We need to incorporate rear...
We need to incorporate rear steer in greater amounts to improve entry performance as well as take advantage of the aero affect of running the car at an angle (top view) to the oncoming air.
Install softer rebound left-side shocks and softer compression right-side shocks. Raise the moveable weight up and to the right side as much as possible for a 50-50 percent side-to-side weight distribution. Increase the Ackermann to 1 degree in 15 degrees of steering. The LF tire will be doing less work with these changes but should still be touching the ground, and the Ackermann will help it provide turning power.
Now we have come all the way to the most difficult conditions we will see in dirt track racing. We must get radical now, but not to the point of jacking the LF corner of the car off the ground. We need to maintain the downforce our car produces for corner speed, while providing some kind of bite off the corners.
HS: With the track going to full dry and slick conditions, we need to get more radical in our setup. We will now soften the LF spring to a 750, the RF spring to a 650, the RR spring to a 150, and move all of the moveable weight to the right side and higher up. We will take more air out of the tires, but not enough to cause them to roll over. We should soften the shock rates all around so that the "shock" to the tires will be reduced as the car transitions going into the turns and accelerates off the corner. Smooth driving is important now as any complete loss of grip in the front or rear tires will cause a great increase in the lap times. Soft driving seems slow, but the alternative is always slower.
LM: We definitely need to soften up the setup and introduce more rear steer to be able to negotiate the turns without causing the LF tire to be lifted completely off the track surface. When the LF is hiked up considerably, we lose any front downforce that we might have enjoyed, as a great deal of air comes under the raised LF spoiler and we lose most of our front grip. There is only one way to stop a severe pushy or loose car, and that is to lift off the throttle. We can observe cars that three-wheel off the turns and hear the throttle being cycled on and off.
The setup may look like this: LF = 350; RF = 325; LR = 185; RR = 150 (double the rear springs for the swing arm car); Panhard bar at 12 inches left.
We can introduce a lot of...
We can introduce a lot of rear steer, if needed, by positioning the left-side links in the four-bar car all the way to the top of the adjusting holes. We usually do not want the RR to steer because that is the driven wheel off the corners and needs to remain stable in its position fore and aft.
A more sideways driving style is sometimes helpful for mostly aerodynamic reasons. Putting the large, flat side of a Late Model into the wind has a pronounced effect on slowing the car and creating lateral lift. Lower pressure on the left side will provide a lateral force that counters the centrifugal force that is trying to take the car up to the wall. That is probably why rear steer (left tire forward) is sometimes so helpful. As the car rotates, it develops an aero force that acts like added traction. This effect can be taken to an extreme, and we never want to three-wheel the car in order to create the effect.
In our journey through a full day of dirt track racing at "Anywhere Speedway," we have purposely left out a number of setup variables such as fifth and sixth coil adjustments, gear changes, birdcage indexing, rear spring placement (front or rear of the axle tube), the decision to clamp or not to clamp, and others. Opinions will vary on these topics. Our intent was to provide some thoughts on making changes to the basic setup that might improve the car and make each phase better.
The key, again, is to be sure to make changes based on your track conditions related to your type of car. To run a single setup throughout the day is not going to get the job done in this day and age. Racers of all classes are getting smarter by the year, and getting to the front is a matter of staying on top of the most current technology. It's what racing is all about and it's all fun. If we had nothing to learn, we may as well go golfing-not.