Fuel for Speed

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There’s nothing quite as thrilling as being at the race track. The cars race by at deafening speed, each driver trying their best to out-pace their competitors. It really is a spectacle to be at the track on race day. Honstein oil and gas has always had a soft spot in our heart when it comes to those who race cars like they’re lightning on wheels. Nowhere will you find a more dangerously fast and exciting sport.

As oil and gas distributors, we like to take a look at what makes racecars so different from the vehicles we drive. Our answer? Not just the type of vehicle but fuel plays a huge role in racing success.

For Starters: You won’t find your usual car set up on the race track. NASCAR and NHRA vehicles are specifically designed for speed. From their fiberglass outer shells, to minimal room inside, they are aerodynamic powerhouses meant to cut down wind resistance with just enough weight to keep them low and fast.

The Tires: racing tires are wide and durable. But when aiming for speed many would assume that smaller tires would create more speed—the reality is yes, and no. While smaller tires would be faster, wider tires are needed to support the car and deliver the best traction and handling. When traveling at excessive speed, handling can be the difference between first and second place.

The Fuel: We wouldn’t be the great fuel distributor we are if we didn’t mention the fuel. Race cars are broken up into three categories: NASCAR, Indy Cars, dragsters (and funny cars). Each type of vehicle has different fuel needs. For instance:

• NASCAR: 110 octane leaded gasoline
• Indy Car: Pure Methanol
• Dragsters and funny cars: Nitromethane

110 octane leaded gas provides a lot of power for NASCAR vehicles and performs very well under high compression, delivering power and speed. Methanol, the least volatile of the fuels, also handles extremely high compression with the bonus of easier fire control if the fuel does ignite. Nitromethane is pure power. Basically, a straight explosive, nitromethane provides extreme amounts of energy per unit volume creating the extreme speed bursts dragsters are known for.

While not the most exciting part of racing, fuel and design work together to create an exciting event for many to enjoy.

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