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Race Car Driving Terms

Race Car Driving Terms

Below you will find user submited Terms and How-to information for Race Car Driving. Tips are displayed based on reader popularity, so make sure to vote for your favorite Terms!

"X"
The work/repair area for cars that were damaged during a race.

"BACKING IT IN"
Term used to describe a non-wing sprint car's entry into a corner. The car enters the turn in a slide with the rear of the car leading the front of the car. Back Marker -

"BIG GEORGE"
SCRA Sprint Car driver George Gervais.

"BULLET"
ASCA / SCRA Driver Bob Ream Jr.

"CHARGIN' CHARLIE"
ASCA / SCRA Driver Charles Davis Jr.

"COWBOY"
SCRA driver Tony Jones.

"CZ"
SCRA / CRA Sprint Car Driver Charlie Zabinski.

"DEANO"
CRA Sprint Car Driver Dean Thompson.

"DEMON"
SCRA driver Damion Gardner.

"FIDGETS"
Slang for the Ford Focus Midgets.

"FLYIN' BRIAN"
SCRA Sprint Car driver Brian Venard. Second generation driver, son of Sprint Car legend Buster and brother to Steve.

"FLYING CANUCK"
Sprint Car driver J. Hicks.

"FLYING GREEK"
SCRA Sprint Car driver Alex Grigoreas.

"GASMAN"
SCRA Sprint Car driver Richard Griffin.

"HAULIN' HOLLYWOOD"
SCRA / USAC driver John Scott.

"HOLLYWOOD"
Central California Driver Danny Faria Jr., VRA Driver Luis Espinoza.

"HOTFOOT"
SCRA / NASCAR Winston West / USAC Western States Sprint Car driver Troy Cline.

"JIMMY NEUTRON"
VRA Driver Jimmy Crawford.

"JOHNNY 3-WHEEL"
A nickname used by Manzanita Speedway Announcer Windy McDonald for driver JJ Yeley. Yeley is known to pitch a Sprint Car through the corners on 3 wheels- with the left front wheel high in the air.

"KING OF TRONA"
Sprint Car driver Michael Smith.

"KRUSER"
SCRA / USAC / IRL / NASCAR Truck driver Cory Kruseman.

"LEADFOOT"
A driver that is very fast and rough on equipment.

"LITTLE RED SUCKER"
Term used to describe the Red Bruce Bromme Sprinter. Now the term goes for the Chaffin #50 Sprinter.

"MAVERICK"
SCRA Driver Adam Mitchell.

"MEXICAN NATIONAL CHAMPION"
SCRA Sprint Car driver Steve Ostling.

"MIGHTY CASEY"
SCRA / VRA Driver Casey Shuman.

"ONE MAN BAND"
SCRA driver Dan Tedrick, who drives, wrenches, and tows the car by himself.

"READY TO RUN"
VRA / SCRA Driver Chris Tramel.

"RIM RIDER"
Driver Chuck Gurney.

"RIPPER"
SCRA Sprint Car driver Rip Williams.

"ROARIN' OREN"
VRA Seniors and Southern California Stock Car Legend Oren Prosser Sr.

"ROCKET"
VRA Driver Ronnie Case, SCRA Driver Lance Gremett

"SHERIFF"
VRA Sprint Car Driver John Wright.

"SHERMANATOR"
SCRA / ASCA / Midget driver Jeremy Sherman.

"SHOWTIME"
SCRA driver Danny Sheridan.

"SILVERADO BULLET"
SCRA driver Steve Venard.

"SUPER" RICKIE
SCRA Sprint Car Driver Rickie Gaunt.

"T-BALL"
NMMRA driver Tom Ball.

"TAMALE WAGON"
Famous West Coast Sprint Car owned by Alex Morales.

"TEMPE TORNADO"
Sprint Car Legend Lealand McSpadden.

"TIGER"
CRA Sprint Car Driver Tony Simon.

