For any organization or magazine, history has its place in understanding its importance. Hopefully, the future is built on what has come before and there needs to be a growth to the endeavor. With CT, we have been here for more than 30 years and have become known for our in-depth research into the technical side of racing.
I used to read CT back in the late '80s and early '90s and attended the early CT Trade Show in Daytona Beach where I'd drool over the many race parts and cars that were displayed there. I'm not sure if we were the first trade show, probably not, but we did advance the concept by seizing the opportunity to reach racers who came to this town during February for the annual races during Speed Weeks.
It's not really like that anymore. Sure, a few teams come to compete at the local short tracks, but the interest in the races at Daytona is all but gone. Why is that? The answer might lie somewhere in the separation between what the NASCAR and ARCA teams do and what the average short track racer does.
That is precisely why we don't chase after those series in a technical way. We do acknowledge them and reference those who make the transition to the upper class and definitely more expensive forms of stock car racing. And, there are times when the technology crosses over, very few times. Like when safety advancements are moved along and endorsed by the larger sanctions.
Other similarities include the move to more stock appearing bodies like we see in NASCAR now. On that subject, the title of our Jan. '10 issue was “Back to the Future” and featured a photo of Bobby Wilberg's “Challenger of Tomorrow,” a car that he put together himself. Did we pioneer the move in that direction taking advantage of Bobby's wisdom? And the latest news is that the NASCAR will now allow its teams to run bump springs. In the July '12 issue of CT, we tested the precursor to the bump springs using the Hyperco carbon-fiber bellows springs and proved that running on bumps that are real springs is an advantage.
I know it sounds like I'm patting ourselves on the back, but that's not my intent. What I am saying is that we are determined to continue to try to influence the industry in a positive way and you, the racer help us to do that. We didn't build Bobby Wilberg's car or even have the idea first, we just recognized a good thing when we saw it.
Many racers have experimented with using springs as bumps long before our article and subsequent testing. We just recognized a good thing. What we do is keep our finger on the pulse of the industry, look for new and better technology, and then offer it up to the masses. You guys get it most of the time. And that makes us happy.
What is the next new thing? Oh, I don't know, maybe production race cars that are affordable and sold on credit and paid off over a period of time? Or maybe a spec engine rule based on the popular and readily available newer aluminum FI engines where you can run either a carburetor or FI. The old cast-iron junk yard blocks are getting scarce.
How about a weight advantage for building your own motor? We could reward those who choose to put forth the effort to build their race motors at home or at the race shop. These motors could be mandated to certain specifications so that there would be parity among those in the same class. I'd really like to see that.
At any rate, now that I'm a part of CT, it is mine and Editor Fisher's job to make sure the tradition continues and that when you get your new copy of CT that it contains cutting edge technology and content that drives the industry forward whether it's our ideas or yours. After all, it's not important who comes up with a great idea, it's important that we share those ideas in order to move our sport forward.
If you have comments or questions about this or anything racing related, send them to my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail can be sent to Circle Track, Senior Tech Editor, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.
Rental Race Cars
I'm Danny Partelo of Dan Partelo Race Cars, Inc. located in Pinellas Park, Florida. I was reading the story you wrote about racing needing a bridge for new comers and youngsters moving up from karts (“Track Tech Q&A,” May '14). Well, I feel the same way about our sport. It has a tendency to chew up new comers and spit them out never to return because people see them coming from a mile away.
So when my partner and I were laid off in June, we started an entry-level rental program that would be economincal enough that the average working man could afford to rent a competitive race car! Since we just started out, I'm sure you haven't heard of us yet. The title that I gave the company (when seen on the race cars) is www.rentthisracecar.com.
I was hoping that the marketing would kind of write itself from there. We currently have four Mini Stocks completed, one Chump car, and one Super Late Model. We're working on three more Chump cars, one Street Stock, one Pro Truck, and an Open Wheel Modified. I have all these cars in stock and they are being prepared for rentals at this time.
Also, we are a full service race shop. So time has been tough to manage getting all our projects to completion. If there is anything we can do for you—photos, or more—please don't hesitate to call or drop by. Check out our website for more info on how our programs work and pricing.
You can also find us on Facebook! My partners are: Rob Partelo and Todd Blevins and I think you'll be pleased with what we're trying to do for our sport! I know you're very busy, but if you have some time to review our sites and programs, we would love your feedback! Thanks so much for your time and we hope to hear from you soon!
Thanks for writing to us. On the surface, this appears to be an ad for your business, but I see much more in this that would be good for our readership. First off, it shows that getting laid off from your job doesn't need to be the end of the road, many times it is an open door for more opportunity. You guys have definitely seen opportunity here in the racing world.
For others around the world, this model could easily be copied in their area. There are many want-to-be racers out there who are just not able to spend the required money to not only purchase a race car, but also buy all of the required tools and other things that go with that, and/or don't have the talent or time to do so.
