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Glossary

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CAMBER
The angle that wheels are tilted inward or outward from vertical. If the top of the wheel is tilted inward, the camber is negative.
CART
Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. acronym, the former sanctioning organization for the Champ Car World Series.
CENTER OF PRESSURE
The point on a Champ Car World Series car underwing that receives the greatest amount of airflow pressure. This measurement is critical to setting front to rear balance, especially on superspeedways.
CHASSIS
The basic structure of a race car to which all other components are attached. Champ Car World Series cars have carbon-fiber monocoque "tubs" while a NASCAR stock car has a steel tube frame chassis.
CHECKERED FLAG
Black and white checkerboard-style flag signifies the end of a race.
CHICANE
An "S"-like track configuration in NASCAR and Champ Car World Series, generally designed on a fast portion of a track to slow cars. Also referred to as "esses" or a "switchback."
CHRISTMAS TREE
Also called the Tree, it is the noticeable electronic starting device between the lanes on the starting line of NHRA races. It displays a calibrated-light countdown for each driver.
CHUNKING
A softer compound rain tire will shed pieces of rubber if a track becomes too dry.
CIRCUIT
Any race track. Also refers to the entire slate of races on a season schedule.
CIRCULATING
Driving around a track with a damaged and/or slow car to accumulate laps and, more important, points and prize money.
CLEAN AIR
When a car is running by itself on the track, it's in "clean air" because other cars do not disturb the air. Also, see dirty air.
CLIPPING
Minor contact between race cars, also often refers to hitting precisely, or "clipping," the apex of a turn.
CLOSED-WHEEL CARS
Production-based race vehicles such as NASCAR stock cars are examples of closed-wheel cars with the suspension; wheels and tires are mostly covered by the body, as opposed to open-wheel "formula" cars.
CLUTCH CAN
The bell-shaped housing, or bellhousing, used to encase the clutch and flywheel on NHRA vehicles.
CLUTCH LOCKUP
In NHRA racing, the progression of clutch-disc engagement controlled by an air-timer management system.
COCKPIT
The driver sits in this are of a race car.
COLD PITS
There is no racing activity on the track and the pits are open to people other than team members and racing officials.
COMBINATIONS
Combinations of engine, gearing, suspension, aerodynamic parts, and wheel and tire settings which teams forecast will work under varying conditions and tracks. These combinations (also known as setups) are recorded and used as baselines when teams arrive at a track.
COMPOUND
In some series, teams can choose their rubber blend for tires based on the track and weather conditions. A softer compound tire provides better traction but wears out much faster than a harder compound tire, which doesn't provide as much grip.
CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP
The equivalent of a Manufacturers' Championship, an award for the cars' builders.
CORNER WORKER
NASCAR or Champ Car World Series volunteers who staff corners to notify drivers of any dangerous situations in the area.
COSWORTH
Engine manufacturing company that has cooperatively developed racing motors with Ford for many years. Named after co-founders Mike Costain and Keith Duckworth.
CROSS-THREAD
On the NASCAR and Champ Car World Series circuits: stripping of the wheel stud threads when crew members hurriedly refasten lug nuts. This can be more devastating in Champ Car racing as each wheel has only one center nut/thread combination, which, if damaged, necessitates a pit pass before more severe consequences take place.
CTS
Abbreviation of of NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series.

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