember when i did a report about stem. we had to write a 4 to 6 minute speech and give it in front of our class. I also like watching nascar with my dad. Carl edwards is my favorite driver. I never knew mr edwards was a student teacher. Thats pretty cool. Cars going over 200 miles per hour is very impressive. Im guessing that relies on how heavy the car is and something about aerodynamics.

  • JinesisH-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 03:53 p.m.

    Hope NASCAR racing goes to my school. Didn't know there was that much math in cars.Some ppl for STEM at my school r boring.

  • JadennG-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 03:54 p.m.

    I think if it came close to my house then i would probably go but that is like 1 out of a million chance of happening. I also think that it would be really hard to maintain a speed of 200 miles a hour if you were doing turns cause then you would have to press on the gas and realice to maintain that speed. I think it does take a lot of physics and geometry.

  • MichaelI-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 03:55 p.m.

    Nascar is starting to take part in stem. They are sending 0ver 7,000 kits for teachers to use to help kids learn with raceing. I think its cool that people are looking to help the next generation learn. Especially that they are doing it with racing and nascars.

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