The recent Daytona 500 NASCAR race outcome was influenced by five drivers who ran out of gas during the race. What I know about NASCAR could fit in a fortune cookie, but it seemed like gas was a pretty basic function that should be attended to in such a major event. How could five drivers be oblivious to their fuel capacity?
I had to ask a blogger’s best friend: Google.
It turns out that while they may cost over $100,000, NASCAR vehicles do not come with a gas gauge. In fact, they are not allowed to have one — or any on-board computer or information-gathering devices. So one of the many responsibilities of the crew chief is to calculate how much gas the driver has consumed, and to hope the combination of factors allows enough fuel to remain until the end of the race.
The use of gas is determined by the speed, track conditions, temperature, intensity of driving/shifting, position and the number of cars remaining. Decisions are made in the early laps that will determine whether the driver is able to extend the gas through the entire race. If a driver is too aggressive in his/her driving in the beginning, they may not have enough fuel to cross the finish line.
Such was the case in Daytona…
…and in most of life’s situations. Our variable is energy, and if we expend too much of it in the process, we may run out of gas before we complete the project. Just like with NASCAR, we need to attend to our capacity and make adjustments to extend our energy through to the checkered flag.