The Auto Racing Guide

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wish I knew then, what I know now, things would be different!” Well, for the racing word, this will be the book you’ll want. I took my twenty plus years of racing adventure knowledge and stuffed it into this book.

I run through everything from crew help to budget; finding and getting the right car; getting something to tow the car; and even a little basic knowledge on set up help.

I’ve seen no other guide as complete to help the beginning racer avoid some of the pit falls of just starting out. I’ve gone through the problems of getting stranded on the side of the road. Broken race cars that probably shouldn’t have broke. And, struggled with ill-handling cars because I didn’t know the basics.

Below you’ll find the table of contents for the book to give you a general idea on what is all covered.

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Table of Contents
Flash over each section and click on the “x” to the right to open up the sub-sections.
I’m sure at some point in your life you said, “I wish I knew then, what I know now!” That’s exactly what was on my mind when I set out on the journey of writing this, my second book.

This is a brain dump of more than twenty-five plus years of working on, setting up, and getting race cars to tracks week after week. A task I’ve been getting paid to do for thirteen plus years and a task I did as a volunteer years before.

Along the way I picked up some time saving, money saving, and headache eliminating methods. And, this book is where I pass them all on to you.

This is written in a relaxed easy to read style so even if you’re not an avid book worm, like I am, you still manage to pull out loads of information to save you time, money, and a bunch of hair pulling experiences and frustration.

While starting to gather all the information together to put into this book, it feels like I’ve been through it all.


  • Break downs on the side of the road.
  • Wrecked race cars that need to get fixed to go back racing in the narrowest window of time.
  • Frustrating motor problems.
  • Even more frustrating handling problems.
  • Setting up new shops to work on cars.
  • Teams on tight budgets needing to compete with teams that have four times the money to spend.
  • Finding and training crew members.
  • Pulling all-nighters to get ready to race the following day.

Really, if racing grabs a hold of you, like it did to me, you will go through many of these same scenarios. Here is the good news.

I have found solutions to many of the problems you will encounter. I’ve brain dumped them, in a very organized manner, inside the pages of this book.

Many of the solutions I provide are not car or class specific. They will work whether you want to race dirt or asphalt, modified or late model, hobby stock or four cylinder, open wheel or fender car, and even road course or circle track. If it has tires and a motor, most of the problems will be the same.

Here is a brief list of what I’ve put together and you will learn inside.


  • How to figure out your budget and make sure you get the best equipment to win races right from the start.
  • How to pick the right tow vehicle for your type of racing and separate the junk from the gems.
  • How to set up a well-equipped shop but not break the budget with frivolous over kill.
  • Basic maintenance items to keep your car running in top shape week after week; things I’ve learned along the way to look out for; even some little maintenance tricks to make your life easier.
  • What I’ve learned about motors and their builders; how to choose them both and what to be aware of when shopping around.
  • Where to find the best advice to get you running at the front of the pack.
  • How to keep the family happy and maintain the perfect racing to home life balance.
  • Finding crew members and keeping them happy.
  • What kind of tools are mandatory, what tools are ‘nice to haves’, and how to get by on a limited budget.
  • The best ways to get up to speed when just starting out or, if you’re struggling, a way to get back on track.

I also have an extensive section on handling and drivability. (my specialty)

These are not a bunch of tricks and hocus pocus, but a solid foundation to help your racing adventure start on the right foot.

You’ll learn:


  • What is caster and camber and how you can adjust it to get the most speed out of your car.
  • The most over looked and misunderstood front end adjustment which can add tons of speed and traction to your car.
  • Having your tires point in slightly different directions can actually make you run faster.
  • Checking your wheel alignment and why it is so important to the speed of your car.
  • What is a panhard bar and how to adjust it to make handling changes. (It actually doesn’t work how most people will tell you it does)
  • Getting your head around weight placement and weight transfer; knowing this simple concept will put you years ahead of most of your competition.
  • What is wedge and how to adjust it to get smooth fast car.
  • Why I won’t recommend using electronic wheel scales and how to figure out all your percentages with a calculator.
  • How slip ratio and slip angle works to give you the most traction possible.

… And much, much more.

Here is how to get the most out of this book.

Only red the particular area you need help with at the time.

Skip around.

It is not necessary to read the entire book like it is a novel. I’ve tried hard to lay it out in a manner to be an easy to use guide to make your racing easier and more fun.

Each individual chapter is broken down into subsections or subchapters. These section headings are in large bold text so you can’t miss them.

If you need help in any particular area, go to that area; skip the rest.

Chapter 1 Getting the right racing mindset
The right racing mindset is one of the most important attributes you can have. This is what makes racing fun; even through the toughest of times.

Here is a list of some of the areas I cover:

  • Racing as a hobby
  • Why a race car
  • Test drive before you buy
  • Where to race
  • Let’s think about budget
  • A healthy mindset about racing
Chapter 2 Deciding what class to race
Years ago options were limited. You had only a couple different types of cars in a particular area to choose from. Now, classes are broken into different rules packages even if the cars look the same. Here is where I give you some insight to try and make the decision of what class to race even easier.

