Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about auto racing and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the hockey urban legends featured so far.
AUTO RACING URBAN LEGEND: Race car drivers perspire so much inside the car during a race that they have no need to urinate.
Race car drivers are in their cars for about three hours at a time during a race.
Since they are in there for so long, there is often the question of, “Well, what if they have to go to the bathroom during the race?”
And a particular answer has popped up – that the car inside is so hot that the drivers do not need to urinate because they perspire so much that it is unnecessary.
While there is definitely SOME truth to this, it is not entirely true.
First of all, yes, it IS very hot inside a race car (although, of course, over the years people have done as much as they can to make it as cool as possible for the drivers).
And yes, drivers DO perspire a whooooooooole lot. Heck, some drivers are known to lose five pounds during a race, just due to perspiration.
So yes, for the most part, all that perspiration alleviates the need to go to the bathroom.
However, it does not eliminate it entirely.
In fact, the biggest way that drivers avoid having to go to the bathroom during a race is the simplest way imaginable – they almost always go to the bathroom right before the race begins.
But even with that, drivers occasionally DO end up needing to go during the race, and in that case, drivers are known to just urinate while driving.
Crew chief Bootie Barker confirmed as much in a column for NASCAR.com a few years back.
So yeah, there definitely is a lot of truth in the notion that drivers perspire so much while driving that the need to urinate is alleviated, but a lot of folks think that it ELIMINATES the need, and it does not.
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org