"WAGS"
Sprint Car fan Ken Wagner. Leader of the Wagtimers.

"WHIZKID"
ASCA / SCRA driver Eric Wilkins.

"WILD CHILD"
Sprint Car Driver Jac Haudenschild.

"WILDMAN"
SCRA Sprint Car driver Rodney Argo

"WORLD FAMOUS"
SCRA / VRA / CRA Driver Tom Downing.

A-MAIN EVENT
Also called the "A-Feature." The feature event and biggest race of the program. This is the race that has the most cars, points, prize money, and is generally from 30 to 50 laps.

ALTERNATE
Also called "Alternate Starter." The car that just missed a transfer spot to the main event. In case a car that already qualified for the main event fails to start, the alternate can join the field and start the race.

APEX
the point in a corner where a car is closest to the inside edge of the track. Drivers try to "hit" the apex to take the straightest line and maintain maximum speed.

ARM RESTRAINTS
Straps attached to a driver's arms to limit range of motion and keep the arms and hands inside the car in case of a flip.

ASCA
Arizona Sprint Car Association.

ASCOT PARK
Legendary race track, located in Gardena, CA. Closed in 1990.

ATTRITION
The rate at which cars drop out of a race. This is due to mechanical failures or crashes.

B-MAIN EVENT
The "last chance race" to get into the main event. Bobble - A miscue by a driver.

BACK OUT
When a driver takes his foot off the gas pedal (all the way or part way), he "backs out" or "lifts."

BANDITS
Non-Wing 360 Sprint Car Group, based in Central California.

BANKING
The slope of the turns, which can help cars enter and exit the corners. A flat track would have 0 degrees of banking. A track with 15 degrees would have significant banking. The higher the degree of banking, the faster the cars will be able to travel.

BCRA
Bay Cities Racing Association.

BEAD LOCK
A device used to fasten the tire bead to the wheel rim. This helps to keep the tire on the wheel and prevents the tire from slipping. Bench Racing - Talking about racing.

BINDERS
Brakes. Used in the expression "jumped on the binders."

BITE
The amount of traction that a race car has at the rear wheels.

BK
Northern California driver Brent Kaeding.

BLACK FLAG
Signals a driver to pull immediately into the pits for safety reasons. Failure to enter pits after receiving the black flag can result in disqualification.

BLADDER
The bladder keeps the fuel from spilling and catching fire in the case of a rear impact.

BLISTERING
Racing tires when they overheat. The top layer of rubber comes off in small chunks.

BLOWN ENGINE
An engine that has failed completely. Most often it will "go up in flames."

BLUE FLAG W/ YELLOW STRIPE
This flag is displayed to direct the cars to allow the traffic lapping them to pass without delay.

BOLT-ON PARTS
Term used to describe the parts that attach to the car's chassis. Ex. radius rods, arms, and axles.

BRAIN FADE
A lack of focus that can lead to making a mistake during a race.

BUBBLE
The last position available to qualify for the heat races. Slower qualification times will result in starting the consolation races.

BULL RING
An oval track of a half-mile or less.

C-MAIN EVENT
A race that is sometimes referred to as a 'consolation race'. The participants did not qualify fast enough to earn a spot in the heat races. Usually filled with rookies or cars that had problems.

CALIFORNIA MODIFIEDS
A Wingless Spec Sprint Division that competes at Orland Raceway in Northern California.

CATCH FENCE
The fence along the wall that protects spectators from errant cars, parts, etc.

CAUTION
A yellow flag condition, where no passing is allowed (unless ordered by officials for racing order) and cars must slow down.

CC
Cubic Centimeters. The standard measure of displacement in Europe. A liter, 1000 cubic centimeters, is approximately 61 cubic inches.

CHASSIS
The basic frame/structure of a race car to which all other components are attached.

CHECKED OUT
Expression when the leader drives away from the rest of the field and will seem impossible to catch.

