Are NASCAR drivers real athletes? - Video

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Motorsport.com staff

Denny Hamlin willingly took part in a scientific experiment

Would you swallow a sensor that would record your internal temperature before you climbed into a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car? Denny Hamlin did exactly that before climbing into his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for what could be a four hour race?

Hamlin did swallow the sensor, and then thanked Dr. Cynthia Bir for letting him know, she did not did the sensor back at the end of the race! Dr. Bir is on staff at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

ESPN Sport Science examines the extreme levels that an athlete can reach during any type of competition. Hamlin’s Toyota was fitted with an Accelerometer which measures the G-Forces, and a Thermocouple that would record the temperatures inside the car.

Hamlin was also fitted with a Bio Harness so he was truly wired up for this experiment. He was a very willing participant and was commenting with the Sports Science staff and the medical experts.

The reason for the experiment was to analyze the race car driver and his car. One of the discoveries was that the under acceleration the driver’s heartbeat is 130 BPM, during a race a Nascar drivers heart will beat 30,000 times, nearly twice as many beats needed by a world-class endurance runner to complete a marathon.

Add the factor of the temperature inside the car which recorded up to 130F, 15Fs higher than Death Valley, California. Hamlin’s internal sensor (the one he swallowed) reached a temp of 101F. Hypothermia sets in at 102F.

By the time the four hours of a hard-fought battle ended, Hamlin had lost 13 pounds of body water.

The entire test was extremely interesting and what was scientific data may come in handy not just for the NASCAR drivers, but for all racing series.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Analysis
Tags espn, gibbs, hamlin, spors medicine, toyota