How do you make a race car go faster? For NASCAR teams, one of the only options is to attempt to concoct the perfect motor oil. With technology restricted across the sport, engineers can't tinker too much with the hardware, but better oil actually helps. The Wall Street Journal looks at a world of secret formulas and scientists known only by their first names—so competitors can't find and poach them.
"I don't want other teams trying to find out who these guys are," says the perfectly named Lake Speed Jr., who runs the oil program at Joe Gibbs Racing. With a $1 million yearly investment, the team has gained about 2% in horsepower in its cars' engines. That might sound like a paltry return, but in the spilt-second world of NASCAR, it's more than enough to make a difference.