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Sun Mar 4, 2012, 05:31 PM

Why do they still only have 4 speed transmissions in NASCAR?

5 speeds have been common in street cars for decades now, and in modern cars 6 speeds isn't uncommon, while some have as many as 8 forward gears.

Anyone know why NASCAR is limited to 4?

24 replies, 13237 views

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Reply Why do they still only have 4 speed transmissions in NASCAR? (Original post)
Electric Monk Mar 2012 OP
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #1
Mopar151 Mar 2012 #2
Mopar151 Mar 2012 #3
Electric Monk Mar 2012 #4
Mopar151 Mar 2012 #5
Electric Monk Mar 2012 #6
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #7
PavePusher Apr 2012 #8
Mopar151 Apr 2012 #10
PavePusher Apr 2012 #13
Mopar151 Apr 2012 #16
crazyrayray Jan 2013 #21
Mopar151 Jan 2013 #24
truebrit71 Apr 2012 #9
Mopar151 Apr 2012 #11
truebrit71 Apr 2012 #12
Mopar151 Apr 2012 #15
PavePusher Apr 2012 #14
A HERETIC I AM May 2012 #19
HooptieWagon Apr 2012 #18
HooptieWagon Apr 2012 #17
One_Life_To_Give Jun 2012 #20
crazyrayray Jan 2013 #22
Mopar151 Jan 2013 #23

Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 06:27 PM

1. They don't need overdrive.

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 12:28 AM

2. Don't need no more...... - and a cost issue

The 4-speeds in current use are evolutinary copies of the Ford "top loader" (Jerico) and the Borg-Warner T-10 (Tex "T-101") One of the major differences is that these transmissions are available in a wide variety of ratio combinations - low gears range from ~3.5/1 to ~1.8/1.
Rear gear ratios are easily changeable as well - when DW mentions a "gear", he is talking about a removable carrier assembly, which holds the ring & pinion and the differential - 2 guys can change one in about 20 min. Available gears range from ~2.6/1 to ~7/1.
with these options available, it's pretty easy to get a gear combination that works for the particular track.

Cost is not a small issue - Quaife just introduced a new hi-torque racing transmission, to compete in the same market as the Jerico.
Jerico =$3500, Quaife = $14K Jerico has a 5 spd sequential for Grand Am & SCCA, goes for ~$7500.
How many transmissions does a Cup team have in stock, per car/driver? I'd bet a dozen...

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 10:24 AM

3. They don't need a "cruise" gear

Which is what most 5th and 6th gears are. Most cars with an overdrive high gear will go faster in their direct drive (1/1) gear than in overdrive. How is this possible? There is not enough power available in o/d!

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 04:23 PM

4. F1 cars don't need a "cruise" gear either, but they have 7 speed transmissions

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:56 PM

5. True - but!

Nascar Cup, and their other divisions are a production based racing series. -The transmissions currently used are updated versions of production transmissions.
F1 engines turn 15000 rpm plus, and do not have a particularly wide powerband - thus the need for more speeds, with closer ratios, and the paddle shifters, cuz' ya gotta shift so much to kep the little missle up in it's powerband. The big beast of a sedan has similar horsepower, but turns 1/2 the RPM, with a broader powerband.
The other thing is - 7 speed, paddle shifters would increase costs considerably (especially with the necessary sophisticated engine control software), and would not improve the show.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:53 PM

6. Back to my original point. The street versions sell with 5 or 6 speed trannies, not 4.

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 07:01 PM

7. Your point was addressed in response #2.

If NASCAR needed 7 speeds to win, they would have 7 speeds. For the ovals, the get out of the pits and get into top gear and stay there. The road courses don't need 7 gears to negotiate with the wide powerband and prodigious amounts of torque available from the pushrod V8s.

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 02:18 PM

8. When all your racing is done in circles, at comparatively steady speeds....

 

you don't need the extra gears.

And the only relationship NASCAR cars have to their street brethren, is name and approximate sheetmetal profile.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 03:59 PM

10. Nascar has road races at most of it's professional levels

And none of it's venues is a circle. I know of a couple that are close - do you know which ones they are?

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 07:38 PM

13. Sorry, I forgot to make the tone more clear that I was indulging in mild ribbing.

 

The road races are the best part of NASCAR, I wish they had a lot more of them.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 08:50 AM

16. There is a big secondary market for stock cars in road racing.

Several series for tubeframe, composite body cars (aka pro stocks, super late models) like GT America, also often appear in SCCA GT1 and Super Production.
There are a couple series, allied with vintage clubs, that run older Cup cars - some in original livery. And there are enough cars to often make them a standalone race.
And quite a few time trial, "track day", "open road", hillclimb, etc cars based on stock car stuff, like the Troyer modified in the "I built the engine" post here.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:07 PM

21. No

 

Nascar transmission bare to resemblance to any current transmission. They have a striking resemblance to cars of the 60's trannies though.

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Response to crazyrayray (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:54 PM

24. They are as "stock" as any part of the rest of the car, other than the hood and roof skin.

With rare exception, any current production transmission would fail spectacularly the instant the clutch was dropped at full power in a NASCAR Cup car.

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 02:34 PM

9. Come on now, they only just this year admitted that fuel injection exists...

...it's not the lowest common denominator of motorsport without reason you know....

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Response to truebrit71 (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 04:08 PM

11. Fuel injection is not unknown to NASCAR

Witness this picture of NASCAR Hall of Fame Richie Evans'



Lowest common denominator? Can't be the lowest, without Lucas electrics and SU carbs........

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 05:19 PM

12. Aah yes...Lucas Electronics....

...bringing a new meaning to the phrase 'completely f*cking useless'....

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Response to truebrit71 (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 07:44 PM

15. Dude, I feel your pain.

My buddy's Shitfire runs pretty good with a couple Italian carburetors and a spark box made in Texas. The Japanese ND alternator works nice, too.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 9, 2012, 07:41 PM

14. Lucas electrics....

 

Frequently re-labeled "Lucas, Prince of Darkness"....

Introduced to them on old Land Rovers while stationed in Britian. Good times....

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #14)

Sun May 27, 2012, 12:06 PM

19. The 3 position Lucas Switch;

Dim
Flicker
Off.


Why do the British drink warm beer?

Because the refrigerators are made by Lucas.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 11:28 PM

18. Sprint cars and some modifieds have run mechanical FI for years.

Just this year, NASCAR Sprint cup made the change from carbs to EFI.

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 11:23 PM

17. Nascar V8s have a fairly broad torque range

so they work fine with 4 speeds. Formula1, Indy cars, and Sports prototypes make all their power in the upper RPMs, with a narrow torque band... they need the extra gears to keep RPMs up in the slow corners.

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Response to Electric Monk (Original post)

Fri Jun 15, 2012, 02:44 PM

20. $$'s spent wouldn't improve the product

Of which there is less dollars available to NASCAR. A teams funding from a major sponsor being more on par with a F1 co-sponsor.

The Nascar driver is also manually throwing the gear shift while in F1 the mechanism is powered. Making the shift take slightly longer and as drag racers discovered. There is a point of diminishing returns when each shift is a few hundred milliseconds of no power.

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Response to One_Life_To_Give (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:11 PM

22. NO

 

If money wouldn't improve the market explain how the companies continually upgrade their products almost annually.

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Response to crazyrayray (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 07:36 PM

23. What are you trying to say?

How will adding more gears to the transmission improve the competion in NASCAR racing? please be specific......

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