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)
  • LaurenCC-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 03:58 p.m.

    We learned about stem in ELA. Stem mean science technology engineering and math. One of the NASCAR drivers is now a substitute teacher at Columbia Missouri. It took a lot of time to research our person and get to know them.

  • BrettW-Kra
    2/25/2015 - 04:00 p.m.

    Nascar coming to a school near you! This article i read today was about how NASCAR is sending these kits to schools so the kids can learn more about STEM, mostly focusing on the math and engineering part. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Math, and engineering. Some of the stuff in these kits are the 3 D's of speed. I think this is a good idea for NASCAR because it will teach kids to learn more about STEM.

    • MichaelGgreen
      3/10/2015 - 12:05 p.m.

      i disagree with you i watch Nascar and the races are not long. But i like it so thin what you want you want but i am telling you the truth.

  • SladeG-2
    2/25/2015 - 07:42 p.m.

    This article is about NASCAR coming to your schools to educate you but still have fun in games. NASCAR is going to teach the children and teachers about their engineering and how fast they will be able to go on and off the tracks. Some schools and teachers will get the kit from NASCAR including some of the interactive toys that will help kids become smarter and more educated. They also have a website for friends with math and other games. There is also an interactive play area that children and teens can visit on race days. My opinion on this article is that I think it is very awesome that NASCAR is contributing to schools to make students learn and have fun at the same time.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    2/25/2015 - 08:25 p.m.

    I think that it is cool for a NASCAR driver to come visit a school or be a substitute teacher because I think that the school lets the NASCAR drivers to bring their race cars to school, but I think that they should ask the school principal I think to do a presentation on how they do while they race with their cars. Well if the NASCAR driver wanted to be a substitute teacher, I think that will be cool if a substitute teacher comes in.

  • LaurenT-5
    2/25/2015 - 08:35 p.m.

    Nascar is joining up with STEM in classrooms and outside. The program is going to focus on drag, downforce, and drafting. They hope to show a fun side to engineering and math with bringing in Nascar. The whole part of NASCAR is aerodynamics and drag which is a main part of engineering. One teacher hopes to gain the attention back of his students by bringing a fun project into class. An ex racer explained that his studies of math and science helped him with how much fuel he needed and the distances he should go each time he raced. He really appreciated his studies and encourages other students to too, 7,400 kits will be sent to students to get them started on this fun and exciting project. I really like this idea. I'm in a STEM class right now and I wish we could have the chance to do this.

  • ChaseG-5
    2/26/2015 - 02:14 a.m.

    This article is about how NASCAR is promoting STEM. STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math. NASCAR has a lot to do with STEM such as calculating speed and improving aerodynamics. NASCAR will be helping classes be more involved with there studies. They do this by making the subjects more interesting by including race cars. I think that this article is cool because I'm currently in a STEM class and we are learning a lot of new things. I also think it would be cool to do the NASCAR thing.

  • reagans-DiB
    2/26/2015 - 08:56 a.m.

    I think it is a great idea to bring NASCAR to schools. I don't care what anybody says about NASCAR, who wouldn't want the rush of going 200mph around the track.

  • 18Beau-May
    2/26/2015 - 09:24 a.m.

    It would be cool having a racer coming to my school.Also my grandpa loves nascar.So I could take pictures for him.I would love meeting racers

  • 08Avery-May
    2/26/2015 - 09:27 a.m.

    I think that it would be cool to have a NASCAR driver at my school. I watch that all of the time with my dad. Honestly don't like watching it on TV but to go to a race I think would be kinda fun. But my question is how many schools are they going to come to? Now the seasons coming where in the world do they have the time to come to schools? I think that its going to be an awesome experience for the school that wins. Great Article!!!!! :]

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