Woody: Today Ethanol, Tomorrow Hamsters?
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
While stranded in Upstate New York recently, watching the snow pile up six feet outside my motel window as the temperature hovered at zero, I had time to ponder the consequences of Global Warming.
I’m glad NASCAR is doing its part to save the polar bears and shaft the oil sheiks by adding ethanol to its racing fuel, but there’s no reason why its going-green movement should stop there.
Here’s some suggestions for additional environmental enhancements:
Solar power: Each car is equipped with rows of solar panels mounted on the top, with cables carrying the energy to the engine. Pit strategy revolves around making adjustments to the angles of the sun-absorbing panels to take advantage of the shifting rays as the race progresses. Record speeds can be expected on bright, sunny afternoons, while lap times will dip on overcast days or through shadowy turns.
Drawback: Night racing and solar eclipses could be a problem.
Wind power: A Dutch-style windmill is welded to the car’s rear deck, harnessing the energy and, like the solar panels, transferring it to the motor. Aerodynamics will continue to be a key factor, especially on the superspeedways of Talladega and Daytona where cars reach gale-force speeds on the backstretch, pushing their twirling windmills to the breaking point. Teams will, naturally, use wind tunnels to test their windmills.
Drawback: The towering windlasses could be vulnerable to flocks of low-fling birds.
Electric power: It’s only a matter of time until passenger models of electric/hybrids make their
way into NASCAR. The biggest adjustment will involve the pit crews, who will trade their gas cans for a set of jumper cables. Innovative teams will find ways to extend the life of a charge, and instead of plotting “fuel strategy” they will try late-race “juice gambles.” Instead of gas-and-go, teams will spark-and-scat. In Victory Circle the winner will be sure to thank his electrician.
Drawback: Since it takes an hour to re-charge the battery, a late pit stop could prove costly for the leader.
Hamster power: Little metal wheels are mounted under the hood on which hamsters run, powering the engine. On pit stops the crew will check on its hamsters to make sure they are fresh and lively and have plenty of water and sunflower seeds. The boys back at the shop will work tirelessly to grow bigger, stronger hamsters in quest of more HP (Hamster Power). NASCAR will limit how many hamsters can be used in a race, and any team caught with an illegal rodent will be penalized.
Drawback: If a hamster gets loose during a pit stop and hides under the sofa, it could cost the team valuable track position.
But anything for the polar bears.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments