SRS Season Wrap-up 2013!

Well this has been an amazing racing season here in Michigan. From dirt to pavement, I’ve made the rounds this year. Customers are happy from what I can tell and I would like to highlight them in this episode…

Earl Miles Jr. and the #73 Pavement Modified – I am the “Engineer” I guess you could say on the team and want to thank Earl for giving me the freedom to make suspension/shock changes…I think it really paid off this year. Back to back track championships and 3 modified feature wins, where last year we had zero wins and still managed to win the championship. We also won the Michigan Cup Modified race held at Springport Motor Speedway. And on top of that, Earl also competed in the ABC stock car class. We had a lot of issues that were out of Earl’s control with the ABC car, but we did manage to set fast time several times and won one feature this season. We had a lot of fun racing with Earl, Earl’s parents, Bill, Dave, the Hooters girls and everyone else that supports the effort, that is for sure. I may have to do it again in 2014.
Feature Win #2: Championship Night
Michigan Cup Win: Feature Win
ABC Stock: Feature Win

Jon McNett and the #7 Pavement Modified – Jon is a customer of SRS and has always been pretty strong in super latemodels around Michigan. This year we built some front shocks and a LR for his modified and he never looked back. Jon won the Spartan Speedway Modified Track Championship and then went on to dominate the Owosso Speedway’s Fall Nationals feature race and win his heat race. I would like to thank his crew guy Chuck for the work he did getting everything straight with what shocks they had. Jon also ran second at least 5 or 6 times this season and challenged for race wins almost every week at Spartan.
Fall Nationals Modifieds: Race Winner

Tim Wilber and the Ow dirt modified – Tim is one our our “Team” drivers and has always been a tough competitor. This year it was still a good year even when taking a few weekends off to do some spectating and family things. Tim won several features at Butler Motor Speedway this year including both the UMP Modified and Sportsman Features in the same night.
Feature Win Mods: Race Win
Butler Sportsman: Action Shot

Jeremy Lutz and the 83 A Stock Car – Jeremy Racked up 5 feature wins in the ABC stock car class at Springport Motor Speedway this season. He hit it right a few times this season but unfortunately had a couple issues which kept him from taking home the Championship. Maybe next year bud.
Feature Win: Race Win
Feature Win: Race Win  Notice the matching Orange shirts…Even I happen to have one on(far left).

Corey Bevard and the 8c dirt modified – The Bevard Clan have been getting better this year and even picked up a win at Butler. As of this writing they are still racing for the next couple of weeks…so you never know what they will do. UPDATE(10/4): Corey gets a 9th place finish in Feature #2 at the UMP Modified Fall Nationals at Eldora Speedway. Corey started 23rd!
Feature Win: Race Win

Eric Swan and the flying Os Sportsman – Eric is a “Team” driver and threw a new sportsman together mid season and after a little engine trouble, won in his 2nd or 3rd night on the track. Ran strong to finish out the year with a couple more top 3 finishes.
Feature Win: Race Win

Steve Langdon and the 38 Sportsman – Steve was a new customer this year and won his first night out on a new set of SRS Bilstein shocks. Steve when on to pick up another win and several top 5’s. Nice work Steve.
Feature Win Sportsman: Race Win

Curtis Deisnroth and the 2D Dirt Latemodel – We have been working with Curtis most of this season with his shocks and setup. He just got things moving in the right direction and had engine issues which put him on the sidelines. He did manage to have a top 10 finish at one of the most competitive dirt tracks in the country… Oakshade Raceway.

Shawn McFeeters and the 99m Street Stock – Shawn’s a good guy and have been friends with him for a long time. Gave him a little setup help this year… he got better all through the season with several top 5’s. Keep it up Shawn, you’ll get there soon.
Heat Race Win: Race Win

We’ve pick up more and more customers with each season….but there is a point where we have too much on our plate for one person to handle….and right now I can’t hire anyone to do all the service and revalve work, so there may be some changes coming in 2014 for SRS and our shock services….so stay tuned.

This is by far our best season yet….looking forword to an even better 2014 for all of our drivers/customers/clients.

That’s if for 2013 for the most part…I’ll leave this one with the stats for this season:
17 Feature Wins(All SRS drivers combined)!
2 Pavement Modified Track Championships! (Miles and McNett)

:SR:

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Long time no Blog post…we’ll make up for it now…

It’s definitely been a while… I’ve been pretty busy with the day job and taking care of SRS customers. SRS is currently having it’s best year every with 13 feature wins and one championship so far this year. Lots to talk about in the racing world, so lets get to it.

