The sheer amount of details packed into a single NASCAR stock car is staggering. The sport has made several features standard that are either hidden from view within the interior or concealed completely underneath the hood. Although audiences see glimpses at times, these buried features act somewhat as Easter eggs.
Even if someone notices one of these features, they may not realize what purpose it serves. There’s a lot about the cars that go over viewers’ heads, which is why we made an entire piece that revolves around things no one understands about NASCAR race cars. Every part of the car is carefully planned out and serves a particular function.
Whether it’s a device in the driver’s seat or a design that improves speed, a NASCAR stock car wouldn’t be what it is without these Easter eggs. One feature listed below even serves as a bit of trickery and merely exists for aesthetic reasons.
With the motorsport’s stock cars evolving over the years, many of these cars were additions to improve the driving experience and even, in some cases, the driver's comfort.
We’re going to look at all the Easter eggs in NASCAR stock cars that viewers probably missed. Even if they noticed them before, they may not have figured out yet what it does. Not only do we unveil the Easter eggs, but go over what each one of them does.
Don’t forget to check out NASCAR drivers that need to sell their sad rides and pics of NASCAR wives and girlfriends every guy needs to see.
20 Parts Of The Frame Are Thinner To Protect The Driver
This isn’t noticeable from looking at the exterior of a stock car. Underneath, however, the frame bears an interesting feature. According to Auto HowStuffWorks, the front and rear parts of the car’s frame are intentionally thinner. If the car gets in an accident, the engine is more likely to burst out the front through the thinner part of the frame, thus protecting the driver from further harm.
It would only make the situation worse if the driver had to contend with their own car’s engine flying at them too. It’s a cool safety feature that’s hidden deep within the car.
19 Master Switch That Cuts Off The Power
The stock cars in NASCAR are paradoxical. On one hand, they’re primitive, with engines reminiscent of fifty to sixty years ago; on the other, they’re decked out with advanced technology. There are also safety features above and beyond what regulars cars have in order to offset the race car's performance. One of the unique features is a master switch. In an official overview of the car’s interior by NASCAR, there’s a master switch shown to the right of the driver on the dashboard.
This guide states that the master switch completely turns off the car’s electrical system, which comes in handy in a bind.
18 Vents On Front Cool Down The Brakes
The front of a NASCAR stock car looks a little different from a regular car. There’s a similar looking grill that, according to Auto HowStuffWorks, is even larger on the short-track version than others, such as the super-speedway version. It’s vitally important that air gets through this area of the car considering how hot it gets.
Then there are the extra vents under the grill or off to the sides. The same source notes that these primarily serve to cool down the brakes. Considering Matt DiBenedetto’s brakes once caught on fire during the Pocono 400, as per NASCAR's official website, we think it's a good idea to have these extra vents.
17 Ventilation System That Cools Down Drivers
NASCAR fans know what it’s like to feel the heat watching a race in person. To see them in action, see pictures of NASCAR fans every guy needs to see. Imagine how hot the drivers get though. With temperatures getting as high as what USA Today confirms is up to 130 degrees, it’s only fair that drivers have a way to stay cool.
Thanks to some trusty hoses built-in to the seats, they can find some relief while racing. It can even attach to the helmet at the top—as seen in the photo above—and blow in cool air.
16 Custom Engine Blocks
It’d be easy if NASCAR took engines from any old car and slapped them inside their own stock cars. Those engines, however, just don’t have what it takes to be race-worthy on their own. That’s why it entails a level of custom work to get them up to snuff.
Auto HowStuffWorks reports that the engines are little more primitive than many would expect, as they still use pushrods within the valves. The same source even notes that Dodge is behind NASCAR’s engines. They’re also behind these cars from the 90s that make no sense, which you should be sure to check out.
15 HANS Device
Ever wondered what that device is around the driver’s head inside the car? No, it's not a giant pillow, despite how it looks. Called the HANS device, It has been around in the motorsport for almost 15 years and stands out whenever the camera peers into the driver's seat. It’s hard to imagine a time when they didn’t use it.
Nationwide reports that HANS stands for Head and Neck Support. Should the driver ever encounter an accident, the HANS offers a layer of padding. Without it, their head would thrash around from the impact of a crash. This helps to protect the driver’s head, making it a welcome addition.
14 The Front Fenders’ Shape Promotes Downforce
This next one relates to short-track cars. The teams behind making these cars are always trying to get the most out of them. One of the areas they look at is downforce, which according to Auto HowStuffWorks, improves the car's speed the more there is. There are areas throughout the car that help with this, including the front fenders.
The same source notes that the fenders have a more distinct shape for the sake of increasing downforce. Many might see the way it looks and assume it’s simply a style choice when in reality it plays a role in the car’s performance.
13 Harness Seat Belts
The seat belts in stock cars are not just better than conventional ones but offer drivers even more safety. They have to accomplish a couple of things. First, they have to securely fasten the drivers to their seats, especially during accidents when there's the potential of getting jostled. Secondly, they need to have an easy eject option in case the car catches on fire.
Nationwide reports that NASCAR stock cars use a six-point harness that achieves both these required features. If drivers need to get out of the belt in a bind, all the driver has to do is release a latch that’s connected to all six straps.
12 Fire Extinguisher Switch That Puts Out Fires
Stock cars can catch on fire, but there’s a precaution built-in to the vehicles that attempts to stop it before it gets out of control. In 2003, as per Motorsport.com, NASCAR required that all cars have a fire extinguisher installed in the driver's compartment. They wanted to make sure it was primarily for the fuel cell area where a fire is likely to break out.
Drivers have a button inside the car that they can use to activate the extinguisher. While not visible watching the sport from TV or in the stands, it’s a cool hidden feature that protects drivers.