I can see where an existing team who has built up the inventory of necessary equipment to run a race shop and has built their car for the season, or future seasons, usually ends up with those tools just sitting idle. Why not build another one or more race cars and rent them out. This could just possibly pay for your racing, or at worst, cut your costs considerably.
Then there is the team concept. You could become a multi-car team with paying drivers who compete against other teams, to where not only do the drivers win, but the whole team wins races and championships.
Racers are competitive and I have seen this done a few times while on the road for the CT Tour. It mostly happens with the four-cylinder stock classes, but why not for the other classes? We'll be checking out these guys and following up on their progress in their new business.
Moment Center Location Designation
Quick question: Is the moment center lateral location indicated by a positive or negative measure of inches? Does a positive measurement indicate right or left of the centerline? I apologize if this is mentioned somewhere, or should be obvious, but I don't see it. Thanks.
When we speak of the moment center's location, we refer to negative as left of centerline for the lateral location and below ground for the vertical location. Then, a positive number would be right of centerline and above ground.
I'm not sure what the industry norm is for those designations, but we locked into those depictions and we'll stay there. Also, we always show a driver's view of the front and back end of the car. That way, a left view is the left side of the car and telling the story is less confusing. I have seen some depictions where the view is looking at the front of the car. To me that is confusing and unnecessary. I like it simple.
Metric Car at East Bay
I'm building a Street Stock/“V8 Warrior” metric car to run at East Bay. I'm sure you are pretty familiar with that track. I just wondered if you have any setup thoughts or advice that might be specific to that track? Any help would be much appreciated.
East Bay tends to be higher banked than many dirt tracks and also has more grip due to the material it is made of. It tends to hold moisture. So, your car will go faster through the turns and generate more lateral g-forces.
That one element of dirt tracks, varying g-forces due to varying grip conditions, is why dirt racing setup is so difficult. How many times have we heard a racer say he/she ran off with the heat race, but sucked in the feature. It is primarily because the track surface changed and the grip was not the same.
I just had this conversation with a guy from Georgia who races at East Alabama. I get the idea that EA is similar to East Bay when I hear him describe the way it is configured and the grip it has. His car did the same thing I mentioned, ran off and left the competition in the heats and then did not do as well in the feature.
What happened to them was the track was watered and actually got faster for the feature race. His car was setup for a more slick surface and was tight once the track gained grip. For EB, run a stiffer right rear spring than you would run at a flatter and slicker track. Be ready to change springs if the track goes slick if you start out setup for a tight track.
Usually, with the high rear Moment Center in the metric cars, the rear spring split is 50 lb/in with the right rear softer. But for high grip tracks, this might need to be reduced to only 25 lb/in split. So, you might use a 225 LR spring and a 175 RR spring for slick tracks and maybe a 225/200 or similar for a tacky track.
FWD Verses RWD at Kingsport Speedway
I have been getting your magazine for 15 years and I want to build my first race car at age 63. I will run at Kingsport Speedway in Tennessee, owned by Robert Presley. Is front- or rear-wheel-drive better than the other? Also, if you were building, what car would you choose? The class is the Pure 4 division. I can tell some of these cars are not completely stock. I just wanted to start on the right car. The track is a 3/8-mile with one long turn and one tight and is medium banked.
If I had the choice, I would prefer a rear-wheel-drive car. That is not to say that many teams have made the front wheel drive cars work, and work well. But head to head, when I was on Tour, I usually saw the RWD cars dominate the FWD where they raced together.
Granted, it's getting much harder to find a RWD four-cylinder car these days. Most manufacturers have gone to FWD and so we need to get used to seeing those cars race in the more affordable classes. As for CT, we could be accused of being late to that party due to our lack of tech pointed toward setup for the FWD cars. We probably need to work on that.
Gentleman's Rule Comments
On the Gentleman's Rule, most of the time the track officials or flag man do not know just who is the actual perpetrator of an on track altercation. So, everyone goes to the back and this is very frustrating when you didn't cause the yellow flag to come out. This can be a factor in the car count at the track and also on the head count in the stands. Each car on the track does have fans up in the stands.
It's in the best interest of the track promoter to adopt the GR. And peer pressure makes it work, but not in every case. For a person to tap out, or admit that he caused the episode and go to the back is being a sportsman. If he can work his way back up in the pack, this is being a gentleman. The fact is, the drivers do like this GR.
And all it takes is for the track promoter to announce it at the drivers' pit meeting and for the officials to follow the GR. They usually do if a driver taps out around here. We have the Wissota 100 here in Huron, South Dakota, and this last year we had a number of drivers tap out. It made the races go smoother, plus the drivers and fans like it. We are going to see more of the GR I believe.
—Daniel P. Horn
I think you are right. This needs to catch on across the country. Where it has been used, it definitely works. I think it brings some integrity back into the sport where it may have been lacking in certain areas. I would like to get more reports from racers about the use of the GR in your area. Please write to me and tell me how it is working for you.