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A slow, 180-turn which exits in the opposite direction a driver enters.
Hairpin Turn
A hairpin turn is a sharp turn with a tight radius.
Frightening; originally short for "hair-raising."
Half Shaft
A rotating shaft that transmits power from the final drive unit (differential) to a power wheel. Used in independent rear suspension and front-wheel drive. Two are required; one for each side.
Special freon fire extinguisher. Generally a 3 percent to 5 percent conentration will extinguish fire.
Hammer Down
The driver has the pedal to the metal or has "dropped the hammer" full throttle.
Hand Crank
A crank handle for manually starting internal combustion engines. Used till about 1930. Now obsolete.
Hand Signals
Used by drivers to communicate with each other and race officials. See GCR. Also by race staff to communicate with drivers and other staff.
How the car behaves in corners, and how well it responds to changing track conditions. Changing a car's downforce, tires, front and/or rear wing settings, and suspension settings can alter handling.
Happy Hour
Slang term for the last official practice session held before a NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division race. Usually takes place the day before the race and after all qualifying sessions and support races have been staged.
Harmonic Balancer
An element used to reduce vibration in the crankshaft.
The safety belt system worn by a race driver. The basic racing harness is a "four-point" unit; it has four belt lengths that meet in the middle of the driver's pelvis. Two ponts form a conventional lap belt, same as in a passenger car; the other two go up the chest and over each of the driver's shoulders; unlike a passenger-car shoulder belt, they do not cross over the chest. In cars with a roll cage, they are fastened to a roll cage member behind the driver's seat. (In open-cockpit cars, such as Indy cars not having a roll cage, they are fastened to the part of the chassis structure behind the driver's seat.) The place where the four points meet has a one-lever disconnect that causes all four harness segments to unfasten simultaneously, for rapid bailout. Some series require a "five-point" harness, which adds a belt that goes through the crotch and the bottom of the seat; this prevents "submarining" (a term for when the driver slides out from under the lap belt in a high-speed frontal impact).
A passenger car with a full-height rear door that includes a rear window. Usually has a rear folding seat.
The 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig that NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division teams use to transport two race cars, engines, tools, and support equipment to the racetracks. Cars are stowed in the top section, while the bottom floor is used for work space.
A situation that may increase the probability of a loss or damage.
Head Room
The distance from the top of an occupant's head to the headliner.
Head Sock
A fireproof hood that covers the entire face (except eye holes), head, and neck. Usually worn under a full face helmet. Also referred to as a "balaclava".
Head Wrench
Slang term for a race team's crew chief.
Fine-tuned exhaust system that routes exhaust from the engine. Replaces conventional exhaust manifolds.
The interior covering of the roof. Headliners often contain consoles with slots for garage-door openers and other devices, as well as dome lights and wiring for electrical and electronic components attached to the headliner. The covering usually includes a sound-absorbing material.
A fire resistant head mask or balaclava.
A race before the main event.
Heat Race
A preliminary race to a feature. Heat races are generally short, taking 5-10 minutes to run. They serve to get both the cars and the fans warmed up for the feature, and sometimes the outcome of the heat races is used to determine the starting order of the feature.
Heating the Tires
Drivers often swerve their cars back and forth on warm up laps or during periods of caution. This causes the tire temperatures to increase giving the cars better traction. It also cleans any debris off of the tires that they may have picked up from the track.
Heel & Toe Downshifting
A technique of downshifting used to match engine speed with gearbox speeds, all the while continuing to brake. The sequence is: brake, then clutching, "blip" the throttle with the right side of the right foot; shift lever to lower gear, clutch out. Brake pedal pressure should remain constant during the entire sequence.
A driving technique in which the accelerator is operated with the right heel and the brake pedal with the toes of the right foot.
Helical Gear
A gear in which the teeth are cut at an angle to the shaft. The advantage is that there are usually two teeth meshing at all times, making for smoother and quieter operation.
Helicopter Tape
Used to cover and protect exposed areas from flying debris as helicopter technicians developed it to protect rotors.
