There’s an urban myth floating about the world of Motorsport that NASCAR drivers wear diapers or catheters during the race in case they need to relieve themselves without having to waste precious time stopping to use the washroom. In this article, we’ll tell you whether or not NASCAR drivers do in fact wear diapers or a catheter, and how exactly drivers manage to keep racing around the track unrelieved for ages under punishing conditions.
NASCAR drivers do not wear diapers or catheters. It is instrumental that NASCAR drivers maintain proper levels of hydration in order to stay at peak performance, however, in a competition where every second counts, there is no time to stop to urinate or poop. Drivers must hold it in or go in their suit.
As a NASCAR driver, you are going to do everything in your power to ensure that a basic bodily function like needing to pee or poop doesn’t affect your performance or limit your likelihood of standing on the winner’s podium. Here we will outline how NASCAR drivers manage to not need to stop during their race to answer the call of nature.
Why Don’t NASCAR Drivers Wear Diapers or a Catheter During a Race?
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is a popular sport; in fact, the only sport in the USA with more fans than NASCAR is professional football. NASCAR is one of the world’s most widespread vehicle races and endorses over 1500 races on over 100 tracks. With millions of people watching, both in person and on television, the question often shyly whispered is “Do NASCAR drivers wear a diaper during the race?”
The Need to Urinate or Excrete
NASCAR drivers do not wear diapers, nor do they wear a catheter during a race simply because they generally do not have the urge to urinate or excrete.
Perspiration and careful planning are amongst the factors in limiting the driver’s need to pee and poop.
If the desire to urinate is overwhelming and disrupting the driver’s ability to concentrate, then at their discretion, they are able to relieve themselves directly onto their seat.
Sports scientists and team doctors ensure that a driver’s hydration is at the optimum level before, during, and after a NASCAR race that can be a grueling four hours in length.
If a driver becomes dehydrated, they can lose their ability to focus, which is not ideal when in charge of a vehicle that is circling a track at speeds of upwards of 200 miles per hour and in a car with nearly 900 horsepower and worth an estimated $150,000.
Many factors ensure that a NASCAR driver doesn’t need to wear diapers or a catheter, which we will elaborate on below.
Hydration and Fluids
NASCAR drivers carefully consider their hydration for days before a race. The food and drink which a driver ingests in the lead up to a race are thoroughly monitored, and the routine stays pretty much the same from race to race (or from year to year), to avoid any unforeseen disturbances.
For multiple days, drivers will drink gallons of liquids, ensuring that their body is as hydrated as possible.
Last-minute hydration on race day does very little for long term endurance, and the water will just be expelled in urine very quickly, meaning that not only will a driver probably need to pee during a race, but they also will dehydrate quicker.
NASCAR drivers start every race with an empty bladder. If you check out a NASCAR driver’s routine right before a race, you will likely find each one heading off to stand in line at the bathroom so that they can empty their bladder at the last moment.
Do you remember how many times your mother asked if you’ve gone to the bathroom before a long road trip? Now think about the fact that every NASCAR driver has a team of highly paid professionals ensuring that nothing that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Considering the team of people that ensure every possible step is taken care of, this rather trivial protocol is unlikely to waiver.
Internal Car Temperatures and Bodily Fluids
Keep in mind that during a race, the internal temperature of a stock car is extremely inhospitable. The interior temperature of a car is often 30-40 degrees hotter than the air outside.
There is no air-conditioning in the car and temperatures can range from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 170 degrees closer to the floorboards. As such, NASCAR drivers can lose up to ten pounds during the course of a race, almost entirely due to perspiration.
David Ragan spent 11 years in NASCAR Premier Division; like many drivers, he has often been asked the potentially embarrassing question of whether he wears a diaper during a race. “Generally, you sweat out so much you don’t have to go. In over 11 years of racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, I’ve never had to go to the bathroom bad enough to go,” he has stated.
A ventilation system is installed in the car, which blows air on the driver and the seat, but this only decreases the air temperature inside the car by about ten degrees. NASCAR drivers sweat so much due to the strenuous nature of the race and the ambient temperature, that there is little liquid left to enter the bladder.
NASCAR drivers often hydrate with sports drinks, which contain salts and electrolytes. In addition, drivers use salt tablets to avoid dehydration during extended times of exertion during a race.