CHILI BOWL
A nationally recognized indoor Midgets race in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This event draws over 100 cars.

CHUTE
A race track straightaway.

CLS
California Lightning Sprints.

COLLECTED
When a car is caught in an incident that they did not cause. If a car spins and is struck by a second car to a stop, the second car is said to be collected.

COMPOUND
The rubber mixture for tires. A softer compound tire provides better traction but wears out much faster than a harder compound tire which doesn't provide as much grip.

CONE
Marker to indicate the starting spot for the race.

CONTINGENCY AWARD
Money or prizes that are awarded to racers by parties other than the race promoter. Typically based on the use of a sponsor's product.

CRA
California Racing Association.

CREW CHIEF
Lead mechanic that makes decisions or implements changes to the car for racing conditions.

CROSSED FLAGS
The race has reached the half-way point.

CUSHION
A dirt curb or edge formed by cars running the same line in a corner.

CYLINDER
A hollow tubular area in the cylinder block where the piston travels and combustion takes place.

CYLINDER HEAD
The top of the cylinder block that contains the spark plugs and valves. It seals the cylinder and forms the top of the combustion chamber.

DIALING IN
The driver and crew making setup adjustments to for better handling.

DIAMOND
Taking corners by driving into them fairly straight and then making a sharp turn in the middle of the corner. The car will then drive out of the corner fairly straight. This will give a diamond-shaped trajectory around the track.

DICING
Close, exciting driving between 2 or more racers. Positions are exchanged frequently.

DIRT TRACK
A track that is not paved, with dirt, clay, or a mixture of the two.

DISPLACEMENT
A measure of an engine's size. It's the difference between the volume contained in the cylinders when the pistons are at the bottom of the stroke and the volume that remains when the pistons are at the top of the stroke. It can be calculated by multiplying bore times stroke times 0.785 times the number of cylinders.

DNF
Did not finish.

DNQ
Did not qualify.

DNS
Did not start.

DON PEABODY CLASSIC
Sprint Car Race that was held at Ascot Park to honor the late CRA President.

DQ
Disqualifed from the event. Usually for safety reasons, the car not meeting certain standards, or for negative behavior.

DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
The driver earning the most points by the end of the season wins the drivers' championship.

DRIVER'S MEETING
A meeting prior to a major race that is conducted by race officials. All drivers in the race are required to attend. Used to discuss rule changes, unusual conditions, and race format.

DROPPED CYLINDER
A cylinder becomes too rich (too much fuel in the air/fuel mixture), which prevents the spark plug (s) from firing.

DRY-SLICK
A dry dirt track with little or no moisture. Often associated with a dusty track.

FAST QUALIFIER
The driver that had the fastest lap during qualifying.

FAST TIME
The time for the driver who had the fastest lap during qualifying. Also called quick time.

FEATURE
Main Event.

FIELD
The group of cars that starts a race or the total number of cars in attendance.

FIRE SUIT
Fire-resistant clothing which is required clothing for drivers.

FIVE
The starter will show the field their hand or "five fingers" to indicate 5 Laps remaining.

FLAGMAN
The person standing in the tower above the Start/Finish Line who controls the race with a selection of flags.

FOURS
Four car wide salute to the fans from the racers. Normally at the start of the nights main event.

FRESH RUBBER
Adding new tire(s).

GARY SOKOLA CLASSIC
Sprint Car Race held at Manzanita Speedway to honor the late CRA President.

GRAND MARSHALL
An honor awarded for a special race. Ventura promoter Jim Naylor served as Grand Marshall for the 2002 Oval Nationals.

GREEN FLAG
Displayed to signify the start of the race.

GRID
Lineup of cars before the start of the race.

GROOVE
The line through a corner which drivers have found to be the fastest.

GSC
Golden State Challenge.

HAMMER DOWN
The driver has the gas pedal "to the metal"- full throttle.

HARD CHARGER
The driver that has passed the most cars in the main event.

