It’s that time of the year when I start to reflect on all that has transpired over the past twelve months. If I can get past Dec. 21 and the “End of the World” phenomenon (if you’re reading this, we did), I usually take off between Christmas and New Years. I’ve been doing that for more than 20 years now and it’s my regeneration period.

I know some of you might think that I already had plenty of vacation over the long, four-month, AMSOIL Great American CT Tour, but I put in more hours working during those travels than I have ever put in with any job. When on Tour, it’s like I’m always at work. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with the territory.

All in all, it’s been a very good year for many reasons. We see progress in several areas that we think are vital to not only the continuation of circle track racing as a sport, but things that may well help to grow the sport.

Hey, for one thing, the PRI and IMIS are now one and going to be situated in Indianapolis from now on. That’s a strong positive for the sport. Indy is so much easier for most racers to come to. Having two major trade shows was not going to work out for long anyhow. It seems like cooler heads prevailed.

We have recently heard of certain sanctions, as well as individual racetracks, requiring everyone who races to wear a head-and-neck restraint device. Due to near and real fatalities in 2012, it has been proven that you can die in a race car, any race car, if you don’t take the necessary precautions. If you don’t believe that, write to me and I’ll tell you how.

There seems to be a loosening of the tech rules as to the chassis and suspensions. I heard just yesterday that one track has foregone checking ride heights. Thank you. And more and more tracks and sanctions are allowing the new form bodies that more resemble stock cars. We plan on doing some testing of those bodies to see if there really is a difference in performance.

Personally, I have had the opportunity to talk with some very successful racers this year, both from my office chair by phone and while on the road. I’m very comfortable talking tech with these guys and they seem to be comfortable talking with me. I guess we speak the same language. When you start finishing sentences for each other, you know you’re there in the “understanding,” and “on the same page” departments.

The fuel injected motor push is going to reappear in the pages of CT too. I talked with one racer who tried to run FI at Slinger only to be set back by failures of the peripheral systems needed to provide information to the FI computer. He really liked the performance, but one too many DNF’s caused him to go back to a carbureted engine.

We’ll see if we can identify the problem areas and find more durable, race proven parts that will make this thing work. We will also be doing some testing with FI engines, on track, racing with other cars. We’ll utilize the brand-new Mustang late model that Dick Anderson built for us to display at PRI in Orlando, Florida, at the end of November 2012.

And I don’t want to forget to mention the fantastic response we have gotten from all of our readers who encourage us to continue down this progressive path we are on. This sport will move forward because you, the racer, want it to. We will try to facilitate that growth and improvement based on what you want.

One of the best tools we have ever had to gather information and see for ourselves the state of the union of short track racing is, as I have many times stated, our Tour. When we finish with the west coast portion of the Tour, I plan on doing an overall assessment of racing in America, along with thoughts and suggestions for helping to make our future brighter. I will highlight the things I see that will move us forward and I will explain the things I think should be examined more closely and maybe improved.

Meanwhile, we have the 2013 season coming upon us quickly and by the time you read this, I’ll be right in the middle of Speedweeks in Florida and hard at work deciding which racetracks will be on our Tour schedule. In the interim, I’m going to the IMIS Show in Indianapolis next week and visit with some of the many friends I have been fortunate to have met in racing. I hope I saw you there.

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.

Softer Bushings for Metric Four-Link

I was reading an article you had in the Sept. issue of Circle Track about softening bushings on a metric four-links. Do you soften both upper and lower, as well as front and back on the righthand side? I’m a 50-year-old woman who raced in the Pure Stock class for four years and placed in the top five. I’m currently racing a Street Stock and I’m having a hard time with the handling. The car either pushes or it’s too loose and we can’t find the happy medium. We’re racing on everything from super dry tracks all the way to wet sloppy tracks. What direction should we go? Also what is the best all around shock or valve set up for this metric chassis? Thank you for your help and time.

—Racin’ Momma

Dear Momma,

The trick about using softer bushings on the right side trailing arms for a Metric four-link applies mostly to those cars running on asphalt tracks where there is hard braking and a lot of bite off the corners. I’m not sure that cars running on dirt can utilize that as much.

That being said, we really don’t know do we. So, yes, you only use softer bushings on both upper and lower, front and rear mounts on the right side only. That way, when braking on entry (I hope you brake on dirt, a lot of the professional drivers do), the right rear wheel moves back to rotate the car into the corner.

Then, on exit, when you get back into the throttle, the right rear moves forward more so than the left rear, and the car gets lots of bite off the corner. Even if the entry for dirt cars was less radical than the cars running on asphalt, I would bet that exit bite would be improved by using this method on dirt. Try it and let me know how it works out for you.

As for shocks, you can’t go wrong with “stock” shocks that are made for racing. Contact your racing supplier and find out what they have that will stand up to hard racing. I have used stock replacement shocks that are gas pressure shocks like the ones Bilstein makes for stock classes and Modifieds.