So does NASCAR driver physical conditioning matter? Some would debate that NASCAR drivers are not athletes but one must consider the conditions inside of a NASCAR stock car race vehicle. The interiors of these cars are not designed for driver comfort with air conditioning and surround sound. Everything about a NASCAR stock car is focused on speedâ€”not on comfort. So NASCAR driver physical conditioning must be such that it builds a driverâ€™s endurance to withstand some harsh conditions and G-forces. And, the NASCAR driver physical conditioning is very similar to athletes in other sports except different areas are built up.
The temperatures in the driverâ€™s cockpit of a NASCAR race car can reach around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine this temperature with a 500-lap race at 200 mph along with lack of air flow and you will see that NASCAR driver physical conditioning to build in endurance is critical. Plus, a NASCAR driver will need to steer and maneuver a 3,400 pound vehicle around curves, other cars, and over bumps. This can cause a lot of impacting against the driver plus just the strain of controlling the steering wheel. Then there are the G-forces that will result from banking turns at speeds close to 200 mph causing pressure on the driverâ€™s torso as it presses against the side of the vehicle.
Oxygen is a problem too. Since the cars are very aerodynamic so as to increase speed, the air is guided around the car but does not reach the inside. The driverâ€™s cockpit is not pressurized like an aircraft. So, the driver has to be able to process what oxygen he gets very efficiently. Therefore, NASCAR driver physical conditioning will include aerobic exercises so as to optimize the processing of oxygen by the body.
Part of any good physical athletic training is the proper amount of nutrition and rest and NASCAR driver physical conditioning is no exception to this. By including the proper amount of nutrition and rest in NASCAR driver physical conditioning, the driver can maintaining alertness and quick reflexes which are crucial to a safe drive. Not getting the proper amount of rest can cause a driver to make mistakes which at 200 mph could be dangerous and even fatal.
Without the proper nutrition and rest in NASCAR driver physical conditioning, a driver can become confused and disoriented during the race. This is especially true when combining the lack of air in the cockpit mixed with carbon monoxide fumes and tremendous G-forces (which cause disorientation as well). G-forces can also affect vision but proper nutrition and vitamins combat against their effects.
NASCAR driver physical conditioning also includes weight training but not in order to build mass. The weight training performed by a NASCAR driver is to build up strength for steering and breaking. It is also so that the driverâ€™s body can withstand the abuse from bouncing around and getting slammed from excessive G-forces.
NASCAR driver physical conditioning separates those who can make it for an entire racing event and those who would wear out during the qualification races. It is very important and the sport should be taken just as serious as any other professional sport.
Chris DiCicco is owner, senior editor and website developer for NASCARsupershop.com, a NASCAR Apparel and Memorabilia Store for every NASCAR Fan.