We get going along and have worked hard trying to present the most up to date racing tech available to our readers over the years. And I feel that with my travels and my constant communication with the racers across the country and abroad, as well as our use of industry experts as contributors, we do a very good job most of the time. What gets lost in that endeavor is teaching the basic setup information.
What made me think of that was having a few recent encounters with race teams, some of them at the top of their game in their respective regions who, once I dug into their settings, were off on some of the most basic things they should be concerned with.
It's really like the tunnel vision thing. We all get that at times and we concentrate so hard on making our cars better that we forget to keep the basic stuff in order. On top of that, I feel like there are new discoveries in methodology and equipment all of the time and to readdress seemingly simple routines is the right thing to do.
I know that I learn from the racers I encounter maybe how to do certain processes better than I have done them in the past. I have spoken many times in CT about those routines and offered what I believe are the best ways to accomplish them. But that's not to say that I don't find a better way at times, I do.
Assumptions can be dangerous and I admit to assuming that our readers know most or all of the basics. That is not fair to the newer members of our sport. How could they?
So, my job is to pass that knowledge, new or refined as it might be, on to you. That way I make good use of my experiences and we all get ahead a little further. Even things I spoke of when I first started writing for CT that are now some 5 or 10 years past bear repeating to those who might have forgotten and those who have recently come along and aren't aware.
So, I am going back to basics in the next several months to re-present certain setup routines that represent the very foundation of all good setups while trying to interject small parts and pieces that I have come to know since they were last presented. And, I'll try to be more complete in my explanations.
And don't for a minute think that in this day and age with the new types of setups that these basics don't apply any more. They certainly do, and in some cases become even more critical. The basic parts of chassis setup and alignment will never become obsolete.
If you see a title for an article that looks like one you've seen before or that represents knowledge that you already have, please take the time to read the new ones because I promise it might have just one or two tidbits within that you weren't aware of. And I'll try not to assume anything in the process.
If you have comments or questions about this or anything racing related, send them to my email address: Bob.Bolles@sorc.com, or mail can be sent to Circle Track, Senior Tech Editor, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.
Response to Hubris Email
There are two things on my mind at this point. One: We just completed a meeting with our fellow members of OTRO and touched on the very subject in the January issue of Circle Track. In the meeting we emphasized that, "Once the statement is made, it can never be recalled, and that no matter how sincere the apology, the words will not be forgotten, and once the deed is done, no matter how hard you try to make restitution, the memory of the act remains. So, think before you say or do something, and if it's not positive, don't say or do it."
Two: Having had the pleasure of meeting and talking with you face to face, I find that you are one of the most personable and knowledgeable people I have ever met. I'm sorry that Mr. Mansfield did not have the opportunity to converse with you on a one-to-one basis, as he would have quickly found out how much in error he was. This is especially true when he commits the offense he charges you with.
Have no fear, my subscription to Circle Track will remain in effect as long as I can see and breathe.
—Vic Bridges, President, Old Time Racers of Oregon (OTRO)
Thanks for the kind words. One of the problems with the internet and writing in general is that ideas and intentions get misinterpreted sometimes. What we mean to say and the intent behind it is not as easily portrayed as when we are talking face to face.
I usually try to find the most positive meaning to what is written in emails and in articles I read. Some people look for the negative side, even if it's not there or readily apparent. And that is unfortunate because they may miss an important point that is trying to be made.
I'm not here to change human nature, but I can offer a suggestion to anyone who cares to listen. If we try to look for the positive in anything we see or hear, we end up being much happier in the long run and the world around us becomes much more pleasant. And that's all I have to say on that subject.
Change In Track Width
I had a question on race car track width. Our cars run a fabricated front clip based on a GM metric chassis. In the past we ran Pinto spindles, which give a width of 78 inches from outside of tire to tire (tires and rims were 10 inches wide). Now the track let us go to Sweet aftermarket spindles and hubs, which makes the car 82 inches wide. We then had to switch the tires to harder 9-inch wides, but they made us use the same 10-inch wheel! Sounds crazy!
The big problem now is the racing is terrible! You just can't pass anymore. You can't even think about putting the car on the outside, you just push up and then start sliding around in the marbles. This is a problem with all the teams at the track.
Would it make more sense to go back to the 78-inch-wide setup to get more weight transfer? Is there truly a benefit to having the car 82 inches wide? Plus, it seems like the front roll center is lower with the Pinto spindles.