Days of Thunder

Days of Thunder (1990)


Concept featured in film:Air Resistance

Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 14: 0:58:59 - 0:59:43


* Warning: This clip contains a scandalous scene, use with caution before showing to students*

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: The scene opens with Cole (Tom Cruise) explaining to his doctor (Nicole Kidman) the concept of drafting and how to use it to pass during a race. "It's called drafting, one car tucks in back of another. They can go faster than one can by itself. They divide the air resistance between them. Here's where it gets interesting. The lead car has to floor it to hit 200 mph, the car tucked in behind doesn't have to. It can go just as fast and have power in reserve. So when these two cars come off the last turn, the car that's in back can get out of the draft and slingshot past the lead car.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: Using racecars, this clip can be used to explore air resistance and some of the steps that are taken to minimize it.

Suggestions to Teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. Why would a car riding behind another car avoid the effects of air resistance?

b. Could a slower car pass a faster car using the technique described in the clip?

c. What attributes of the racecars design allow it to minimize resistance from air?