Slinger Speedway
I have spoken to many racers over the years who run at Slinger. It is a high banked (but not as high as some might think) racetrack that is hard to get a handle on. In our observations, we noted a few characteristics that once indentified might help racers setup for the track.

Slinger first opened in 1948 and celebrated its 65th year in operation in 2012. In 1974, the track was changed into what is now known as Slinger Super Speedway, the "World's Fastest 1/4 Mile Oval". Wayne Erickson was instrumental in getting that transformation done and now owns and promotes the track. And his promotions are many as he has reached out to the community by supporting the Scouts and other local groups.

The track has set up a Kids Club, free of charge, for children ages 4 to 11. With the membership, the youngsters are included in the weekly raffle, get a free prize each week and are include in kids events each Sunday night. Now that's what we are talking about.

The track is in reality about 18 degrees average banking in the turns, but it is banked high on the straights as well. Not as much as the turns, but there is a good ten degrees of banking down the backstraight. That causes a condition of the car wanting to roll left while going down the straights due to the banking. Then when entering the turns, the car obviously quickly rolls to the right. This flip-flop can be upsetting for entry into the turns.

The other strange thing I saw, and I have spoken about this condition, is that the cars climb the track coming off of Turns 2 and 4 to get onto the straights. This is caused by the banking being created not by raising the outside of the track, but by dropping the inside of the track. So, the outside wall stays relatively at the same elevation while the inside changes elevation with the middle of Turns 1-2 and 3-4 being below the inside line of the straights.

This transition onto the straights causes the right front to dip and the left rear to rise up at the point of transition. Shock settings can either help with this change, or hurt the car if not set up properly. High amounts of rebound on any corner could cause redistribution of the loads on the tires at this point and cause a loose off condition.

The way that happens with too high a rebound in the shocks is this. The RF tire is not allowed to follow the contour of the racing surface and the LR is not allowed to rebound to stay in contact with the track. This reduces cross weight percent and the car goes loose. Drivers have described being loose off at Slinger and I couldn't imagine that happening with the high banking until I saw the track. Now I understand.

Slinger is an older facility that is somewhat showing its age. The track surface was repaved in 2002 though, so the racing is always good. It has a very loyal following too and the competition is fierce. I get the feeling of being at a true icon and a place of reverence. To race and do well here means a lot to Wisconsin racers and that is the reason some come to try their skills, and some stay away.

Slinger draws good crowds of both fans and racers. Let's face it, the racing is exciting and they even run the Figure 8 races. I'm glad I came to Slinger and came to understand its attraction and some of its uniqueness.

In our next installment, we venture out of Wisconsin for a day to Hawkeye Downs Speedway for a Friday night race and then back into Wisconsin to LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway for Christmas in July on Saturday night, July 14.

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