HARNESS
The safety belt system worn by a race driver.

HAULER
A tractor trailer that carries the crew, car, equipment, and tools needed.

HEAD SOCK
A fire resistant head mask.

HEADERS
System that routes exhaust from the engine.

HEAT RACE
Race where typically the top 4 finishers will transfer to the main event. The rest of the field will go to the Semi-Main or B-Main.

HOOKED UP
A car that is performing great because all parts are working well together.

HORSEPOWER
The unit for measuring the power output of an engine. One horsepower is defined as lifting 33,000 pounds one foot per minute.

HOSERVILLE CA
Northern California Sprint Car Fan Group.

IMCA
International Motor Contest Association.

IN/OUT BOX
Contains direct drive slider gears on a Sprint Car. Since Sprint Cars do not have a clutch, the car has to be put in gear to be ready to race. The slider gear has to be engaged before the sprinter is pushed off and the engine will start by compression, like a running start on manual-shift automobile.

INDEPENDENT
A driver that owns the own racing team. Typically referred as "low buck" and relies on race winnings as much or more than sponsorship money.

INFIELD
The inside of the race track.

INSIDE LINE
The shortest line around the track. Also, the part of the track that is closest to the infield.

IRL
Indy Racing League.

JACK KINDOLL CLASSIC
Sprint Car Race held at Perris Auto Speedway to honor the late CRA Car Owner.

JEFF BAGLEY CLASSIC
Sprint Car Race held at Ventura Raceway to honor the late 1988 CRA Rookie of the Year.

JUMPING THE START
When a driver anticipates the start (green flag) too early. This will cause a complete restart. Continued violations will result in a penalty.

LAP
One complete circuit around the track. As a verb, when the leaders pass the cars at the back of the field, thus putting the second driver more than a lap behind, he is said to have lapped him.

LAPPED CAR
A car that is running slow enough such that the race leader has come all the way around the track and passed it. It is said to be "lapped."

LEAD LAP
The race leader's lap. If the leader laps you for the first time, you are no longer on the lead lap.

LET GO
Term to describe when an engine fails or "blows up." Also when other parts of a car fail.

LIFT
To raise or lift your foot of the gas pedal.

LIGHTS OUT
The lights go out when the starter is ready to display a green flag.

LINE
The route taken by a driver, especially through a turn. The high line is a route close to the wall or "on the cushion", a low line is closer to the track's infield and shortest distance around the track.

LOOSE
Term to describe a condition in which the car's front tires have more traction than the rear, causing the rear of the car to point toward the outside and the front to point to the inside. Also called "oversteer."

LOOSE STUFF
Loose dirt on the edge of the track. Contains little or no traction and can result into hitting the track's wall. Same as marbles.

LOUD PEDAL
The accelerator, gas pedal, or throttle.

LVMS
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

MAIN EVENT
The A-Main is "The Show." It is the race that pays the racers.

MANZY
Manzanita Speedway, located in Phoenix, AZ.

MARBLES
Loose dirt on the edge of the track. Contains little or no traction and can result into hitting the track's wall.

METHANOL
Sprint Car Fuel - technically pure methyl alcohol.

MIDGET
An open wheel car with the engine in front of the driver and the driver is enclosed in a tall roll cage.

MODIFIEDS
An open-wheeled car with the engine in front of the driver with an enclosed cockpit.

NARC
Northern Auto Racing Club.

NASCAR
National Association for Stock car Auto Racing.

NCMA
Northern California Modified Association.

NEUTRAL
Condition of a race car that is not loose or tight. It is setup to go where it is pointed.

NMMRA
New Mexico Motor Racing Association.

NMRA
National 3/4 Midget Racing Association.

NOMEX
A trademark for a fire-resistant fiber often used in fire suits.

NON-WING SPRINT CAR
A traditional sprint car without a wing.

NWWC
Non-Wing World Championship.

