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Inquiry-RacecarTechnologyontheStreet 0 - Commented

Inquiry-RacecarTechnologyontheStreet 0 - Commented

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Published by jhennin7

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Published by: jhennin7 on Dec 07, 2012
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Joseph Henning
Professor Presnell
ENGL 1103
11 November 2012
Racing Innovation on the Street
If it moves, chances are someone has tried to race it. All through history, individuals havehad the need for speed, and in the spirit of competition, people always try to go faster. Thisracing spirit is undoubtedly a great motivation to innovate. As auto racing sprung up and took hold in the twentieth century, a new breed of engineer was born. The hardcore racer ranged froma wealthy investor to a shade tree mechanic, but in any case, wanted to go faster. Competitionbecame a great motivator for new designs, and fresh ideas were always being introduced on thetrack. Cars were being developed at the
racetrack.As someone who has many hours working on cars, I have always been interested in thetechnology behind them. As a racer who has turned many laps behind the wheel of a go-kart, I
understand the thrill of competition and how racers strive to find a little extra speed. As a fan, Iwatch cutting edge racecars on track every weekend. What I did not know much about was thelink between the three, so I set out to find out racing innovations have affected the modernpassenger car.
How have the technologies of racing carried over to the everyday passenger cars
that carry us to work? How have early racers shaped modern passenger cars? How is modernracing changing cars today?
The Early Days: A look in the Rear View Mirror
Comment [1]:
good opening line
Comment [2]:
Very good intro.! It's simple butit does a great job catching the reader'sattention
Comment [3]:
good use of personal experience
Comment [4]:
not sure you need the questions. You've set itup well to move on.
Comment [5]:
I've never really thought about the correlationbetween everyday cars and race cars. Thought-provoking topic!
The very first Indy 500 winning car featured something entirely new and groundbreakingthat we all take for granted now
a rear view mirror. As described by
 Automotive Engineer 
, in1911 Ray Harroun built a car that stood out from the rest, the Marmon Wasp. Harroun was anengineer for the now long gong Marmon company, who was assigned to both build and drive acar to represent the firm. He focused on saving weight, and came up with a car that wasconsiderably different from any other in the 500. What made the Wasp unique was that it hadonly one seat. Back in those days, endurance racecars always had two seats - one for a driver,and one for a mechanic who would fix the car when it rattled apart. Harroun, however, believedhis car would stay together though. He built his car smaller and lighter than all the others byeliminating the mechanic. There was really only one problem with this. Drivers had no way tosee who was coming up behind them. They relied solely on the mechanic to inform them of cars
behind and pulling up alongside. Harroun had the creative idea of making a bracket to mount asmall mirror to the dash of his car. The first rear view mirror had been built.
Many officials of the first Indy 500 thought this was dangerous and wanted to requireHarroun to have a passenger, but the rules described no such requirement. In a controversial
decision Harroun was allowed to race. Five hundred miles later, Harroun’s car was in thewinner’s circle at the Indianapolis motor speedway, havi
ng won the inaugural running of what
would become America’s most historic race.
Within three years, production cars everywhere
were featuring mirrors to see behind them (“Milestones”).
Small, Lightweight, and Economical: The Front Wheel Drive
In the interest of total honesty, it must be admitted that the first front wheel drive vehicleswere tractors. The first front wheel drive cars, however, were built for the racetrack (Becker). In
Comment [6]:
Hmm! That's very interesting.. I didn't evenknow there were cars with no rear view mirror 
i agree, very interesting!
Comment [7]:
I really like the fact that you start off with anarrative story to go along with all of the facts. Itgets the reader hooked into the paper.
the very beginning, temperamental innovator John Walter Christie was racing front wheel drivecreations at local fairgrounds around the country. His inventions would die out, but later in thetwenties a new inventor would take on the challenge. Harry Miller, financially backed bywealthy racer Jim Murphey, would build several front-wheel drive cars. Though Murphey wasknown mainly for board track racing, an old style of auto racing that took place on small tracks
made of wood planks, Miller used his expertise to build Murphey’s ideas into successful
racecars. The pair had a good bit of racing success, and others began to take notice. In a brief spurt of front wheel drive success, a front-wheel drive car won the 1924 Indy 500 (Halliday).Despite this, front wheel drive was not yet practical for street use. Mechanically, no one hadfound a smooth way to connect power from the engine to a wheel that could steer and pivot. Theearly front wheel drive cars would never be practical for street use. Finally in the 1930s, the CV- joint was invented in France, and front-wheel drive became practical (Becker). By this timehowever, racers had realized that rear wheel drive handled better on the track, so with theexception of a handful of Indycars, there were few more attempts at front-wheel drive (Haliday).The technology would be later revived in the 1970s, when gas shortages and environmentalrestrictions demanded lighter, more economical cars. For the same reason that early racers hadfavored front wheel drive, the auto industry was embracing it (Becker). Nowadays the vastmajority of street cars are driven from the front wheels.
Further Indycar Innovations
The American Indycar series has been both a development ground and a proving ground
for many great ideas. As I said before, it started with Harroun’s mirror in the very first race.
 Harroun is also credited with introducing streamlining, the idea of smoothing out the shape of a
car to reduce wind resistance. Harroun’s 1911 Wasp (Milestones”). Modern cars put a huge
Comment [8]:
you're fond of these in-text citations, but they'rebeginning to proliferate. Some source intros?Some direct quoting mixed with paraphrasewould also add style variety and texture.

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