F1… I haven’t been watching any F1 lately, even though it’s one of my favorite series and Vettel is running well…NBC has just made it too corporate to watch it now. Too bad for F1, I’m sure NBC is doing ok if even some of the F1 fans upgraded their TV package to get NBC Sports. Nascar is heading in the same direction with Fox Sports. Just wait until they move some of the races to other Fox channels that aren’t in the lower TV packages. One last thing, Bernie getting indicted for bribery is like a dream come true. Some times the rich don’t earn their money, they break laws to do it and this time karma has bitten his ass….it makes me smile. F1 could use some new blood at the controls.

Nascar… well it’s Nascar still…. The big stories lately have been Tony Stewart breaking his leg, Kurt Bush to SHR next year and Larson to the 42 replacing JPM. Sucks for Tony I know how much he likes to race. Kurt Bush…luckiest guy in Nascar. Lucky in that he shouldn’t even have a truck ride with the way he was treating people. As a crew chief/car engineer, no driver will yell and bitch at me for long. But the thing I’m most excited about is Kyle Larson getting a Cup ride. I can’t wait for the 2014 season to start….really hope he can pick off a couple wins in his rookie year, but for that to happen EGR needs to step it up with their cars and the engineering side of things.

One more complaint I guess on the Cup broadcasts this year… If you go from a street car to a car that has drag slicks and a supercharger, it’s going to be faster….so when Nascar redesigned their cars to be more like Indy cars and create more down force with the body(AKA Aero), what would you expect? New track records maybe….we get it Nascar, the new cars are faster…but only because you let them make them faster. Someone didn’t figure out something new and is the only one setting records….it’s 1/4 of the field. Here’s an idea….lets get rid of the bump stops, coil binding and radial tires and get the cars so you can drive them hung out instead of “Just going around”. Simple. People might like watching again since now you have lower attendance and lower numbers of folks watching on TV….I’m hoping they are going to their local race tracks and watching the real racing that happens every week around the country.

I’ll be in Daytona for speed week, but I don’t know if I’ll be at the Cup race yet or not…either way, It’s always a good time hanging out with some friends there.

NHRA… drag racing has been pretty decent this year. The teams are getting closer and closer which leads to no clear power house team this time around…. and pretty random race winners. I think that is a good thing in any series…but it’s always nice to see your fav win every so often. I really have no complaints other than pushing the trophy girls into the shot with the winner as soon as they stop the cars….looks a little unprofessional.

Sim Racing… I’ve just recently got serious about sim racing….but not too serious. I picked up a copy of rFactor and an excellent wheel and pedal setup from Fanatec. So far I have mods for dirt latemodels, sprint cars and midgets….and then the VHR mod for the Nascar series with the new cars. I did manage to find an ISMA Super Modified Mod… I worked on a SuperMod team for a couple years while in college. Still need to get a full F1 mod, Indycar, DTM, V8 Supercars and the Enduracers GT car mods…so if you have links to where I can find good mods for these, please let me know.  I have found that it’s pretty easy to blow a whole afternoon turning laps and working on the car or running a full race. There is also a new version of rFactor out which is rFactor 2….it has improved graphics and physics engine and lots of package mods in the works for it as well.
rFactor Home Page
rFactor Central – tons of mods
Fanatec

Fake Crowd Noise… The ASA started this as they were on their way out of business and trying to create some type of interest in the series. I believe this makes things even worse as it just doesn’t work and sounds fake…which it is. A few times this year I have thought I heard it on the NHRA and Truck series broadcast but I wasn’t for sure. I just hope they don’t do that as it’s pretty much a bad sign of things to come.

I think in our next post, I’ll talk about the cost of racing and also cover the Short Course Off-Road series…and I might even start writing it before I log in here as most of the time when I just write off the cuff, it seems I am talking about the negatives…but maybe that’s because most of the series’ are hyping/talking them up and kinda sweep the negatives under the carpet….Idk…we’ll see.

One last thing for this post…. you may have noticed some more advertising on the site…this is so we can cover our expenses for the site and some of the time and travel we put in behind the scenes…so if you have time, check out some of the advertisers on our site and our youtube channel videos.

Here are recent heat and feature race we won…had the car working pretty well if I do say so….

Heat Race Win

Feature Race Win!

Thanks for reading guys.
:SR:

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SRS revalving Afco shocks….

Breaking News!  ….We will be able to revalve Afco series 19, 11T and 13T as of Thursday this week. We will revalve these to Standard Afco valving codes for $20 plus parts through the end of July. For the older series 19 style, older versions will need updgraded(about $75 in parts) to revalve to the latest Afco codes as Afco has changed the design within the last few years.

Afco_revalves_19-11-13_series

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The governing body of F1 can suck it….

