When you get a big dent in your car, it usually means that you're soon headed to the body shop for expensive and painstaking repairs using highly specialized tools. When a NASCAR car gets a big dent that affects its racing performance, crews get out hammers, baseball bats and saws for a quick fix.
It seems a little strange that crews would spend all week building a high-tech, precision racing machine -- one that's monitored by satellites and thousands of dollars of computer equipment -- only to lay into it with baseball bats on race day. However, if a car's body is mangled, it can adversely affect its performance. Not only can the initial damage threaten to further damage other important performance components, but it can also add too much wind resistance or make it so the car doesn't generate enough down force -- both of which are racing disasters. So, if you see a pit crew wailing on a car with various blunt instruments like Tony Soprano looking for the money he's owed, there's no need to worry. The crew is just hard at work with some of their essential tools.
Up next, find out why one of the simplest tools that NASCAR teams use on race day proves to be one of the most versatile, too.