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.
What might have changed is the roll/moment center location between the two spindles. That's not to say one is better than the other, you just need to evaluate the new arm angles, both upper and lower, with the change to the Sweet spindles. It could be that with your car, the new spindles caused a change in the MC and made the front end stiffer. Going back to the previous spindles will tell you if that is the problem.
Another thing, using 9-inch tires on 10-inch rims causes the tire to not have a full footprint when using the same tire pressures. You might try reading the tire temps and if the middles are cooler (like I suspect they might be) then add a pound or two to each tire to get the middle to have better contact. As you move the sidewalls out with the wider wheels, the middle will bend inward towards the axle or spindle pin. More pressure will push the middle of the tire out and compensate for that.
I have a feeling that the Sweet spindles will be better in the long run than the Pinto spindles for strength and design. Try to work with your arm angles using the Sweet spindles and improve your moment center design to get the car to turn better. Generally speaking, the lower arms should be at or less than 2 degrees and the right upper arm should be at or above 12 degrees with the left upper arm more than the right one by 5 or 6 degrees.
British F2 Stock Cars
We subscribe to Circle Track magazine from the UK in the digital format. We race British F2 stockcars (www.briscaf2.com). As a background, we race on asphalt 1/4-mile left-turn tracks without banking. The cars have a minimum weight of 640 kg and about 170 bhp. We run13-inch wheels of 5.5j on front and 8 or 9j on rear. The main chassis rails are at 410 mm.
My question is this: We are currently building a new car and wonder if there is an advantage in building the front right suspension with antidive and the front left with the opposite (i.e. geometry that promotes dive)?
Our thinking is that this will help the car turn in on braking into bends and straighten it on acceleration. Is our thinking logical and do you think it would work? Are there any downsides?
I know about your cars and how they are setup. I have been conversing with a couple of teams running F2 in the Netherlands for a few years now. The method of introducing pro-dive to the left front is something that is done in the U.S. by asphalt Late Model racers to get the LF to come down onto the bumpstops quickly for those types of setups.
I see no advantage for you to do that. What will happen for you and your setups is that the pro-dive will tend to reduce loading on the LF on entry braking and possibly cause the car to push, which is the opposite of what you are looking for.
The use of antidive is advisable because it reduces frontend travel under heavy braking and therefore reduces sudden camber change associated with chassis dive. We usually use about half the antidive on the LF as we have on the RF. And remember that the upper arm mounting angle, as viewed from the side, is much more influential for antidive than the sideview angle of the lower mounts.
Thoughts For Short Track Promotion
I thought that maybe as racers and fans alike, we should start off by doing small things in order to educate people about our sport. I'm amazed at how many people have no clue what we are talking about when we mention the different series involved in dirt track racing (i.e.; Hornet, Street Stock, Late Model, Sprint, and more).
For example, one time I was at my barber shop and Tony Stewart was on TV leading a NASCAR race. There were about 12 or so people watching the race. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to talk about how Tony Stewart is a great driver in a Dirt Late Model or Dirt Sprint car. Sad to say, not one person knew what I was talking about.
I tried to explain what a Dirt Late Model and Dirt Sprint car are and no one got it. Thus, I think if the magazine could do something simple such as add a poster with each monthly magazine, that would allow us to do things such as have the poster put up at our barber shop (salon, for the ladies) and it would be a conversation starter and help give us the opportunity to talk with people about our sport.
Actually having an image for people to see while we explain/educate would help them better understand what we are talking about. My barber already stated that he would be willing to hang a poster in his shop. I know I would be able to hang one in my break room at work and a friend of mine who owns a Sunoco gas station is willing to hang one on the front glass of the store.
This is just an example of things we could be doing to help our sport. I personally would be willing to pay extra for my subscription if it included a high-quality poster with each issue so that I would be able to get the posters out in the public eye.
You just might have a good point there. I know even in our local newspaper in none other than Daytona Beach, Florida, there has historically been little if any mention about the local short tracks. New Smyrna Speedway recently went with the NASCAR sanctioning, and since NASCAR is located here, all of a sudden, we get NSS coverage.
Most newspapers that are located near where there are short tracks do not support those tracks. We need to find out why. It might be the promoters who don't entice the local sports reporters to pay attention to the racing. Many local businesses support local racing and those same entities are potential advertisers in the newspapers.
When the local papers and television stations come to understand that their support for the racing might just translate into revenue from advertising, we might then see more attention paid to the sport called stock car racing. Let's get busy getting the word out.
I'm amazed at how many people have no clue what we are talking about when we mention the different series involved in dirt track racing (i.e.; Hornet, Street Stock, Late Model, Sprint, and more)