NASCAR Horsepower Racing Engines vs. Standard Street Cars

January 27, 2012

Many people wonder if NASCAR horsepower levels can be so high without the use of superchargers, turbochargers and other commonly used performance devices. These engines routinely rate at 750 horsepower or better, which is far and away higher than most street cars. Interestingly enough, however, the similarities between a standard street car engine and a NASCAR racing engine are many and oftentimes quite striking. Read on for a brief comparison of the two to show how NASCAR engines routinely get a much higher horsepower than most standard street engines.

Breakdown of a NASCAR engine

NASCAR engines are most commonly V8 engines, with at least 340 cubic inches of capacity. This places them at the top of the spectrum in terms of overall engine size and number of cylinders, but this is not unique amongst a good number of street cars. Some of the bigger differences between a NASCAR engine and a street car engine that help it to far surpass the other engines in terms of overall horsepower, include the displacement capacity. Most NASCAR engines have a huge displacement, of 300 cubic inches or more. The few street cars that do have a displacement of this size will generally have well over about 300 horsepower themselves.

The cam profiles on NASCAR engines are radically different from those in standard street cars as well. This means that they will keep the air intake valves open at certain speeds and times during which most standard cars would not be open. With this, you will receive a boost of air at high speeds in your NASCAR engine, where you would not in a standard engine.

Other Differences

NASCAR engines are fully tuned and designed for natural boost of air and energy at higher speeds than standard engines. While this type of tuning is something that can be done on virtually any high powered engine, it is not advisable for standard cars. The reason for this is that it will essentially skew your engine so it only functions properly at the highest speeds and performance settings. If you're going less than 100 miles per hour, your engine will be unresponsive and weak. This is obviously not a good choice of tuning settings for most street cars.

The carburetors on NASCAR vehicles are designed to let in huge amounts of fuel and air at a time. They are also specially designed to be timed perfectly with the combustion system of the engine. This is what allows NASCAR engines to operate as effectively as they do without the use of chargers of any type.

The general difference between a NASCAR engine and a standard street engine lies more in the tuning and programming than it does in the design of the engine itself. By keeping your own engine tuned properly and finely adjusted, you'll be able to maximize the horsepower for your own needs as effectively as NASCAR drivers do for theirs.

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