Initially, we had to move some weight to the front to get a better front-to-rear percent, to around 52-53 percent rear, so we moved a 30 pound piece of lead from the back of the car to a point at mid-chassis and at around shoulder height next to the driver. This piece came from the rear bumper and should not have been located there for reasons of negative polar moment tendencies. We will talk more about that later.

5. Safety is a concern in any racecar, and we are doing an evaluation of this car along those lines. Bobby had a hard crash last season where he contacted the outside wall hitting on the driver's side. We are installing a better seat (his bent severely in the crash) and moving it farther to the right. We will install racing-quality padding on the roll bars, around the steering column, and beside his legs. He has also just purchased a new racing-approved Simpson helmet.

An up-to-date fire suppression system will be a part of our safety package too, along with making sure Bobby has properly dated approved seat belts, a sufficiently effective firesuit with racing shoes, and gloves.

As we go along, we will be reporting on our progress and providing details on what we do to the car and why. We will give you exact setup parameters as well as any decisions we make as to setup changes for track conditions. This will not be a generalized reporting, but rather one that tells all. Again, these setups and designs might not work for your car, but the directions we go will demonstrate how successful teams think and act.

We don't expect to always be right in our decisions. We will tell you when we do something that is not in the right direction. We all learn as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes. A change that does not produce the desired results still teaches us something.

From historical feedback over the past ten years, we have heard that the swing-arm cars, either Dirt Late Models or Dirt Modifieds, are usually very good on the tight and heavy tracks, but do not work as well on the dry slick tracks. We are going to see if we can design this car to work well under both conditions. Only after testing and racing will we really know if that is possible.

We will experiment with different components and spring combinations to try to compensate for changing conditions as we race at different tracks. We will develop a definitive plan of attack to meet the challenge of going from a wet and tacky track to one that is either sandy-dry slick or black-dry slick. We're going to tell you exactly what that plan is and why we are following it. Any changes we make to the plan will be documented and presented.

Along the way, we want your input, too. As we move through this project, please send along any comments and/or suggestions to us here at Circle Track. By the next issue, we should have the car all ready to race. We can't wait.