OPEN WHEEL
Cars that have their wheels exposed- no fenders. Examples are Sprint Cars and Midgets.

OVAL NATIONALS
A prestigious national event held at Perris Auto Speedway. Bud Kaeding won in 2002 and the $30,000 prize money.

OVAL TRACK
An elliptical race track with 4 turns/corners. Left turn only.

OVERSTEER
The condition in which the car's front tires have more traction than the rear, causing the rear of the car to point toward the outside and the front to point to the inside. Also called "loose."

PACE CAR
The car that leads the field around the track, prior to the start of the race.

PACIFIC COAST NATIONALS
Sprint Car Race that was held at Ascot Park. Once a part of Sprint Car Racing's Triple Crown.

PARADE LAP
A lap taken by cars at slow speed, normally in 4-Wide formation.

PAS
Perris Auto Speedway, located in Perris, CA.

PASSING MASTERS DASH
In SCRA, the 6 lap race that will determine the starting 4 rows in the night's main event. This race features the fastest 8 qualifiers the transferred from their heat races.

PINCHED
When a race car on the inside squeezes an outside car by the outside wall, This will cause the outside car to slow down and follow.

PIT
An area beside the track (or in the infield, depending on venue) where cars get serviced.

PIT CREW
The members of the team that services and repairs a race car.

POLE
the inside, front row starting position. In SCRA, the winner of the Passing Masters Dash will start on the pole for the night's main event.

PROMOTER
Someone who organizes a race, puts up the purse, gets race sponsors, handles advertising and ticket sales, and assumes the financial risk of putting on the race. The promoter might be a track owner or the owner of a series' rights.

PROMOTER'S OPTION
A promoter can designate one or more cars to start a race even though they failed to qualify. Infrequently used.

PURSE
The total prize money to be awarded to the race participants by the promoter.

PUSH
A term to describe a car's tendency to head toward the outside wall on a turn. The car will not have the ability to turn sharply enough. The front tires have little or no traction. Also called understeer.

PVQMA
Pomona Valley Quarter Midget Association

QUALIFYING
The process of competing for starting positions of heat and consolation races. In SCRA, the racers get two timed laps. The best/fastest lap is used for the racer.

QUARTER MIDGET
A scaled down version of a full midget, with about an 80-inch wheelbase and the size of a go-kart. An introductory car for future racing stars, usually from 5 to 16 years old.. In Southern California, the PVQMA, is a club for kids to join and compete.

RACE DIRECTOR
The coordinator of the racing event. Racing procedures are among the directors responsibly.

RED FLAG
The flag used to stop the race. Normally due to a crash.

RED/YELLOW FLAG
Complete restart. Line up in original starting positions.

RESTART
The resumption of a race after a caution or red flag period.

ROLL CAGE
Welded frame that surrounds the driver for protection.

ROOKIE
A driver who is inexperienced in the type of cars that he/she is currently running.

ROOKIE FLAG
A small yellow flag waving from the back of a racecar. This indicates to the other drivers that the car is driven by a rookie driver.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The outstanding rookie of a series for a certain year.

RPM
Revolutions per minute.

RUB
Light contact between 2 or more cars.

SANCTIONING BODY
An organization that sets and enforces the rules for a race or series..

SANDBAG
To hold back on a car's performance, during qualifying, to mislead other drivers as to its potential.

SAWING ON THE WHEEL
Expression describing when a driver turns the steering wheel back and forth in a rapid manner.

SCOA
Sprint Car Owners of Arizona.

SCRA
Sprint Car Racing Association.

SCRAFAN.COM
The website that you are visiting right now.

SEASIDE PARK
Ventura County Fairgrounds where the Ventura Raceway is located.

SEAT TIME
Time sitting behind the wheel, competing in a race, qualifying, etc.

SEMI-MAIN
Referred to as the B-Main or last chance race. Transfers will go to the main event and the rest are done for the night.

