08. Strickler also modifies the brake pads before they go inside the calipers. His crew uses a grinder to chamfer all the edges to keep one from catching and creating a brief spike in braking pressure. Water can sometimes also deteriorate the binding agent used in some brake pads, so Strickler always removes all the brake pads before cleaning his car.
09. Rules also normally require a stock style rotor, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck using OEM replacement parts when it comes to brakes. Tom Sandal of Carolina Racing Supply helped Strickler find these hybrid rotors from Afco. They are still legal but combine a strong Pinto-style spindle with a rotor that still fits the GM caliper. The result is a brake rotor that’s both lighter and stronger.
10. Here’s an interesting trick. All the Heim joints on the car are protected from dirt and grit by these Heim boots that are provided by Wolf-Pack Racing, a company Strickler works with consulting for Dirt Late Model race teams. By protecting the Heim joint from track grit, Strickler’s team normally goes eight races before having to disassemble and clean all the suspension pivot points. That’s time that can be spent on other areas of the car.
11. Before installing the Heim boots Strickler coats the Heims with a quality moly-based grease. This provides good lubrication for the eight weeks the Heims will go before seeing service again.
12. Carolina Racing Supply offers these brake lines that have a special coating over the usual steel braid. These have a fake carbon-fiber weave to them, but that’s just for looks. The real purpose is to provide a little extra abrasion resistance in a tough racing environment. The coating also creates a smoother exterior than the steel weave, so dirt and grease are easier to clean off.
13. Stock style rubber bushings create compliance in your suspension. When the race car is at speed on the track, the softer bushings will deform and change the wheel’s positions from what you worked so hard to precisely dial in at the shop. These lower control arm bushings from Afco use a harder nylon sleeve with a durable steel housing. They are also greasable. Besides lasting longer, the combination doesn’t deform under load and provides smoother suspension movement.
14. If you aren’t familiar with this setup trick, it may at first look like Strickler is running two upper bars to the birdcage on the rearend. But the bar in the foreground actually attaches to the brake floater. The idea is to keep the brake caliper at the ideal position relative to the rearend instead of rotating with it. When the brake caliper is at approximately the 4 o’clock position and the brakes are applied, the force attempts to pick up the left-rear corner of the car. This helps get the chassis in the proper attitude for turn entry.
15. With the engine out of the car it is easy to see how the steering shaft is routed. Strickler prefers not to run a steering quickener of any type. Instead, he runs a fast 6:1 steering box. He also keeps the shaft as straight as possible—as you can see here—to keep as much movement out of the universal joint as he can. He says this helps provide the driver with a better feel for what is going between the track and the front tires.