Salt tablets and energy drinks have the added benefit of decreasing their need to urinate. Concentrating for long periods of time can lead to excessive sweating as driving at such a competitive level is physically very demanding.
If drivers become dehydrated, they can easily cramp up which would likely ruin their chances of completing the race, let alone winning.
Jimmie Johnson, six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, has admitted to the excruciating pain of full-body cramps after a particularly hot and exhausting race; due to dehydration he needed three full bags of IV liquids before he felt better.
A NASCAR driver’s suit is made from a fire-retardant material, which is meant to not only identify them but also protect them in the event of a crash or flash fire.
Conversely, diapers are generally made from an absorbent material which is also highly flammable. With vehicle fires ranging upwards in temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, it is unlikely that drivers will want any type of extremely flammable substance close to their rather delicate personal parts.
Sometimes if a person is unnaturally hot, and dealing with high levels of anxiety and stress, their body can speed up the passage of food through the intestines. If you ask any driver what they eat for the days leading up the race, it is unlikely to be a hot Indian Vindaloo or a spicy Mexican dish.
Moreover, food poisoning is not a condition that any driver, or their pit crew, wants to deal with on a hot day while having to drive around in circles for hours at a time.
NASCAR drivers will generally eat light, bland food before a race. Their food is meant to nourish and provide necessary calories for endurance rather than be a flavor explosion.
In the case of an unexpected bout of food poisoning, NASCAR drivers have been known to take Imodium or the like to avoid any unpleasant accidents while on the go.
- NASCAR drivers focus on long term hydration for days before a race
- NASCAR drivers empty their bladders right before the race
- NASCAR drivers sweat a lot during the race as temperature get up to 170 degrees F
- NASCAR drivers use sports drinks and salt tablets to maintain hydration
- NASCAR drivers want to wear anything flammable in case of a potential fire
- NASCAR drivers eat bland and light meals before a race
Does a NASCAR Driver Pee During a Race?
Drivers are often asked by reporters and fans what they do if nature calls during a race. When asked how many times a year he may have to go to the bathroom during a race, NASCAR’s most well-liked driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr (@DaleJr) was honest and tweeted in December 2014 “Once or twice A YEAR. When ya gotta go ya go.”
Earnhardt has gone on to say that “If you can’t hold it, you go.” Despite the disclosure, Earnhardt Jr. backtracks by saying that it is rare for a driver to urinate in the car due to the physical nature of the sport.
Urinating in a top of the range race car might not be a nice thought, but at times this might be the best option if you want to win.
NASCAR drivers do sometimes pee during a race. NASCAR drivers do not wear diapers so, if a NASCAR driver needs to pee during a race, then they go right in their suit and onto the seat. Every moment counts and a driver is not going to waste time stopping. However, drivers will rarely need to urinate during a race due to careful planning and excessive perspiration.
Imagine the extreme need to pee; it is highly distracting and NASCAR drivers cannot afford to get even a little bit distracted.
2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano believes “that efficiency combined with a large bladder definitely helps…. [though] I haven’t had to do that [pee in his car] in a few years.” Lucky for Lagano, he says that “I just store water. I’m like a camel – I never have to go to the bathroom. So, I don’t know, but for some, it’s not a good situation to be in.”
It appears that no driver wants to state the obvious, but if they need to pee, then they just act like a toddler and flood their seat. At least Earnhardt Jr makes light of this by saying that “it’s not a big deal.”
Brad Keselowski admits to needing to go in his car just once or twice during his career. However, he quickly back-pedals by saying that “Once you get the adrenaline going and sweating, you could go for hours; you could probably go for a day without having to go.”
It seems that every driver does it, but few drivers are willing to admit to it, and even when they do, a driver will put on caveats about their comments.
If you see a driver, or their teammates and pit crew, dowsing themselves with water or a bucket of Gatorade as they get out of their car after the race, it might just be to disguise the acrid smell of urine.
Not even the elation of winning the season-opening and arduous Daytona 500 would mask the embarrassment of smelling like a toilet. It is bad enough that NASCAR drivers and their cars smell like an old, sweaty gym locker by the end of the race.
You may also be interested in our article: 5 Reasons Why an F1 Car is Faster than a NASCAR
Do NASCAR Drivers Pee or Poop in their Suit?
There is no doubt that a NASCAR driver’s suit looks pretty cool. It is generally brightly colored and covered in sponsorship labels. Small children love to emulate their driving hero and dress up in costumes depicted as their favorite NASCAR racer.
