Inquiring minds want to know the answers to some of the most common NASCAR questions plugged into a Google search. Some are ones that fans might not normally say out loud and others are more practical concerns – but the bottom line is that folks want to know! So here are some of the ones we uncovered in our own search to see what NASCAR fans seek to know about the drivers and the sport they love.
Let’s start with an awkward NASCAR question that many are wondering about – but may not verbalize.
Do NASCAR drivers wear a diaper? If not, how do they…you know?
NASCAR races can last up to four hours and few sports out there would not have a bathroom break during a half-time or in between events. Drivers spend days hydrating to endure 130-degree-plus heat during a race. So how do they handle the need to go to the bathroom?
While they don’t wear diapers, most drivers say that the urge to go that can’t wait only happens to them once or twice a year. Most drivers simply try to hold it until the end of the race, but if the urge is too strong, it can be a major distraction. So they simply go. Many have said that since they are already hot and soaking wet from sweat, it doesn’t really matter. Driver Brad Keselowski has said that having the adrenaline and sweat going works to a driver’s advantage, helping them to hold it or even not need to go at all. When drivers are hydrated well, they often sweat out the water rather than…well…need to relieve it in other ways.
Do NASCAR drivers lose weight during a race?
Absolutely! Drivers can lose five to ten pounds in sweat during a race. However, there is a risk to this weight loss. If a driver loses more than 3 percent of his body weight in sweat and doesn’t rehydrate, his/her focus and reflexes may start declining.
The fact that drivers can lose up to ten pounds in a race and NOT have performance issues is a testament to the kind of athletes they are. Driver Landon Cassill performed an interesting experiment a few years ago to prove this point!
What do drivers eat BEFORE a race?
Ideally, drivers want high-protein, filling food that won’t weigh them down. Many drivers opt for standard eggs and bacon, fruit, yogurt or oatmeal breakfast. Some drink coffee while some don’t. All say drinking water is very important (see next question to understand why!).
Driver, Jamie McMurray, shared in a Breakfast of Champions article from 2017 that his favorite thing to eat at the time was “either oatmeal with poached eggs on top or toast with avocado, poached eggs and tomatoes.” McMurray commented on it being very filling and easy to make on his bus.
Does NASCAR have air conditioning?
Nope. Air conditioning would provide extra weight in the car and negatively impact speed. However, drivers do have ways to cool down (somewhat).
Some drivers have a built-in ventilation system that blows air on the seat and at their feet. There are racing helmets that have an attachment for plugging in a host to provide driers fresh air. Drivers may wear cool racing suits or cool clothing. These clothing items have a series of tubing sewn into the material that pumps a chilled liquid throughout the garment. The theory is that by cooling the blood, you cool the entire body.
Despite all this, drivers still sweat a ton and are only really able to cool down their vehicles by about ten degrees.
Why do NASCAR tracks go counterclockwise?
There are actually many thoughts behind having drivers drive counterclockwise instead of clockwise. First is that while race cars can turn both directions, the oval shape of most tracks and the driver’s seat being on the left side make turning left more natural. With the driver on the left side, it stands to reason that ONLY making left turns would make the track shorter.
But racing counterclockwise has a long tradition, going back to horse races. And there is speculation about the heart being on the left side of the body and the centrifugal force impeding blood flow if making right turns.
Buz McKim, NASCAR historian, claims that it is an act of defiance against the British, who ran horses on tracks clockwise. So naturally, we decided to run our horses counterclockwise here…and NASCAR followed suit.
The true reason may never be known.
Do NASCAR drivers listen to music while racing?
There may be a random driver who claims to, but the vast majority of drivers say no. Cars are noisy to start with, and drivers need to listen to their spotters through their headset while in a race.
Drivers like Martin Truex, Jr. have shared that it is too distracting, claiming that being on a racetrack with music coming through headphones made him feel like he was in outer space!
Do NASCAR drivers eat or drink during a race?
Most definitely. But they have to be careful about what they eat and drink and how they access it (it’s not like they can stop in at McDonald’s in the middle of a race!).
Some drivers carry snack boxes in their cars. Others will ask for something at a pit stop (that gets handed to them through the window). Popular items include any foods for energy that can be eaten quickly. Hydration is important, due to all the sweating, so drivers have water bottles or even hydration devices built into their helmet. Drivers have to always be concerned about how much weight is in their car, as it impacts speed, so they cannot carry too much food or water. To be sure, it’s a balancing act – but drivers cannot go without fuel and liquids during a race.