The gas cans on-site at a NASCAR race are much different than those red plastic containers you can buy from your local gas station. They’re much larger and boast a different shape than a typical gas can, as they’re specially designed for NASCAR.
This article dives into the details surrounding NASCAR gas cans, including how much they hold, the average weight, and more, so continue reading to learn more!
How Much Fuel Does A NASCAR Gas Can Hold?
A typical NASCAR gas can holds approximately 12 gallons of fuel. A race car’s fuel tank holds 22 gallons of racing fuel, so pit crews need two gas cans to fill the tank each time.
These gas cans, known as dump cans, are readily available throughout the race to fill race cars as the fuel tank empties. They feature a unique design that enables them to empty the gas in mere seconds, ensuring the driver wastes as little time as possible during the pit stop.
Pit crews can empty the gas can into the car’s fuel tank in approximately 6.5 seconds. This time doesn’t include anything but emptying the can, so there is added time for the crew member to get from the wall to the car. If the vehicle needs more than one gas can to top off the tank, it’ll take at least 13 seconds to fill the tank.
How Much Does A NASCAR Gas Can Weigh?
NASCAR gas cans aren’t particularly light, weighing in at approximately 95 pounds when filled with 12 gallons of racing fuel. Each gallon of racing fuel weighs around 6 pounds, although the exact weight of the fuel hinges on its temperature.
Teams weigh each gas can before and after they refuel the race car, as race cars don’t have their own gas gauge. This means the team needs to complete precise calculations to determine when fuel stops are necessary. To do this, they determine how much gas they dispense into the tank at each stop.
For example, if the gas can weighs 95 pounds before fueling and 30 pounds after fueling, they added roughly 11 gallons to the tank.
- 95 pounds (initial weight) – 30 pounds (post weight) = 65 pounds (dispensed weight)
- 65 pounds (dispensed weight) / 6 pounds (average weight per gallon) = 10.8 gallons dispensed
How Does A NASCAR Gas Can Empty So Fast?
NASCAR gas cans are called dump cans for a good reason. Unlike a traditional gas can, these cans can dispense 12 gallons of fuel in mere seconds. Their ability to spew gas so rapidly stems from the design.
Since NASCAR drivers need to waste as little time as possible at each pit stop, refueling needs to happen fast. They can’t waste minutes of precious racing time to refuel, as the clock (and their competitors) isn’t working in their favor.
So, to combat the issue of slow refueling, NASCAR gas cans feature a unique design. The can is cylindrical and tall, featuring a long neck leading to the spout. A second tube extends from the spout to the fuel tank and serves as a vent tube.
The vent tube helps fuel flow faster by ensuring there, as air takes the place of the fuel leaving the can. A steady flow of air ensures the gas can flow smoothly and rapidly out of the chamber, allowing pit crews to refuel the car rapidly.
It’s similar to emptying a bottle of water. If you turn the bottle upside down, the water comes out of the opening as it alternates with air forcing its way in, creating a glug, glug, glug. It will come out of the bottle, but it doesn’t happen very fast.
However, if you tilt the bottle to allow air in while simultaneously pouring the liquid out, you won’t have the same issue. Since there’s a direct path for air to enter the bottle, you can pour the liquid faster than if you simply dumped it upside down and waited for it to stumble through the drainage process.
The same thing can happen with a gas can. With a regular, run-of-the-mill gas can, the spout is responsible for pouring and venting. If you try to dump gas into a vehicle rapidly, it won’t flow as quickly since there’s not enough air entering the can to pour smoothly and evenly.
So, to avoid this issue altogether, NASCAR uses specially designed gas cans with vents. On top of creating a path for airflow, these vents catch excess fuel once the tank is full.
How Much Does NASCAR Pay For A Gallon Of Gas?
Given the amount of gas NASCAR drivers blaze through in a single race, you’d think the fuel company supplying it is making money hand over fist. However, while Sunoco is responsible for providing the fuel, NASCAR doesn’t pay the company for the product.
Sunoco is and has been a corporate sponsor of NASCAR since 2004. Today, it supplies a special blend of racing fuel designed for the high-performance engines found in race cars. The 98-octane Green E15 fuel doesn’t cost NASCAR a penny.
So, even when gas prices climb to exorbitant rates or fall to screaming deals, NASCAR’s racing fuel budget remains unaffected. That said, NASCAR isn’t entirely immune to fluctuating gas prices, as they still need to haul equipment from one race to the next.
Each team is responsible for transporting the cars and equipment from one race to the next. The 18-wheelers responsible for transportation get less-than-stellar gas mileage, especially when they’re weighed down by their cargo. Considering races can be thousands of miles away and require extensive travel throughout the season, gas prices for this aspect of racing are steep.
How Much Fuel Do NASCAR Cars Use Per Race?
NASCAR drivers use gallons upon gallons of fuel in a single race, but the exact amount varies from one race to the next based on several factors (track, race length, fuel economy, etc.). For example, the length of the race and fuel economy play two major roles in the driver’s fuel consumption throughout the race.
A stock NASCAR car gets approximately 4 miles per gallon, although the number might climb or drop based on varying factors. Considering races vary in length from a few hundred miles to 500 miles or more, one NASCAR car might consume 100 gallons of racing fuel or more in a single race.
For instance, consider the highly popular Daytona 500. Given the fuel economy of the average car and the length of the race, most drivers use around 100 gallons of racing fuel to power their vehicle through the race. Of course, the exact amount of fuel they use varies based on numerous racing factors, so some drivers might use more than others.