Slang term for an engine with hemispherical combustion chambers which allow for larger and less shrouded valves. Used in many sports and racing cars.
Hemi Head
A hemispherically shaped combustion chamber at the top of the engine cylinder. The hemispheric shape provides improved efficiency because the forces of the explosion are directed to the piston by the curved surface of the combustion chamber.
High and Dry
When a racecar goes too high on the race track and loses one or more positions.
See Groove
Highway Loss Data Institute
Sister organization to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Funded by insurance companies.
Hip Room
The allotted room between a passenger's hips and any other part of the vehicle.
Hobby Stock
An entry level class of stock car racing.
Hold Harmless Agreement
An agreement where one party assumes responsibility.
Manufacturer refund to a dealer after a vehicle is sold. Usually a percentage of the MSRP.
Holding Up Traffic
When a slower race car causes cars running faster on the track to slow and does not heed the "move over flag" of the race officials.
Hole Shot
A drag racing term for beating an opponent off the starting line and winning a race despite having a slower elapsed time. Other racers use this term to describe a good start or restart.
In drag racing, a starting-line advantage achieved by the quicker-reacting driver.
Home Equity Loan
A loan secured by the equity in your home. Interest paid is usually tax-deductible. Increasingly, consumers are using home-equity loans instead of consumer loans to purchase items, such as cars, for which conventional-loan interest is not tax-deductible.
Home of the Cork Screw
The Laguna Seca (Calif.) racetrack, which has a turn famous for its shape and changes in elevation.
The removable or lift-up part of an auto body that covers the engine and allows access to it. (Bonnet in U.K.)
Hooked Up
A car that is performing great because all parts are "hooked up" or working well together.
Same as dialed-in.
Horsepower is a unit of measurement representing how much power an engine generates. More horsepower equals a faster car. Winston Cup cars have significantly more power, producing more than 750 horsepower. Busch cars generate 550 horsepower. You would think that a Winston Cup car goes faster, right? Not necessarily - a Busch car is 100 pounds lighter and the wheelbase is shorter, they reach speeds almost as high as the Winston Cup cars.
Horsepower (Hp)
The unit for measuring the power output of an engine. One horsepower is defined as lifting 33,000 pounds one foot per minute.
Horsepower (Hp, Bhp)
Abbreviated as hp, as in 200-hp engine, or bhp (brake horsepower or net horsepower) to designate power produced by an engine. In general, the higher the horsepower, the higher the vehicle's top speed. One horsepower is the power needed to lift a 550-pound weight one foot in one second.
Hot Dog Stand
When the driver hits everything out on the track except the hot dog stand.
Hot Lap
A car(s) is running at or near racing speed on the course.
Hot Pits
A car(s) is/are on the track. Only crew members and racing officials are allowed into the pits for safety reasons.
Hot Rod
A production auto that has been modified by the owner for outstanding speed and acceleration through extensive changes to the engine, chassis, and body.
Taking practice laps before the race begins.
Hotchkiss-Type Driveline
An open or exposed driveshaft assembly. The type of rear suspension in which the springs absorb the rear-end torque.
Quickest and winningest driver at a particular track.
Hung Out to Dry
When a racecar driver looses positions, after attempting to make a pass outside of a line of racecars in the draft, and other teams won't allow the racecar back in the draft. Mostly seen on superspeedways.
[1] A mechanical operation based on incompressibility of liquids, generally oil and sometimes water, and their ability to offer resistance when being forced into a small cylinder or through an orifice, thereby transmitting an increase in applied force. Hydraulic brakes and clutches use this principle.

[2] When a cylinder fills with too much fuel, thus prohibiting compression by the cylinder and causing a mechanical malfunction, usually an explosive one.
Hydraulic Valve Lifter
Valve lifter using hydraulic oil pressure to operate and capable of maintaining zero clearance between metal parts. Thus, valve noise and wear are considerably reduced as are the periodic valve adjustments.
Hypoid Gears
A type of differential final drive using a spiral bevel gear on the drive shaft, allowing it to be located below the center of the ring gear on the axle. This makes possible a lower floor in the car.
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