11 Headlights And Taillights Are Decals
Look closely at the front and rear of a NASCAR stock car, particularly at the headlights and taillights. It’s hard to believe, but they aren’t real. As The Florida Times-Union reports, they’re really decals. With the raceways lit at night, there isn’t really a point in having workable headlights. So why are they decals? We guess it has something to do with how the car would look without them.
A car without headlights or taillights would look weird and distracting, so they add these to make it look familiar. As referenced in the intro, this is the Easter egg on NASCAR vehicles that’s misleading.
10 Sensors Throughout That Give Updates On Fuel Levels
NASCAR stock cars have sensors all over that give updates on specific areas. For example, as the site Machine Design points out, the amount of fuel and the condition of the tires is all tracked. Many might think the pit crew has access to this information when the same source notes that it’s against the rules to remotely send this information back. Machine Design notes that only during shake-down laps can this data be available outside the car.
While it would be easy with today’s state of the art technology for stock cars to transmit this data back to others, it’s not allowed.
9 Track Bars Enabled Drivers To Adjust The Vehicle’s Balance
That’s not an error—it’s “enabled" for a reason, as opposed to “enables.” Technically the motorsport got rid of this feature going into the 2019 season after only introducing it four years before. The Drive reports that until 2015, the pit crews were responsible for managing the car’s balance. Then they left it up to drivers but have since reneged on this rule.
For what it was at the time, the track bar was a revolutionary concept from an engineering standpoint. Putting this responsibility on drivers on top of everything else they had to factor in must have taken a toll though.
8 Nitrogen Tires
Anyone can tell the NASCAR tires look different just by looking at them. Yet their appearance isn’t enough to let viewers in on just how different they are. With how hot tires get during a race, and the effect it can have on the car’s performance as a result, NASCAR has something else inside its tires instead of air.
Auto HowStuffWorks reports that teams put Nitrogen inside the tires to prevent them from losing their pressure. There’s no getting around how hot tires get for now, but they can at least control what goes in the tires to compensate for the rising temperature.
7 Talk Radio
Even stock cars come with a radio, though it isn’t used for listening to music. Unlike regular cars, these radios serve as a communication device between drivers and their pit crew. It’s pivotal for the two sides to interact at every moment, or they won’t be able to make adjustments in real-time. There are special rules concerning the radio in these cars. For one, they aren’t supposed to connect to the car’s electrical system, according to the same source.
As alluded to elsewhere in this piece, it's further proof that parts of these cars remain old fashioned despite all its other advancements.
6 Window Nets
When it comes to Easter eggs on these cars, the window nets are easily noticeable. They’re practically on the outside of the car, occupying the space of a driver’s door window. Without there being any glass there, it naturally draws viewers’ attention. Not everyone may realize what exactly these nets are for though. The nets serve a few purposes. For one, as Nationwide points out, they help keep a driver from flying out in the event of an accident.
Secondly, the same source notes that they keep parts and other rubble from flinging into the driver's compartment. It’s practically become an integral part of stock cars drivers can’t race without.
5 Where The Frame And Body Meet Is Key To Performance
Design choices that sound simple on paper can have a major impact on the car’s performance. Many of the cars go through a similar approach when it comes to assembling them thanks to tried-and-true methods. It isn’t just a matter of putting together a car’s frame and body but doing it in a way that translates into positive results on the track.
Auto HowStuffWorks reports that for super-speedway vehicles, they mount the body forward on the frame. Supposedly this helps to cut down on drag, which makes these cars go even faster. It may not be a flashy Easter egg, but it’s a hidden feature that many won’t notice from watching a race.
4 Two Tires In One
Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to NASCAR tires. We already touched on how they use nitrogen in place of air, but there’s another trick hidden inside these tires.
There’s an actual inner liner, acting as a duplicate tire, within. They go on to note that it’s a requirement the motorsport requires in all its cars’ tires. This serves as a backup tire or buffer in case the outer one has a blowout. That way the inner tire can at least fill in until the driver is able to steer the car to safety.
3 NACA Ducts Improve Aerodynamics
Small accents throughout the car help to make stock cars more aerodynamic. The most obvious ones that stand out, as Railway Age points out, are the front splitter and spoiler in the back. One of the areas that are less noticeable, however, are the NACA ducts.
Spectators can spot these on the windows of the car. These are just one of many performance-enhancing parts of the car, but one that goes unnoticed in a motorsport packed with details. They may not look very appealing with their bulbous design, but they go a long way in helping the car perform at the highest level.
2 Carbon Fiber Seats
Not the flashiest part of the interior in a stock car, but one that certainly gets overlooked. What the driver sits on is about the last thing that catches viewers’ attention. The material they’re made of deserves a special mention though, especially since it’s outside the norm. Aluminum racing seats are common since they’re lightweight.
According to Nationwide though, NASCAR instead uses carbon fiber. This also puts the driver’s safety first as it helps to diminish the impact during an accident. The same source notes that the seats also protect the driver’s shoulders, adding an extra layer of protection on both sides.
1 Wiring Is On The Right Side Door
Less an Easter egg and more a strictly enforced rule, all the electrical wiring in the car have to be on one side. The site Machine Design reports that it can’t run through the driver’s door. While not a full-fledged feature, it’s an interesting rule about the cars themselves.
One can only imagine what kind of tricks drivers have employed in the past that forced them to make this rule. Furthermore, the same source sheds light on the inspection process each car goes through. It’s NASCAR’s way of making sure there’s no funny business going on inside of the cars.
Sources: Auto HowStuffWorks, NASCAR, Nationwide, Motorsport.com, USA Today, Railway Age, The Drive, Machine Design, The Florida Times-Union