Any parent knows that once you zip up your full cover-all suit, it isn’t easy to get out of it quickly to go to the bathroom. So, does a NASCAR driver pee or poop in their suit? It seems that this topic is often assumed, but rarely answered.
NASCAR drivers do pee in their race suits. Admittedly, peeing during a NASCAR race does not happen often, and it is not widely spoken about, but NASCAR drivers do pee in their race suits if the overwhelming urge to urinate arises.
They are not likely to lose a race just so that they don’t smell of urine at the end of it.
Sources have said that a NASCAR driver’s pants are specially equipped to absorb up to two quarts of urine. Bobby Ray Ellison has made this claim but it is more likely that the suits are made to absorb the excessive amounts of perspiration that a driver expels during the course of the race rather than for urine.
Drivers wear multiple several layers of insulated, fireproof clothing which generates a lot of heat but there is nothing built into the suit to specifically handle human waste.
Furthermore, NASCAR drivers do not poop in their suits as they will take a bathroom visit prior to the race, preparation is key.
With each race lasting between 3-4 hours, this is more than enough time between normal bowel functions to make it a non-issue.
Do NASCAR Drivers Eat and Drink During the Race?
Hydration and nutrition are instrumental to the fitness, strength, concentration and endurance of any athlete and a NASCAR driver is no different.
A NASCAR driver must be at least 200 pounds at the weigh-in, otherwise, weights are added to them to get up to this mass. A NASCAR driver may eat and/or drink during a race, but it is not easy to do so while driving at almost 200 miles per hour.
NASCAR drivers are required to maintain high levels of concentration for up to four hours at a time. Driving is extremely taxing on the body, and the hostile, high temperatures in the car result in drivers often losing up to ten pounds between the start and finish of a race. To maintain their strength and focus, some NASCAR drivers do eat and drink during the race.
Jimmy Johnson, seven-time NASCAR series champ, is sponsored by Gatorade and has an in-car drinking system that holds up to three litres of the liquid.
Many NASCAR vehicles are equipped with a drinking system, composed of a bag of fluid, a pump and a control which is on the steering wheel. A tube will connect to the driver through their helmet and supply necessary fluids upon demand.
However, every bit of weight in a car is carefully analyzed and pit crews want to limit weight as much as possible for the benefit of speed. This includes any additional weight added on by carrying water and food around the track.
Pit crews refill the driver’s drinking system during a pit stop, as drivers are known to drink up to four or five liters during a particularly scorching race.
Believe it or not, NASCAR drivers do not actually need a legal driver’s licence in order to drive in a NASCAR race. Considering some of their driving habits, this isn’t surprising.
In order to eat while driving, a NASCAR driver would need to not only keep driving but also get food underneath the fire-resistant sock that goes over their head and underneath their racing helmet.
This means that they might be ‘holding’ the steering wheel with their knees for a short while and thus they will want nutrition which is the least messy, and the easiest option. Some NASCAR drivers eat energy chews or glucose jells just to help maintain endurance and concentration.
Do Formula 1 Drivers Wear Diapers?
Whereas NASCAR is a marathon of a race, Formula 1 could be considered a sprint. Some NASCAR races, like the famous Daytona 500, often called ‘The Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing’, can be up to four hours in length.
Compare this to a Formula 1 race which is generally about an hour and a half to two hours. Both require extensive physical and mental endurance and conditioning from their drivers, and both races mean that a driver cannot stop to pee or poop, but do F1 drivers wear diapers?
Formula 1, or F1, drivers do not wear diapers (or at least do not openly admit to wearing them). In the same way, most adult humans do not require a diaper when they may not be able to use the bathroom for a 90-minute period, nor does an F1 driver.
In addition to the car itself, every aspect of a driver’s physical and mental well-being is closely monitored by a team of highly skilled professionals.
This includes ensuring that a driver does not lose any focus while on the track because they need to urinate.
Formula 1 six-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton was asked what happens when he can’t stop the race to run to the loo. Hamilton has been quoted in the UK’s The Mirror as saying, “You’re supposed to go in your suit, but I can’t do it. I’ve never done it. But there are drivers that do”.
Perhaps the pungent smell of urine is why the bottles of champagne are so big that they wash themselves down with on the winner podium?