It all comes down to trying to create better driver comfort and more consistency. If a jacked up setup causes us to make more mistakes than one that places all four tires on the track, speed being equal, then opt for the more consistent setup and you will gravitate to the front.

3. Steering Geometry
Dirt car steering systems must be designed to work the same in both left and right turn attitudes. Mechanical affects such as Ackermann could be more beneficial on dirt than on asphalt, but again only to a small degree.

The Ackermann must be developed in the design of the tie-rod angles from a top view and not differences in steering arm length. That way the wheels always keep the same toe or toe gain in equal amounts while turning right or left.

4. Alignment
Alignment issues present just as serious a drawback for a dirt car as with an asphalt car. There really is no reason to misalign the rearend. In tests we have participated in, we have run the same lap times with the car "sideways," due to excess rear steer, and when running it straight ahead with no rear steer.

I believe that the rearend does not need to be any different in alignment than at 90 degrees to the centerline of the chassis and/or to the right-side tire contact patches, and those patches need to be inline, even on dirt.

5. Setup Balance
Does a dirt car really need to be balanced? Of course it does. The balance, though, will need to be adjusted for the track conditions. If the track is tacky, then the balance needs to be more like what we would do for asphalt and that is to match the desires of the front and rear suspensions.

The term "balance" means that both ends of the car have the same tendency to roll. The truth about setup dynamics is that at mid-turn, each end will want to roll to its own degree of angle. The relationship between those desired angles will determine the balance of the car. On dirt we can manipulate that balance relationship to adjust the car to different conditions.

The setup for slick tracks is with a controlled difference in balance in the front to rear relationship with the rear desiring to roll more so than the front. This provides more rear traction to give us more bite off the corners. If our MC design is correct, the car should still turn through the middle, but have better traction off the slick corners.

6. Shocks
Research on shock influences on dirt have shown that there are a lot of gains to be had by concentrating on your shocks. This is evidenced by the influx of new designs of shocks into the dirt car market. The age old truth is that we need to perfect our setup first before working with the shocks.

Dirt cars show a lot of travel as they negotiate the four turns. This extreme degree of wheel travel means that shocks get to do more work than with other types of race cars. A shock does not have any influence if it is not moving.

Each corner of the car might need a different shock characteristic. The amount of difference is directly related to the installed motion ratio of the spring and the spring's rate and amount of motion. A very soft spring would need more compression rate and less rebound rate, whereas a stiff spring would need a lot of rebound rate and much less compression rate.

Shocks affect the motion of the corners of the car and therefore the placement of wheel loads during transitional periods, and dirt cars are almost always in transition. That is the essence of basic shock technology related to handling influences.

7. Brake Bias
Turn entry on dirt is important and dictates how well we are able to negotiate the middle of the turn. So, we need to evaluate our turn entry characteristics related to brake bias. We may want to try to solve turn entry problems with the brake bias on dirt.