A Girl’s Guide to Auto Racing, Part 1

So. IndyCar, NASCAR, Drag–what’s the difference? With so many types of cars, courses and events, the big bad-ass world of auto racing can be totally overwhelming. But just like every well-rounded girl should know a bit about football, baseball and soccer, the same is true for auto racing. (Believe it or not, it’s one of the most popular sports in the world.) And it doesn’t hurt that hotties like Danica Patrick and Dario Franchitti are killing it in the sport.

So here’s a quick primer on the three types of car racing to get us going:

First, weve got stock car racing, which is probably what you think of when you think race cars. Stock cars just regular cars that have been souped up a bit–sometimes the whole guts of the car are ripped out and replaced with bigger, better and faster parts. People race these modified cars on oval tracks with steeply banked turns (think Herbie, Fully Loaded).  NASCAR (The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is the biggest stock car racing organization, but there are tons of smaller stock car associations that organize races on the local front.

With open-wheel racing, drivers race custom-built cars with –you guessed it–exposed wheels and an open cockpit. Some races are held on blocked-off public streets, some are held on oval race tracks. For more info on open-wheeled racing, check out the Indy Racing League.

You know the scene in Grease where Danny and Leo street race each other in the concrete LA River bottom? Well, that’s drag racing–two cars, two drivers, one quarter-mile long strip of pavement. People race their own cars–either tricked out versions of everyday rides, or cars the driver custom built themselves. And they drive fast–their cars with 7,000-horsepower engines reach can speeds of 330 miles per hour. The National Hot Rod Association and the International Hot Rod Association are the two major drag racing groups.

There are about 1,800 racing venues throughout the US. Check out your local track, get to know the hot shot drivers and be sure to pay attention to the amazingly fast pit crews when you’re there-they often change tires in 6 seconds or less.

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Louisiana Highway Traffic Fatalities Down; Female Drivers Rock It!

According to a report released this week by the Louisiana State University Highway Safety Research Group, highway car-related fatalities in the state are at its lowest since 1996. Even Better, female driver fatalities are down a massive 20 percent!  Nice work La. lady drivers!!