In a previous email I talked a little about how I was following the presidential campaign.

Some it ends up being rather comical.

A real comedy club stage show. I’m actually waiting for someone to get hit with a pie in the face.

But, on a serious note, I have my criterial I use when selecting people to vote for and I don’t judge any of it about how they say they stand on issues.

Politicians flip flop like a leaf in the breeze when it comes to issues.

My criteria center more around character than what they say. There’s only three, so I’ll be brief.



Compassion-

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Lincoln”, he is sitting at the beginning on a platform consoling soldiers in Gettysburg.

He sending these boys to war for something he believes in yet there is a certain compassion in his voice and mannerisms. You can tell he cares about them.

When the candidates lips flap around in the breeze, I don’t want to hear what they say.

I want to feel what they say.

The compassion must come through in their emotions and choice of words.

They must make me feel the compassion they have for people in need.

Ownership-

The future president and I (or anyone really) stood next to each other. In front of us stood a terrorist with a gun.

The terrorist gave the president the choice who would get one in the head. Knowing he / she was elected to lead our country and is responsible for our country.

Would they take one to spare anyone of our lives? Or, would they cowardly bow out to save themselves.

If asked I bet they would all say they would take the bullet, just to win the votes.

But, would they really? You can probably tell by the look in their eyes which ones would and which ones wouldn’t.

Knowing a little about everything-

Now I realize not everyone can be geniuses about everything. But, I want someone who knows atlas a little about a lot of issues so they know where to get detailed answers. I hear many candidates say they will hire the best people to advise them.

Without knowing at least a little about all the issues at hand, How will you know who to hire?

Who are the leaders in each niche problem you need to solve?

What are all the sides to the basic issue and can they pull ideas from all the issues?

So, your probably wondering what this has to do with racing?

Well, my last point is the thing I’ve always used when working with race cars.

I think the best races know at least a little about a lot of subjects. I love suspensions and trying to find traction and good handling, but I know just a little about motors to keep them running good.

I’ve read books about un-shrouding valves and have assembled my own motors so I know the basics about how they work.

I rebuild shocks, transmissions, and differentials, so I’ve gained enough insight to have an opinion on what is good and bad.

My opinion is often based on the mechanics of the design rather than just on what other people tell me is good and bad.

I think I know who the experts are to get the best unbiased information. When I get in a jam I know where to turn to get myself out.

Take for instance chassis flex.

There are various opinions on what is good and bad; more or less flex.

I am a believer that a stiff car is better. We put so much time into shocks, suspension and set up, why would we want to rely on the consistent flexibility of the chassis to get the car handling well.

I’d rather have a non-flexible car and know the changes I’m making to the suspension car be repeated time after time; race after race.

I know we will never totally eliminate flex, so we need to then plan on taking binds out of the car because of chassis flex.

I’m a fan of a ‘wobble’ bearing or a rod end on the upper control arm. If you think about a standard bearing upper control arm, they only roll in one direction. I believe upper control arm mounts are very flexible and cross shafts will bind when put under heavy loads.

Howe Racing used to build upper control arms that were bearings in two directions; similar to the motion provided by a rod end.

This leads me to my next thought.



Grease vs. spray lube rod ends. I really like greasable rod ends to reduce friction and stiction.

Stiction is the amount of force it takes to start the motion of a rod end.

When you put a bearing into motion, it will take more force to break a rod end loose and send it into motion than it will to keep it in motion.

At one point in time, Formula One cars were experimenting on what I believe is called ‘flextures’.

These were simply pieces of spring steel used in place of rod ends. The amount of stiction in spring steel is zero or near zero. This provided a smooth transition of movement between bump and rebound without the stiction.

In dirt racing we experience much too much suspension travel to use ‘flextures’.

But, maintaining the thought to reduce the suspension to the least binding possible is really what is important.

Now let me explain why I like grease instead of spraying rod ends.

Think of how bearings in and engine work. These are not actually bearings as we think about them in a practice sense.

They are actually bushings. Oil is pumped to form a hydraulic wedge between the crankshaft
and the bearing. If oil pressure is maintained, the crankshaft is actually floating on a continually flowing layer of oil.

If oil pressure stops, the excess oil is pushed out and the crankshaft hits the bearing and the motor seizes up.

In a rod end, it takes more force to push out the excess grease than it will a thin spray lube like WD-40. As long as you consistently pump the rod end with grease to keep the dirt out, I believe grease will provide less stiction when the suspension is under load.

Now, when the suspension is hanging free and not racing around the track, a spray lube rod end will feel pretty good. The problem is that we race with a load on our suspension we can’t feel while the car is sitting on jack stands.

Jon Rodgers over at Out Pace Racing Products makes some pretty cool greasable suspension components.

There are also several suppliers of greasable rod ends. I remember seeing these things on tractors growing up. They always looked crude, but maybe they were actually much better than the clean suspension used on race cars back then.

Be safe and keep pushing ahead,

Kevin