We have offered articles on proper location for the MC in the past, but suffice it to say that the lateral location of the MC belongs somewhere near the centerline. We see good results on flatter and slicker tracks with it in a more left position from centerline. For higher-banked tracks and ones with more traction, we need for it to be somewhat right of the centerline, but not too far.

The height of the MC is a product of upper control arm angles mostly and the best height is directly related to the correct camber change design. Like we said, different setups require different control arm angles to minimize camber change. When we achieve a good camber change layout of the arm angles, the MC height will usually fall in somewhere above ground and below 4 inches. We never shoot for a particular height number as opposed to the defined numbers for lateral location for a particular application.

The point is, we now have the tools to know where the MC is located and to redesign our cars to improve on the MC design. There are several fine geometry software programs that will tell you where you are. If it takes a cutting torch and welder to get what you need, then so be it. I have taken brand-new cars, plenty of times, and just cut them up to relocate the pickup points on the frontend. Remember that once you buy your car, it is yours, not the car builder's. Do what is necessary to provide your team with what it takes to win.

The car builders have taken note of the above. Many cars today are designed so you can adjust the heights of the pickup points to fine-tune the MC. If the car builders have done their jobs, the MC should be close and will need minor tweaking to compensate for different track configurations as well as different setups.

Proper Steering System
A short-track steering system must have certain "qualities" in order for the car to track well and the driver to be able to comfortably drive the car the entire race. The way we look at frontend design has changed somewhat with our new view of chassis setup and design.

In the past, when teams ran un-balanced setups, the left front tire did very little work as evidenced by the cooler tire temperatures. The rear suspension "out rolled" the front suspension and excess load was then transferred to the RF tire in the turns. If we introduced Ackermann Effect (added toe when we turn the steering wheel left) to the front steering design, it did help make the LF tire work harder to help turn the car and that was fine for those times in racing history. The overall setup picture is much different now.

In both dirt and asphalt racing circles, we see more and more teams working to balance their setups. The dirt cars now keep the LF tire on the track through the turns. The asphalt teams are seeking a balanced conventional setup and many are opting for the big bar and softer springs setups. The large sway bars used in the BBSS setups force the LF tire to carry more load than ever before.

Since the LF tire is working harder, we must eliminate the Ackermann Effect. If we do not, the front tires will fight each other and both will lose traction. So, Ackermann is not needed when we start using the LF tire. Make sure when you improve your frontend geometry and balance your setup that you check for the presence of Ackermann and get rid of it if you have it.

Caster and Camber
Caster and camber split is not designed the same as in years past either. With the advent of power steering on a large scale, we need less overall caster and less split than was used in the past to help us turn the steering wheel. We now see caster in the 1-3 degree range, and with asphalt cars and the split is 2-3 degrees at most. On longer, banked tracks, the split is reduced even more.