DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - If you've ever had somebody jack some wedge into your rear end and not punch them in the nose, then you know how to talk NASCAR.
You know that bite doesn't have anything to do with a dog, a deck lid doesn't have anything to do with a lawn chair and drag doesn't have anything to do with cross-dressing.
Even as college graduates and engineers become more common in the garage, stock-car racing has its own language. Some of it is primitive; much of it slang.
When you learn to speak stock-car racing, you'll know that, "We adjusted the wedge with one bite of the track bar to take out the push. We traded paint on the final lap and it bent the sway bar, but we had a good stagger on our stickers, so we were able to slingshot our way to the front" actually means a team made adjustments to the chassis, survived a last-lap bump that caused damage to the suspension and good tires allowed for a pass.
So here, suitable for clipping and saving, is some NASCAR talk. After this, you can appreciate having six donuts and not gaining a pound.
Aero-push: That's when the front tires won't turn, like a car trying to steer on ice, when it's in traffic. The turbulence that trails the lead car reduces the amount of downforce on the front tires.
A-post: The post extending from the door to the roof at the windshield.
Bite: Adjustment to the jacking screws at each wheel that distributes the weight at each wheel. Also means traction.
Blister: Bubbles on tires created by overheating or bad front-end alignment.
B-post: The post extending from the door to the roof behind the driver's head.
Chassis: Steel structure of the car.
Compound: The formula of rubber components that make up different tires. Left-side tires are softer than right-side tires.
C-post: The post extending to the roof line at the rear window.
Deck lid: Truck lid.
Dirty air: Turbulence created by big packs of traffic.
Donuts: Tire marks created by tires rubbing against another car.
Downforce: Aerodynamic and centrifugal forces that push the car to the track and create traction.
Draft: The aerodynamic tunnel of calm air directly behind a lead car. Two or more cars running nose-to-tail in a draft are faster than single cars because they can divide the amount of wind resistance.
Front clip: The first section of the car, from the front bumper to the windshield.
Greenhouse: Driver's compartment.
Groove: Best and fastest route around the track.
Happy Hour: The final practice session.
Handling: The way the car drives based on tires, suspension and aerodynamics.
Intermediate: A track measuring from one mile to two miles in length.
Loose: It's when the rear tires lose traction in the turns.
Marbles: Rubber buildup along the outside groove.
Push: It's when the front tires lose traction in the turns.
Quarter-panel: Sheet metal from the right-front, left-front, right-rear or left-rear.
Rear clip: The back section of the car, from the rear window to the back bumper.
Restrictor plate: A device added to the engine that reduces the flow of air and gas into the engine to reduce speeds.
Roll cage: The metal tubing framework inside the car that protects a driver during a crash.
Round: Slang word for making a chassis adjustment on the rear springs. One turn will either loosen or tighten a car.
Scuffs: Used tires.
Slingshot: A pass where a second-place car gets a running start at the leader in the calmer tunnel of air.
Spoiler: A metal blade across the rear deck that helps create downforce.
Stickers: New tires.
Toe: The amount tires are turned in and out. If the tires are pointed in, it's known as toe-in. If they're aimed out, it's toe-out. A toe-in or toe-out can cause a blister.
Trading paint: Bumping into another car.
Valance: Air dam, or bumper, at the front of the car.
Wedge: Adjusting the car's handling by compressing or raising pressure on the rear springs. One round of adjustment will loosen or tighten a car's handing.