U.S. Army NASCAR technicians.
A U.S. Army NASCAR team. Image obtained with thanks from the U.S. Army via Flickr.

The stock car racing company NASCAR intends to start implementing hybrid technology to enhance performance. If they used these systems differently, they could also provide longer range, which can reduce the number of required refueling pit stops. Under some circumstances, the stored kinetic energy from the regenerative braking system will be utilized to provide an additional performance boost for acceleration. This could help drivers corner faster without burning additional gasoline.

NASCAR has been organizing races for over 70 years, and has been most popular among older generations. They’re also known for being very traditional in the way they operate. They aren’t as quick to try out new technologies as other races. There is also little to distinguish NASCAR cars from each other. NASCAR is more about driving than the cars or technology. That’s fine, although I would have loved to see more diverse car designs in those races.

I don’t see NASCAR races getting more or less interesting after this policy change. I do, however, see a need for them to reduce fossil fuel usage. This is a very tiny step in that direction since it isn’t really about saving fuel and is just to increase power during acceleraiton. The introduction of new technologies does make other races like Le Mans and Formula One more interesting, as they have a diverse array of cars on track. The new hybrid KERS cars are likely to debut between 2021 and 2023.

KERS = Kinetic Energy Recovery System. 

A kinetic energy recovery system operates by using the kinetic energy of a coasting or decelerating car to recharge an energy storage medium (for example: a battery), and then that energy source can be tapped to power acceleration.