The perfect solution to the...
The perfect solution to the problem of stock upper control arms and mounts would be to allow installation of upright mount plates instead of the stock mounts so the camber and caster could be set quickly and accurately. This involves minimal time and money and would be well worth the effort.
All we would need to do to improve the front geometry is to change the angles of the upper, and to a lesser extent, the lower control arms. We can easily do this, if allowed to, by installing one or more of the following: aftermarket upper control arms, aftermarket adjustable inner mounts, and adjustable-height ball joints. These parts aren't very expensive and from our experience would do wonders for the handling of the cars if properly mounted.
Another area where the Stock class racer needs to make adjustments is in weight distribution. If the teams were allowed to install weight jackers, the weight distribution would be easy to adjust. We all know that some racers install spacers above the springs to dial in the crossweight, so why not just let them make it a little easier by using screw-style weight jackers.
In the grand scheme of things, the Stock class is often a training ground for inexperienced teams to use to learn how to set up a race car. Why not provide the tools they need to make the necessary setup changes to those cars so that when the time comes to move up in class, the learning curve will be much shorter.
If racers were allowed to...
If racers were allowed to install weight jackers, a lot of time and effort would be saved. The team could dial in the handling balance more easily as track conditions change. This team installed adjuster rings, but kept the intent of the rules by welding the ring and making it a solid spacer after adjusting to the correct weight distribution.
What We Preach
In the pages of Circle Track, we preach the importance of proper Moment Center design, and other geometry considerations and a steering system that doesn't produce excess or deficient toe in the turns. We tell the racers how to accomplish those ends in a very detailed way. The problem we have is that all of that knowledge makes for a very frustrated Stock class racer when he can't do anything about how his car is designed
It was far easier when these guys didn't know any better and just went along with the way it was. Unfortunately, that has all changed. Imagine knowing that there's a cure for a certain illness, and that it's fairly cheap to buy that cure, but you're not allowed to use it. This is what the Stock class racers have been going through.
In many cases, the racers take it upon themselves to bend the rules in their favor. I know of one team that made what seemed like minor changes to the front suspension and it made a world of difference in how the car handled. They simply cut off the upper mounts and lowered them. In the process, they repositioned them so that they had the proper caster split and cambers on each side of the car.
They also installed ball joints with longer shafts to increase the upper arm angles and take angle out of the lower arms. The upper arms were cut and rewelded to provide more clearance for the ball-joint shaft, too. This work involved mostly labor and the only cost was for new ball joints. The old ball joints needed replacement anyhow, so there were really no additional costs, only labor and some welding.
The good and the bad. I like...
The good and the bad. I like the placement of the ballast to the front of the rear end as shown by the yellow painted lead. I don't like the placement of ballast behind the rearend along the rear bumper. This is a terrible place to put lead and will hurt your performance.
The result of those changes was a better Moment Center location that made the front end more efficient and allowed the car to turn better. The steering felt better due to the caster split and the tires had more grip due to the cambers being correct. The driver, a veteran of more than 20 years on the dirt, said it was the best handling car he had ever driven. The whole process took less than four hours.
Promoters Take Note
I really believe that the majority of promoters want better competition and more car count for each division that races at their tracks. Therefore, it shouldn't be hard to convince them that allowing these simple changes would benefit everyone involved-racers, fans, and owners. Sometimes the resistance we see is just a matter of the officials not knowing exactly what the racer is up to when they see a deviation from the rules.