NASCAR is suffering from the same things. If you're not a Hendrick driver, or have Hendrick's power, there's not much of a chance, because you can't work harder to come up with a new innovation to knock them off the top.

Perhaps make things a little more interesting. Let Hendrick show up with his cars and then let the drivers draw numbers to see which car they will drive. Chad wouldn't know if he would have Jimmie or Jr. Let's see him handle that situation. Mike Walton

Very interesting. But soon (hope not) we may be seeing more of an IROC-type of car in NASCAR, remember them? They were all identically prepared cars where the driver was supposed to be the key to winning. They all ran close together and changed the lead numerous times throughout the race . . . oops, sounds like IndyCar and NASCAR in 2009.

Honestly, the Hendrick organization has done its homework and the 48 team must be holding something back from the other ones under that banner. But you have to give it to Mark Martin, the old man is kicking some serious butt.

Speaking of which, I heard from Dick Anderson last week and he is coming out of retirement and may run some races at Speedweeks at New Smyrna. Look out, if you think Mark is doing well, I don't think Dick has lost a step either.

Wrong Call On
Pit Road?
Hi Bob, quick question.
I heard a comment made by a pit reporter in Sunday's Cup race that contradicts all that I've learned from you-I even backed up my DVR to make sure I heard it right. The 20 car pulled in on a pit stop complaining the chassis was way too loose, so we were told that one spring rubber was going to be added to the RR, and, one rubber would be removed from the LR.

Wouldn't this raise the rear MC making this a backwards adjustment? Just want to be sure I've got this straight. Thanks, Peter Ording

First off, that change would normally make a neutral car looser. It does not change the rear moment center, it will change the rear roll angle dynamics. Yes, that change does not seem to make sense, but remember, you are hearing this from a pit reporter who may, or may not, have gotten the message wrong, or was misled, as is often the case.

Please don't set up your car based on what a pit reporter says. I think these TV people try to make the race interesting for the average fan, but are never speaking to real racers.

On the other hand, we have talked about the Tight/Loose syndrome. That is when the car is so tight that the driver has to turn the steering wheel too much to where just past mid-turn the car snaps loose.

What the driver might have thought was a loose car could have been a real tight car. Those cars are typically tight with the current design and you either are too tight or too loose, it is hard to find the middle ground.

Short or Tall
Hello Bob,
After reading the spring rubber tech article, I have a question that relates to springs. What is better to use, springs with a short free height or ones with a tall free height? My interest is especially in Asphalt Modifieds which use coilover suspension. I see many teams using the shorter springs and only a couple using the taller ones.

There is a drawback to longer coilover springs. If too long, they may tend to bend and make contact with the shocks. This is never a good situation and you should monitor your springs and the shock body to make sure the spring is always free from contact. Also, up front in a stock clip car, shorter springs are easier to change out, if the spacing is sufficient to avoid spring bind.

I was wondering if there is an advantage/difference between the shorter springs or the taller ones? Are the shorter springs more consistent because of the thicker diameter wire? Or do they set quicker when the car dives into the turn? For example, would an 8-inch 450-pound front spring be better to use than an 10-inch 450-pound front spring? What do the differences in heights affect? Thanks, Brian

Free height of the springs makes no difference as far as rate and movement. Two different length 450 pounds per inch-rated springs will move the same displacement at the same speed as load is added or removed. Adding 450 pounds to a 450 lb/in spring still moves it 1 inch no matter the free height.

What is different is the amount of travel each will endure before you start seeing spring bind. The longer springs are usually used when running softer springs because they will travel farther before we see spring bind which will increase the rate of the spring due to the reduction in the number of coils.