It is broken down into three categories:

  • Budget
  • Experience
  • Location
Chapter 3 Getting Crew Help and Family Support
Getting people involved to help with your hobby is really important. It’s tough to do this racing adventure alone. It’s really tough if you have unsupportive family members. Here I give some ideas and tips to make this a little easier.

  • Support of family
  • Crew help and friend support
  • Where to find help
Chapter 4 Finding a Garage or Storage
You’ll need some place to house that bad hot rod, right? Well I’ve seen racers come up with some pretty creative solutions over the years and I’ve seen them fall into some pretty bad traps. Here’s where I lay it all out for you to see.

My subcategories are:

  • The home shop
  • Off site storage
  • The racing CO-Op
  • Shop Extras
  • Another Scenerio
Chapter 5 Trucks, Trailers, and Haulers
You know you have to have one, but the truck and trailer may be one of the biggest headaches of going racing. Not only do you have to maintain a race car, but you’ll need to take care of the equipment that gets everything to and from the track.

Here is how I brake it down in the book.

  • Budget
  • Bare minimum travel
  • Types of trailers
  • Buying a used trailer
  • Trailer Maintenance
  • The truck or hauler
  • Pick-up truck
  • Towing capacity
  • The van possibility
  • Toterhomes
Chapter 6 Tools and Equipment
This is another must have area. You’ll need to work on everything to keep it running smooth. For tool junkies it will be easy to go hog wild and get a little bit of everything. But, from experience, I’ve figured out some of the tools you’ll absolutely will need and others that will just be ‘nice to haves’.

Here is how I break down the tool section and where I give advise on what I would buy in each category.

  • Basic tools
  • Ratchets
  • Vise Grip locking pliers
  • Channel Lock pliers
  • Hammers
  • Tire wrenches
  • Floor jack and jack stands
  • Battery charger
  • Lighting
  • Nice to haves
  • Generator
  • More and more tools
Chapter 7 Motors and Their Builders
I’m not really a motor builder, so you won’t see me knee deep in pistons and crankshafts trying to get one put together by race day. Most racers these days rely on motor builders to do the work of assembly for them. Here is where I break down working with builders, finding a builder, and a couple of tips on keeping everything running.
Chapter 8 Weekly Preparation
A race car and hauler will need attention between races. Sometimes the work will be long and hair pulling, but it will all need to get done.

Here is my list and advise on what will need to get looked at between race days.

  • Making sure it won’t fall apart
  • A bolt run
  • Crash Repair
  • Steering gears
  • Ball joints and spindles
  • Checking out the rear end
  • Quick change problems
  • Ford 9″ problems
  • Hubs and axles
  • Greasing your car
  • Weekly motor maintenance
  • Lights and electrical
  • Hauler and trailer maintenance
  • Body work and cosmetic crash damage
  • Shock maintenance
  • Washing everything up
  • Additional must do’s
Chapter 9 Set Up and Car Handling
I don’t get real in depth with race car handling and set up. I do layout some basics to give the newbie some background into what they will need to know.

Here is how I break down this section.

  • Racing schools
  • Chassis builders
  • Wheel scales
  • Caster, Camber, Toe, Ackerman, Bumpsteer
  • Caster split
  • Wheel alignment
  • Panhard bars
  • Weight and weight transfer
  • Wedge / diagonal
  • Slip ratio
  • Slip angle
  • Traction circle
Chapter 10 Stringing Your Car
I don’t think too many people do this anymore, but I believe it’s one of the most important aspects to the proper handling of the car. Well, not the stringing itself, but the knowing of where your tires align front to rear. I give an overview on the process I use to string the car.
Chapter 11 Conclusion
I really have to acknowledge some references that I used to build this book. These are not copied or plagiarized, but the concepts came from them and they deserve a plug.

I would like to say thanks to Tony Woodward for his great product catalog. I’ve been using his bump steer diagrams for years to give me a quick reference when setting bump steer on cars. The catalog is also an excellent reference to steering systems and technical information on how all this stuff works. I’d highly recommend picking one up.

Second I would like to thank Claude Rouelle. I took his three-day intensive workshop back in, I believe 2005. It was by far the best and most comprehensive course about race car dynamics I’ve taken.

It is very technical and not slanted toward the dirt racing market, but I believe all race cars are created equal … at least in principle.

Third I would like to reference some good books to continue your education. Some of these aren’t cheap, but these are what I reference when I run into a problem I’m really stumped on.

Any of the Milliken books on vehicle dynamics

The Rowley Race Car Engineering book. This book coincides with the use of the Bill Mitchell geometry software … also a great investment to figure out how your car works. I have it and love it.

If you really liked this book and you would like to give me a little feedback, you can visit my blog and leave your comments in

the comment form in the ‘contact’ section. My blog is located at:

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This will keep you up to date on changing technologies or any new ideas which seem to be coming around in the world of racing technology.



Kevin Katzenberg

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