Every component in NASCAR serves a specific purpose in the way it is built and utilized by the teams, including the gas can. This goes for everything from the size to the material each component is made from, and even to how much fuel a NASCAR gas can holds.
A NASCAR gas can holds up to 12 gallons of fuel (45 liters), but the fuel tank can hold up to 18.5 gallons (70 liters), meaning there are times where the NASCAR gas man must use fuel from two full gas cans to fill their driver’s car fuel tank within a roughly 13 second pit stop.
Below, we will go over some specifics regarding the overall weight of a NASCAR gas can, and dive into deeper detail regarding how big a NASCAR car’s fuel tank is. We will also go over the science of how a NASCAR fuel man can empty a gas can so quickly.
How Heavy Is A NASCAR Gas Can?
A NASCAR gas can, also called a dump can, can weigh roughly 95 lb (43 kg) with 12 gallons (45 liters) of fuel inside it, which explains why a NASCAR fuel man is often the largest guy in the pit crew. A NASCAR gas can weighs about 23 lb (10.4 kg) when emptied completely.
We say roughly because a gallon of NASCAR fuel typically weighs 6 lb (2.7 kg), but that weight can vary because of the given temperature. NASCAR teams must keep track of the overall weight throughout a race, so you will see them weigh these cans before and after each pit stop.
Suppose the temperature at a NASCAR event means that each gallon of gas hits that 6 lb (2.7 kg) mark. Teams use a simple equation to break down how much weight they added to the car, taking 95 lb (43 kg) for the dump can before fueling minus the can’s weight after fueling. So, if the can weighed 25 lb (11.3 kg) after refueling, the team put 70 lb (31.8 kg) of fuel in the car.
How Big Is A NASCAR Car’s Fuel Tank?
When you fill up your production vehicle, you are likely only filling it up with between 12 gallons (45 liters) and 14 gallons (53 liters) of gasoline. In NASCAR, the fuel tank can hold 18.5 gallons (70 liters), substantially more than your road car. However, you may notice that NASCAR cars go through a lot of fuel throughout the race, since at every pit stop you will see them fueling up.
This is because, while your road car can often get somewhere between 18 miles (29 km) and 40 miles (64 km) per gallon, a NASCAR car gets anywhere between two miles (3.2 km) and four miles (6.4 km) per gallon. A NASCAR car often gets between 37 miles (60 km) and 74 miles (120 km) on an entire fuel tank, depending on the track and racing conditions.
KEY FACT: Throughout a typical race, a NASCAR car can refuel between 6 and 11 times
How Does A NASCAR Gas Can Empty So Fast?
Before we get to the specifics, know that all NASCAR pit crew members are professional athletes. Therefore, a NASCAR fuel man is proficient in their craft because they spend the week between events and offseason practicing what looks like a simple but pivotal movement that can make or break a driver’s chances to win a race.
Take the perfection of a fuel man’s craft and add in some science, since it takes a combination of both variables for a fuel man to empty a NASCAR gas can within a 13 second pit stop to keep their driver in serious contention for a high placing or a win. If the fuel man stays in top physical condition, they will do their job effectively.
The Vent Tube
Because the pit stops have gotten faster over the years, it has forced NASCAR to adopt new ways to keep the gas flowing for the duration of a four-tire change, and not a fraction of a second after. This is done through NASCAR’s implementation of a vent tube (also called an overflow tube), which has allowed for a more efficient flow of gas into the car.
The vent tube also catches excess fuel when the car is full, which also allowed NASCAR to eliminate the catch can man on a pit crew. This is a clear tube that causes the gas to flow upward. Once the gas man sees the excess fuel flowing up the tube, they know the tank is full.
A NASCAR gas can holds 12 gallons (45 liters) of racing fuel, but the fuel man will sometimes need to use up to 6.5 gallons (24.6 liters) of fuel from a second gas can to completely fill up the car’s 18.5 gallon (70 liter) fuel tank. The gas can typically weighs 95 lb (43 kg) when full.
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