In NASCAR races, weight and speed are enemies, yet friends!
Oh, you get the “enemy” part, but why “friend”? It’s because a car with good weight distribution can get more downforce, which means better speed at corners.
That leads to the most important question: How much does a NASCAR car weigh so that the car can land exactly on the “enemy” and “friend” border?
This article has your answer. Let’s get started!
How much a NASCAR Cup car weighs
According to the NASCAR rule book, a NASCAR Sprint Cup car must weigh at least 3,300 pounds (1496kg) without fuel or driver.
But that is not the end of it. NASCAR assumes that all drivers are 180 pounds. So, every 10 pounds under that number means a driver must add 10 pounds to the car to get back up to 180 pounds.
For example, Kyle Larson, who drives the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports, weights 135 lbs. He must add 50 lbs to his car so that it weighs 3305 lbs.
In 2013, the NASCAR rule book did not apply weight penalty if drivers’ weight dropped under 140 lbs. For that reason, Danica Patrick, a female racer, who only weighed 110 lbs at that time, only had to add 40 lbs of extra weight, not 70! So that’s a 30 lbs of advantage over her competitors.
Fuel is another factor as the number 3,300 lbs only apply to a car without fuel. A gallon of racing fuel weighs approximately 6 lbs. The maximum fuel capacity for Sprint Cup races is 22 gallons. Do some maths, and we have the maximum fuel weight of a NASCAR car – 132 lbs.
That brings the total weight of a typical NASCAR Cup car up to 3,612 lbs (3,300+180+132), where driver and fuel weight are already taken into account.
How much a NASCAR tire and wheel weigh
If you’re asking yourself this question, I guess you want to become a NASCAR tire carrier someday.
A NASCAR tire (18”) itself weighs about 24 lbs, and a wheel weighs 27 lbs. So that’s 51 lbs in total. During a pit stop, a tire carrier has to carry two tires at the same time as quickly as he can. That’s 101 lbs. Not an easy job!
How much the engine weighs in a NASCAR car
NASCAR Sprint Cup cars use 358 cubic inches (5.9-liter) displacement V8 engines, which produce about 700 to 800 horsepower.
These engines weigh around 575 lb or 260 kg (without oil), that’s more than 17% of the car’s weight.
NASCAR weight distribution – How important is it?
Weight balance is an essential part of setting up a race car. You need to have the correct weight balance so that the car handles well while cornering.
On an oval NASCAR race, the weight can be distributed more on the left side. The weight can be up to 58% bias to the left. This is because on an oval track, all cars only turn left. In this case, left-side weight distribution allows you to get more speed through the corners.
On a road course, the weight distribution is closer to 50/50, because cars drive both left and right turns. Left or right-side weight distribution will depend on whether there are more right turns or left turns.
That’s about left and right weight distribution, how about front and rear?
The rear weight distribution factor is also simple. Cars racing on oval tracks usually have a front bias of around 52 percent for better grip on the front tires. On the other hand, cars racing on road course tracks prefer more weight on the rear, allowing more braking power and better acceleration.
This video below show how pit crews can use a track bar to adjust the weight distribution of a NASCAR.
How much does a NASCAR truck weigh?
Unlike the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series cars, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race trucks’ minimum weight is 3400 pounds without driver and fuel.
Even though NASCAR trucks carry 100 lb of extra weight, their engines can still produce nearly as much horsepower as the other two Series. However, NASCAR trucks are still slower than NASCAR cars due to their less aerodynamic design.
NASCAR CUP cars’ minimum weight is 3,300 pounds. While this may seem like a lot, it is actually quite light when you consider all the equipment that goes into a car and the safety features that NASCAR requires. With so much on the line during each race, every pound counts!
Let me know what you think about this number in the comment section below.