How Do NASCAR Drivers Stay Hydrated? Staying Cool Under Pressure

NASCAR races are quite long. Some finish in about 2 hours, while others can take as long as 5 hours. This begs the question, how do NASCAR drivers stay hydrated?

Are they able to drink or eat during a race?

Key Points:

  • NASCAR drivers can drink and eat during a race by keeping liquids and snacks in their vehicles and utilizing pit stops to replenish their supplies.
  • The temperature inside the car can reach up to 160°F, and drivers can lose 8-10 pounds of water during a race, which is why hydration is crucial.
  • Drivers drink fluids that contain glucose, vitamins, and minerals to maintain hydration and focus, and they also need to multitask to eat and maintain their energy levels.

Yes, NASCAR racers can drink and eat during a race. Some drivers simply take a bottle of their preferred liquid along for the ride, whereas others opt for a more sophisticated hydration system that involves a pipe that connects a liquid supply to the driver’s helmet. Additionally, NASCAR drivers are provided with drinks during pit stops.

As for eating, a lot of NASCAR drivers tend to carry protein and snack bars in their glove boxes. They’re also provided with light snacks during stops. Some drivers, on the other hand, choose not to eat anything at all during a race.

Continue reading to learn more about how NASCAR drivers stay hydrated during a race.

Can NASCAR Drivers Drink During a Race?

Did you know that the temperature inside a NASCAR vehicle can get dangerously high? We’re talking 120°F to 160°F, which is hot enough to cause mid-race dehydration and cramping.

In fact, a NASCAR driver can lose 8-10 pounds of water during a race. Such a degree of dehydration can cause a driver to become ill and unable to continue the race. This is why hydration is very important in NASCAR racing.

The reason why the temperature can get so high inside a NASCAR vehicle is that there’s no layer of insulation between the vehicle’s engine and the cockpit.

Add to that the fact that NASCAR drivers are required to wear a double-layered fire suit that covers their entire body to keep them safe in the event of a fire hazard. Such suits can increase body heat significantly.

With that in mind, how do NASCAR drivers avoid dehydration? Can they drink during a race?

The answer is yes. Some NASCAR drivers choose to simply keep bottles of their preferred fluid in their vehicle, while others opt for the liquid supply and helmet-attached pipe approach.

Depending on how hot it is in the car, a driver may drink anywhere between 20 to 40 ounces of fluid per hour to stay hydrated and focused.

Though it can be, the fluid isn’t just plain water, as it’s not enough to provide the body with what it needs to keep going at an optimal level. It’s typically a formula that consists of glucose, vitamins, and minerals.

How Do NASCAR Drivers Avoid the Need to Pee?

Feeling the urge to pee during a NASCAR race is uncommon. This is due to the fact that perspiration—the process of sweating—causes the NASCAR driver’s body to lose large volumes of water quite rapidly.

On top of that, there are a lot of toilet preparations that a NASCAR driver has to go through before a race, such as:

  • Make sure they’re well-hydrated days before the race.
  • Going to the bathroom as close to the start of the race as possible.
  • Keeping liquid consumption at a minimum during the race.
  • Taking salt tablets that absorb water if the racer has a small bladder.

Having said that, the need to pee may still arise during an intense NASCAR race. In this case, NASCAR drivers may choose to pee in their suits, though it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of focus to allow yourself to pee during a race.

You’re probably wondering, can NASCAR drivers wear diapers, then?

The answer is no. Wearing a diaper during a NASCAR race can lead to a safety hazard because the composition of a diaper is flammable. So, NASCAR drivers are advised against wearing diapers.

Can NASCAR Drivers Eat During a Race?

Yes, NASCAR drivers can eat during a race to maintain their energy levels and concentration. After all, NASCAR drivers burn a lot of calories during a race. In most cases, NASCAR drivers choose to keep simple snacks in their vehicles, like protein-rich bars and energy chews.

Eating during a NASCAR race requires great multitasking skills, though, seeing as drivers are traveling at breakneck speeds of over 200 miles per hour.

Typically, the NASCAR driver will reach for the snack with one hand while the other is on the wheel. Then, they’ll wait for a straight, put their knee on the wheel, and then grab a quick bite. Ideally, the snack needs to be unwrapped.

Alternatively, the driver can wait for a pit stop, where they can drink and grab a quick protein bar bite before continuing the race. It’s also worth noting that some drivers choose not to eat at all.

How Do NASCAR Drivers Stay Cool During a Race?

As we mentioned earlier, the temperature inside a NASCAR vehicle can get pretty high. So, how exactly do the drivers stay cool during a race?

Here’s a list of things that help keep NASCAR drivers cool and well-ventilated during a race:

  • Proper hydration for the driver before and during the race.
  • Implementing a convection cooling system that replaces warm air with cool air.
  • Incorporating insulating materials and thermal shielding inside the vehicle.
  • Adding a NACA duct system inside the driver’s helmet to keep the air cool.
  • Placing bags of ice inside the driver’s fire suit to keep their body temporarily cool.

In Summary

So, how do NASCAR drivers stay hydrated during a race? They either keep bottles of fluid inside their vehicles, or they use a sophisticated hydrating system that involves a pipe that reaches from a liquid reservoir to their helmet.

There are also other means of keeping a NASCAR driver cool and well-ventilated during a race, such as NACA ducts, convection cooling through fans, and thermal shielding.

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