It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything about racing. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been hard at work on a new book which just got published yesterday. I’ll tell you more about it in a little bit.
But, right now, I’d like to take a little time to comment on some of the things going on in the late model world. Some of these things have been in the news, some might have gone unnoticed.
First, is the growing popularity of putting massive amounts of weight on the left rear axle tube. I’ve heard of people bolting lead on birdcages, filling axle tubes with tungsten, making entire axle tubes out of tungsten, 1 ¼” solid steel (not vented) brake rotors, and heavy steel birdcages.
All in an attempt to get the left rear wheel to weigh a ton. At first I heard people claim this is just to get the left side weight percentage higher.
Yes, but not entirely true. This does far more than raise the left side percentage. I think whats going on here is mainly a reaction to the Rumley rule changes that happened last year. They had a neat little deal going with bump stops and a split cage deal to hold traction in the left rear.
You see, the main problem with the left rear is the rod angle and the chain can make that left rear really stiff and all the traction depends on the flexing side wall of the tire. As the car limits out on the left rear chain or limiter shock on the front of the cage, the tire starts to expand like a drag race tire leaving the line.
Any bumps or roughness to the track will allow the tire to flex more and loose traction.
The best option would be some of the things Kevin Rumley was doing two years ago. Now, we’ve been reduced to weighting down the left rear tire in an attempt to hold the wrinkle in the tire to hold the stretch traction in when the tire goes over bumps.
I’ve heard things as crazy as $6,000 tungsten axle tubes. Tungsten, I think, is 1.6 or 1.7 times heavier than lead. Making a left rear axle out of tungsten would add considerable weight to the left rear.
Anything you can do to weight down that corner of the axle will be an advantage. I heard they are trying to outlaw bolting lead to the axle. As of this writing, I’m not sure where the rule is going on this.
By making the rule changes last season, I think they were trying to cut some of the cost out of the sport.
I don’t think it worked. As a matter of fact, I think it blew up in their face. Over exaggerated costs and lead falling off cars and injuring divers was not a step in the right direction.
Sanctioning bodies have to think things through before they implement rules just to crucify someone who had a better idea and kicked some big money a==.
Ok, enough with the rant.
The next thing I have to say is on safety. I think drivers should be more responsible for their own safety.
Here is the conundrum though. When cars are built to take full advantage to some safety features, they will be at a slight disadvantage in speed. For instance, making the cars easier to exit when turned over. Or, making it easier to extract a driver if they become incapacitated. These are rules that should be created and enforced by sanctioning bodies.
Also fire is another place sanctioning bodies need to step in. If your car catches fire because of a bad fuel cell or lack of fire suppression system, you are now endangering other drivers on the track.
If you are using a helmet that is out of date or seat belts that are too old, you are only hurting yourself.
That stuff should be up to the digression of the driver to what is safe or not. I think all drivers should take their safety to the highest degree possible,but I’ve heard a lot of complaining that some of these new fuel cell and seat rules will drive up the cost of racing considerably.
I hear their point. That is why I believe as long as the condition of your car or your safety considerations don’t jeopardize the safety of other drivers on the track, it should be up to you to police your own safety standards.
Maybe the sanctioning bodies could come out with a booklet outlining what they consider standard safety equipment. Maybe each competitor should have to sign a waiver stating they have received, read and understand everything in that book before they are allowed to race. I also in belief that if you are racing late models, and you are willing to shell the kind of money it takes to race late models, the extra spent on a safer car is a drop in the bucket; so to speak.
It’s a tough line to walk.
The third thing I have, and one of the reasons I haven’t written in a while is that I’ve been working on a new book.
This one is mainly pointed toward beginning racers or people who would like to get into racing.It covers many topics other than just tech.
It’s basically a brain dump of the things I do or the procedures I go through to get cars to and from the track week in and week out through the season.
Her is the table of contents:
CHAPTER 1 GETTING THE RIGHT RACING MINDSET
RACING AS A HOBBY
WHY RACE A 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
CHAPTER 3 GETTING CREW HELP AND FAMILY SUPPORT
SUPPORT OF FAMILY
CREW HELP AND FRIEND SUPPORT
WHERE TO FIND HELP
CHAPTER 4 FINDING A GARAGE OR STORAGE
THE HOME SHOP
OFF SITE STORAGE
THE RACING CO-OP
SHOP EXTRAS ANOTHER SCENARIO
CHAPTER 5 TRUCKS, TRAILERS, AND HAULERS
BARE MINIMUM TRAVEL
TYPES OF TRAILERS
BUYING A USED TRAILER
THE TRUCK OR HAULER
THE VAN POSSIBILITY
CHAPTER 6 TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
VISE GRIP LOCKING PLIERS CHANNEL LOCK PLIERS HAMMERS
FLOOR JACK AND JACK STANDS BATTERY CHARGER
NICE TO HAVES
MORE AND MORE TOOLS
CHAPTER 7 MOTORS AND THEIR BUILDERS
CHAPTER 8 WEEKLY PREPARATION 101
MAKING SURE IT WON’T FALL APART
A BOLT RUN
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
WASHING EVERYTHING UP
ADDITIONAL MUST DO’S
CHAPTER 9 SETUP AND CAR HANDLING
CASTER, CAMBER, TOE, ACKERMAN, BUMPSTEER
CASTER SPLIT CAMBER
ACKERMANN WHEEL ALIGNMENT PANHARD BARS
WEIGHT AND WEIGHT TRANSFER WEDGE / DIAGONAL
SLIP ANGLE TRACTION CIRCLE
CHAPTER 10 STRINGING YOUR CAR
CHAPTER 11 CONCLUSION
Here is a link if you’d like to check it out on amazon.
Anyways, stay safe and warm.
We’ll talk soon,