• Photo Galleries: 02/24: Stater Brothers 300 | Stater Brothers 300 2 | Race fans | California Speedway infield | Matt Kenseth makes the Walk of Fame | Nascar FONTANA – Watching cars drive on the freeway sometimes can be more exciting than watching NASCAR Nextel Cup stock cars circle the two-mile oval at California Speedway. “Nobody was complaining about that race,” she said. “It was so good, people forgot about it being boring.” It’s the nature of the beast, said Les Richter, who oversaw the construction of the track for Roger Penske 10 years ago. “We’ve had good ones and bad ones,” Richter said. Drivers seem to love the track. No one appears to want to see it changed. “It used to be that this is a one-lane track,” said NASCAR’s Brett Bodine, who is involved in creating the series’ Car of Tomorrow, which will replace the current Cup cars at Fontana next season. “Now, there’s three grooves, even a fourth.” Car owner Chip Ganassi cited NASCAR’s rules, which lead to down-force racing on mid-sized tracks such as Fontana. “I think the race track is all right,” he said. “It’s not the track. It’s the rules.” NASCAR actually is addressing that issue with the Car of Tomorrow. The spoiler on the current cars does not create down force; the front of the car does, Bodine said. The new car, with its rear wing, will create down force on the rear of the car. Bodine also said the sides of the Car of Tomorrow are being redesigned to create better side-by-side racing, too. Today’s cars need that bump draft to pick up speed because spoilers can’t do it, he said. “I think we’ll have a new life with the Car of Tomorrow,” Zucker said. “I think it will make it more interesting.” But she’s convinced racing is interesting now, too. “I think we have better than the average race track,” she said. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2272 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! So when 43 cars line up for today’s Auto Club 500, the chances are that during crunch time – the race’s final 50 laps – passes for the lead will be few. Of the 14 Cup races held at the track, nine have had no passes for the lead in the final 50 laps, including the past three Auto Club 500s. “We haven’t seen as exciting racing as we have on some other tracks,” said three-time California Speedway race winner Jeff Gordon, who is on the pole for today’s 250-lap race. “I’m not sure why … I think because there is so much room here to race on, we don’t see many cautions and the cars get real spread out and sometimes that’s not going to be as exciting to the fans.” There have been suggestions that the speedway blow up its track and install more banking like Las Vegas Motor Speedway or Miami-Homestead did to improve its racing. There is 14-degree banking in the turns at California Speedway. Las Vegas now has 24-degree banking and Homestead 20 degrees. “You need your head examined if you change this race track,” said Mark Martin, who is starting third and, like Gordon, has raced in every Cup event at the track. “There’s nothing to fix.” In the past, track president Gillian Zucker had admitted if it took tearing down the track to make it better, she would. But not anymore. “Why?” she asked. “It takes time for a track to mature. There are two, three grooves here. The drivers love it. There is no way we’re changing the track.” Gillian cited last year’s fall Sony HD 500, which had five lead changes in the final 12 laps and was won by Kasey Kahne with a pass with two laps to go.
Insects are attracted to the chemicals in flowers, helping to pollinate the flowers. Image credit: John Severns, Wikimedia Commons. Explore further Citation: Scientists investigate how chemicals evolved into communication signals (2011, January 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-scientists-chemicals-evolved.html Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Pheromones a myth in mammals More information: Sandra Steiger, Thomas Schmitt, and H. Martin Schaefer. “The origin and dynamic evolution of chemical information transfer.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2285 (PhysOrg.com) — Living things possess many diverse ways of communicating, but perhaps the oldest and most widespread form of communication involves the use of chemicals. From animals and plants to bacteria and fungi, organisms emit and receive chemical signals as a way of transferring information between one another. Organisms are sensitive to a very broad range of chemicals; for example, scientists estimate that rodents can detect thousands or even tens of thousands of odorant molecules. Exactly how organisms evolved the ability to use chemicals to communicate is still an open question. In a recent review of the subject, researchers Sandra Steiger from Illinois State University and Thomas Schmitt and H. Martin Schaefer, both from the University of Freiburg in Freiburg, Germany, have proposed several mechanisms that help clarify the possible origin and evolution of chemical information transfer. Their study is published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.As the scientists explained, chemical information can be found in mammal excrement, insects’ cuticles, spider silk, plant nectar, and so on. Other organisms detect the chemical information in these substances to gain information. For example, red harvester ants have different chemicals in their cuticles that can reveal to other ants whether they are foragers or nest-maintenance workers. And wolves’ feces contain sex hormone levels that indicate their status within the pack to other wolves. The scientists suggested that these chemical cues originated for non-communicative purposes at first, and only inadvertently contained information that other organisms detected. Then, the chemical cues could have evolved into signals in a few different ways. If the organism that detected the original chemical reacted in a way that benefitted the organism that released the chemical, then the chemical’s function as a means of communication should be enhanced through evolution. Enhancement could be done by, for example, the sender increasing the quantity of the chemical cue, adding behavioral components to the chemical cue, or modifying the chemical cue to become more conspicuous.“In the last years, research on the evolution of chemical signals has largely focused on sex pheromones and their diversification due to speciation events,” Steiger told PhysOrg.com. “However, there are other or additional reasons for the ubiquity and high abundance of chemical signals. Our concept that signals derive from cues is not a novel concept; however, it has been an astonishingly underappreciated topic. The studies we present in our review show that a wide range of organisms release waste products and chemical compounds with non-communicative functions. These chemicals can incidentally carry information and therefore provide multiple starting points for the evolution of chemical communication. As there are different ways how selection enhances the communicative function of these chemicals, several distinct evolutionary trajectories of chemical communication are possible.”Because organisms possess such a large number of different odor receptors, the scientists predicted that evolution may have tailored organisms’ chemical signals to match the sensitivities of the intended receivers while avoiding those of predators. To better understand this process, Steiger says that more phylogenetic studies are needed to support the concept that chemical signals can derive from cues, which is not well-investigated. Phylogenetic studies could also reveal how often organisms use different techniques for enhancing the efficiency of chemical communication (for example, how often behavioral elements are added and how often only the quantity of a chemical is increased).“There is definitely a need for studies that evaluate the different selection factors acting on chemicals,” Steiger said. “Chemicals can have both a communicative role and a non-communicative function (e.g., chemicals on the cuticles of insects protect against desiccation and bacteria, but also function frequently as sex pheromones). Are these multiple functions in conflict or in accordance?”