The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rulebook is a small, pocket-size 166-page publication, which comprises 20 different sections. Most of them relate to the sporting regulations and only the last one enters the technical domain and is referred to as 'NASCAR Sprint Cup Series specifications'. However, it spreads through 117 pages, which equates to seventy per cent of the book.
Through hundreds of lines, the rules set dimensional limits for almost every component of the car. There's an index at the end of Section 20, where almost 200 items are listed, most of them specific parts that range from a ball-joint to an engine. Many have a specific part number from vendors who supply approved spoilers, carburettors, fuel cells, brake ducts or shock absorbers.
The wording of the rules goes as far as stating what the approved firing order for each engine must be, plus very precise numbers that set limits for the critical parts of the powertrain.
NASCAR's R&D centre
The NASCAR Research and Development group, which works out of a purpose-built facility in Concord, North Carolina, has a very tough job setting this tight set of rules that lay the foundations for the ultra-competitive racing that takes place almost every weekend. Around 58 people, 18 of them based full-time on the R&D facility, work on the safety, competition and cost-management aspects that are summed up by the series' rulebook.