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Department of Kinesiology

Spartan Motorsport Performance Lab


Current Projects

F1 Driver Development

How exercise training during key windows of childhood development can influence future performance in the sport.  This is because the majority of race car drivers begin their racing career at age 6, with limited data on how best to prepare children for a career in racing it is necessary to document the current level of fitness and assess proper methods to engage children in this unique sport.


Female Racecar Drivers

To understand the unique physical challenges women face in the racecar and how their physiology could actually make them better racecar drivers. A recent article stated woman cannon be racecar drivers because their core temperature will get too high in the car. We are documenting core temperature responses in men and woman across all racing leagues.


Eye-tracking in Dyslexic Racecar Drivers

The investigation into how drivers with dyslexia appear to have increased performance on the track.  In an interesting observation it was noted that some of the most successful racecar drivers of all time have been diagnosed with dyslexia. Through my collaboration with Dr. Karl Erickson we are interested in understanding how this condition affects performance and could also be a tool to increase learning in all individuals with dyslexia.

Nutrition for Racecar Drivers

Working with Unit Nutrition and CJ Wilson Racing we are documenting the physiological responses to racing and developing novel nutrient and fluid replacement plans to optimize driver performance.


Human Performance of Racecar Drivers

We are documenting the human performance variables for drivers competing in NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 and IMSA racing leagues



Ferguson, DP, Davis, A, Lightfoot, J.T. Optimizing the Physical Conditioning of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pit Crew Athlete. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Mar;29(3):567-77 View Article


Carlson, L, Ferguson, DP, Kenefick, RW, Cheuvront, SN. Thermoregulatory and Physiological Responses of Stock Car Drivers During Competitive Racing. J Therm Biol. 2014 Aug;44:20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 9. View Article


Ferguson, DP, Bowen, RS, and Lightfoot, JT.  Heart Rate and Core Temperature Responses of Elite Pit Crews During Automobile Races Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  2011; 25(8): p.2075 View Article