Aerodynamically Speaking

Hi Patrick,

Well the title of this post is a big joke, because I don’t know much about aerodynamics. At all! I do know this, though. In the Aarons 499 this weekend, the spectacular flip of Carl Edwards’ I nonchalantly mentioned? Wow. What a dramatic illustration of the forces at play on the oval track of Talladega. I only caught the last half-hour or so, but I was amazed by some of what I saw. The whole thing about cars teaming up one behind another nose to tail and literally pushing each other around the top of the track, then slingshotting out of the corners ahead of the entire field. Again and again. It was really something to see. The slightest twitch of the wheel anywhere in the field, as close as they were running, and havoc ensued. 

I’ve found that many road racing fans look down their noses at NASCAR, but boy did I get a whiff of the skill and talent it takes to make the best of that setting. I’d love to go for a ride on an oval and feel some of that in action! I’ve read some of what you’ve said about the fine aerodynamic line at work in the prototype cars, the downforce at work that keeps the car on rails through the turns at incredible speeds. Science and math are not my fortes, not by a longshot, but I think I’d have a good chance of getting my head around it all by feeling it at work. Perhaps one day I’ll find out!

So I’m very behind with my reading, and only just opened up my April 2009 Porsche Panorama. And there is a nice blurb about the visit you made to the Metro NY Region Executive Committee Election meeting – I guess when you were there for the car show? Looking spiffy in your jacket and crisp white shirt! Here’s how they recall your visit:

Long spoke to the crowd of attentive members about the psychology involved in the sport of auto racing and the importance of preparing and training the mind to deal with the numerous split second transitions which occur on the track. He said that an auto racer has no time to dwell on missing an apex of a turn because if you lose concentration from the previous mishap, you may go on to create a chain reaction of one mishap after another. Therefore in a matter of seconds one must regain control of the mind for the next turn, pass or straight. The mind must know how to re-focus almost immediately.

Now there’s a conversation I’d love to have with you. There is a whole discipline devoted to sports psychology, hell you may be the beneficiary of some of that kind of training. I do believe that’s where it’s at. We can have a well prepped car, great weather, perfect circumstances all around, but the mind has to be on track to make the best of all that.

Alas, no more time to write tonight. My life is pretty chaotic right now and I’m trying to do better not cheating myself of rest, nutrition, and healthy activity. Off I go to do good things. You’ve been quiet in your various online arenas lately – I’ll be looking out for your next blog or article. In the meantime, be happy and well wherever you are!



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