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Why run anticlockwise?

Updated: 9/27/2023
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14y ago

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Track Direction Most races (be it humans, machines or animals) on a circular or oval track run in a counterclockwise direction. The exceptions being the Australian version of NASCAR (AUSCAR) and some European horse tracks. The reason for the counter clockwise direction for some sport like NASCAR is fairly obvious. Since the driver is on the left side of the car (in this country at least) driving counterclockwise provides a lot of physical advantages: drivers are shielded from the wall on banked turns, they have better visibility on the left side of the car where most people pass and the position of the driver is conducive to the effect of centrifical force. Since the boys from down under have the steering wheel on the right side of the car it only makes sense that they would drive clockwise. Life, liberty and the pursuit of win, place and show In the case of American horse racing the reason has less to do with physics and much more to do with politics. In 1780, the first circular US race track was established by William Whitley near his home in Lincoln County, Kentucky. A staunch supporter of the Revolution, Whitley insisted that horses race counterclockwise, as opposed to clockwise as was the custom at the time in England. While some race tracks were slow to adapt (Belmont racetrack in NY actually ran clockwise until 1921), now all racetracks in the US follow Whitney�s patriotic tradition. God bless America and the Kentucky Derby! That explains NASCAR and horse racing, but what about all the other forms of racing: Track and Field, speed skating, cycling, roller derby, dog racing and Ancient Chariot racing. While there does not appear to be any logical reason for the counterclockwise rotation of these events, there is definitely not a lack of theories. Most however are a crock- Nature is Left-handed "We run counterclockwise because everything in nature tends towards counterclockwise motion" The list of natural phenominium that run counterclockwise is quite impressive. It includes: the molecule structure of amino acids, the shape of seashells, the rotational direction of all the planets (except Venus), and the orbital direction of the earth around the sun. The list of man made events is even more interesting. Carrousels, windmills (except in Ireland), revolving doors, cable operated airplanes, the usual direction in which people spin Hula Hoops, the running track in Central park, most washer and dryer, baseball runners and Elvis' hips all move counterclockwise. Pretty interesting stuff, but what does it all mean. Is counterclockwise motion the default direction for everything in the universe? No, not really. Number one, there are many things that move clockwise: phonographs, CDs, Monopoly board pieces, playing cards, the formation of sugar molecules, door knobs, pencil sharpeners, most can openers and Rick Martin�s hips. Number two, the directional spin of an object all depends upon your frame of reference. For example, the earth rotates clockwise if viewed from the south pole. Politics aside, your choice of the Northern or Southern Hemisphere as your frame of reference is purely arbitrary. Therefore, in the illustrious words of Jessie Jackson, the question is moot. Finally, what in the world do amino acids and Elvis� hips have to do with the roller derby Track Direction Most races (be it humans, machines or animals) on a circular or oval track run in a counterclockwise direction. The exceptions being the Australian version of NASCAR (AUSCAR) and some European horse tracks. The reason for the counter clockwise direction for some sport like NASCAR is fairly obvious. Since the driver is on the left side of the car (in this country at least) driving counterclockwise provides a lot of physical advantages: drivers are shielded from the wall on banked turns, they have better visibility on the left side of the car where most people pass and the position of the driver is conducive to the effect of centrifical force. Since the boys from down under have the steering wheel on the right side of the car it only makes sense that they would drive clockwise. Life, liberty and the pursuit of win, place and show In the case of American horse racing the reason has less to do with physics and much more to do with politics. In 1780, the first circular US race track was established by William Whitley near his home in Lincoln County, Kentucky. A staunch supporter of the Revolution, Whitley insisted that horses race counterclockwise, as opposed to clockwise as was the custom at the time in England. While some race tracks were slow to adapt (Belmont racetrack in NY actually ran clockwise until 1921), now all racetracks in the US follow Whitney�s patriotic tradition. God bless America and the Kentucky Derby! That explains NASCAR and horse racing, but what about all the other forms of racing: track and field, speed skating, cycling, roller derby, dog racing and Ancient Chariot Racing. While there does not appear to be any logical reason for the counterclockwise rotation of these events, there is definitely not a lack of theories. Most however are a crock- Nature is Left-handed "We run counterclockwise because everything in nature tends towards counterclockwise motion" The list of natural phenominium that run counterclockwise is quite impressive. It includes: the molecule structure of amino acids, the shape of seashells, the rotational direction of all the planets (except Venus), and the orbital direction of the earth around the sun. The list of man made events is even more interesting. Carrousels, windmills (except in Ireland), revolving doors, cable operated airplanes, the usual direction in which people spin Hula Hoops, the running track in Central park, most washer and dryer, baseball runners and Elvis' hips all move counterclockwise. Pretty interesting stuff, but what does it all mean. Is counterclockwise motion the default direction for everything in the universe? No, not really. Number one, there are many things that move clockwise: phonographs, CDs, Monopoly board pieces, playing cards, the formation of sugar molecules, door knobs, pencil sharpeners, most can openers and Rick Martin�s hips. Number two, the directional spin of an object all depends upon your frame of reference. For example, the earth rotates clockwise if viewed from the south pole. Politics aside, your choice of the Northern or Southern hemisphere as your frame of reference is purely arbitrary. Therefore, in the illustrious words of Jessie Jackson, the question is moot. Finally, what in the world do amino acids and Elvis� hips have to do with the roller derby

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14y ago
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11y ago

Horses tend to take longer strides with their right legs which is why race tracks are run counter clockwise.

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