SETUP
The combination of settings for a car's engine, tires, and chassis. Teams make constant adjustments to a car's setup based on driver input.

SHAKE DOWN
Testing a brand-new car or engine.

SHORT TRACK
A track that is less than a mile long in length.

SHUNT
A collision.

SILVER CROWN
Larger and heavier Sprint Cars, typically sanctioned by USAC, that are a successor to the roadster-style front engine cars that raced at Indy.

SLIDE JOB
A passing technique used in the corners to slide up in front of another car.

SMS
Santa Maria Speedway, located in Santa Maria, California.

SPEC SPRINTS
Carbureted non-wing sprint cars in Northern California.

SPRINT CAR
An open wheeled race car, typically around 1300 pounds. Composed of a frame (chassis), engine, seat, and a fuel tank. Traditional Sprint Cars are famous for "backing it in" the corners and turning right to turn left.

STAGGER
Different size tires are put on the car to lean the car to one side. This helps the car turn and improve cornering.

STRAIGHTAWAY
The long straight stretch of an oval track, where the car can reach its highest speed.

TACKY
A track condition where the racing surface is slightly wet and sticky.

TEAR OFFS
Clear plastic strips applied to helmet visors. As these strips accumulate debris, a driver will tear a dirty strip off for a clear view.

THROTTLE
The gas pedal

THUNDERBOWL
Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway, located in Tulare, CA.

TIGHT
A term to describe a car's tendency to head toward the wall on a turn. Also called pushing or understeering.

TORSION BAR
A rod in the suspension system that, when twisted from a grip at one end, functions like a spring.

TQ
A Three-Quarter scaled midget.

TRADITIONAL SPRINT CAR
Non-Wing Sprint Car.

TRANSPORTER
A large tractor-trailer used to transport race cars and parts to a race track.

TREAD
The surface pattern of a tire.

TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX
A large nationally known Midget race held on Thanksgiving with that has a rich history.

UNDERSTEER
A condition in which the rear tires have more traction than the front tires. The front tires will slide across the track toward the outside wall rather than turning into the corner. Also called push.

UNLAP
A driver down one lap passes the leader to regain their position on the lead lap.

USAC
United States Auto Club.

USAC NM/AZ
United States Auto Club's New Mexico & Arizona Regional Sprint Car Series.

VENTURA RACEWAY
1/5 Mile Dirt Track located in Ventura, California.

VICTORY CIRCLE
The desired destination of any race car driver. The location for the race victory ceremony- trophy presentation, interviews, and photos.

VRA
Ventura Racing Association.

VRA SENIOR DIVISION
A division for Sprint Car Drivers 45 years young and older.

WAGSBUCKS
Money collected by the Wagtimers from fellow race fans and is donated to the hard luck racer of the night.

WAGSDASH
A special race and event, organized by the Wagtimers. Participants in the race have received Wagsbucks earlier in the season. The purse is raised by fan donations.

WAGTIMERS
Sprint Car fans that support and raise money for the racers. Led by Ken and Terry Wagner.

WESTERN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sprint Car Race held at Manzanita Speedway. Once a part of Sprint Car Racing's Triple Crown.

WHEELBASE
The distance between a car's front and rear axles.

WHITE FLAG
Flag used to signify that there is one lap remaining in the race.

WINDY
Manzanita Announcer Windy McDonald.

WING
A device not found on a Traditional Sprint Car. Referred to as a "barn door" or billboard by fans.

WING SPRINT CAR
Sprint Cars that utilize wings.

WOO
World Of Outlaws.

WRA
Western Racing Association.

WSS
Wingless Spec Sprints, carbureted sprint cars in Northern California.

YELLOW FLAG
Flag that signifies caution during a race. Usually resulting from a crash, spin, or debris on the track. Cars are to slow down and not to pass while the hazard is cleared from the track.

YELLOW LIGHT
Caution on the track. Maintain position and do not pass.




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