Bernie Ecelstone, Fox Sports, NBC and the FIA can all bite me… lol… I don’t get NBC Sports with my current TV package, my local NBC affiliate doesn’t carry it and I refuse to cough up the extra dough just to watch F1 this year. So with that, I have found that you can get F1 feeds in a couple of different ways. One way that doesn’t work all that well, but it’s an option is to get on one of the personal broadcast sites and wait for someone to broadcast their local/cable feed….yes, sometimes you can have Japaneses or German commentation…. but hey you are watching. The other is… Apps. That’s all I’m going to say because Its a good thing and I would rather keep watching with English speaking commentators.

The most difficult thing is watching the races Live. As many of you know the start times are usually in local time, so you have to deal with that. Best bet is to go to F1’s website(http://www.formula1.com/races/) and Click on the race, then find the button on the righthand side to change times to your local time. Then “Tune” in. There are replays on the 2nd option I listed, so that will make it easier to catch some of it at a normal time of day.

Anyway, the F1 Season is shaping up to be a good one again… Vetel is strong as are Kimi, Weber and the Ferrari drivers. We’ll see how the car development goes through out the season, but tires could be the main question that determines many of the races.

Got more to come, so stay tuned guys.

 

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Talladega, Daytona and so much more…

Well it’s been a while since the last article…. a lot going on as usual.

So with the trip to Talladega in October I am no longer a “Super-speedway” virgin. I will say that my experience there was much different than Daytona this past February. Alabama has some great people…no matter where we went we were greeted in an Alabama manner. The big track is just that, BIG! We were at every event other than some practices. We stayed at the track in the campground which was more subdued that I had thought it was going to be. Attendance is down compared to previous years and it feels like it most of the time there. If you go, do not miss the dirt track a crossed the street. I was disappointed at the small crowd there. We always go into the pits and we got a little treat as Trevor Bayne was racing a dirt latemodel. These guys put on a hell of a show. Unfortunately the 2nd night was a little too wet and one of our party was coming down with a cold….bummer.

As for racing at the big tracks… we had access to radio scanners and it still made for a pretty weak experience…unless you like to hear a spotter a couple times a lap say something then you’ll be fine. The big wreck for the cup cars was pretty massive and it was one of those “holly crap” moments where you are struck with the amount of money that was just thrown out the window….but hey that’s why the sponsors pay the big bucks. I will say that the truck race was pretty good.

Now for Daytona….compared to Talladega, Daytona wins hands down….at least during speedweek. I had a free place to stay with some old friends a few blocks from the track. We walked to the “Sprint Unlimited”(Dumb name BTW). We will just throw that race out and keep on going. During the week I was pretty much spending each night at Volusia County Speedway. They always put on a good show and this year was no exception…. WoO Sprints Sunday night, “UMP/WoO” latemodels 6 straight days, UMP and Big block modifieds splitting the week. Anyone who is anyone in dirtcar racing is here during speedweek. Great racing all week long… This is why I even go …and the main reason to fly to Florida in February. The facilities are ok, but that is part of the charm for dirt tracks. Where else can you get a pit pass for $45 and pretty much get autographs(if you want) from every top dirt driver in the country? That’s right, nowhere!  WoO and Lucas Oil DLM drivers all in one spot….not to mention Austin/Ty Dillon, Kenny Schrader and Wallace along with several other Nascar drivers.

I had not planned to go to the big track more than the Unlimited race, but with friends going to the Nationwide race, I said what the hell. We loaded up the coolers, headed to the track and picked up a ticket on the way. Little did I know that the ticket I had bought was to have a front row seat for the carnage at the end of the race. Fortunately we didn’t sit in those seats, instead we sat right at Pit exit.

This was one of the better nascar type races I’ve seen….the nationwide guys seem to have more racing during their races…maybe because they are going 110% for the whole race rather than pacing themselves for 90% of the race like the cup guys seem to do every week. It was unfortunate to see the fans get hurt as we never want to see that happen. I don’t think we need to look at keeping the cars on the ground! I do think we need a better catch fence solution and some design parameters for the cars.

The atmosphere was great, everyone in a good mood and lots of activities going on. Plus the beach is just east of the track. I did manage to get there this year as well.

All in all, if I had to pick one race to go to… it was most definitely be Daytona in Feb….even if you don’t go to the 500 you can still hit the Unlimited, Trucks, Nationwide and even Modifieds and K&N cars(if they have them again….not good racing on the backstretch IMHO). I had one of the best times in a long time and will defiantly be back next year.

Some other notes:
Kyle Larson continues to be a diversified driver and will be a force in Nascar very soon.

Nascar needs to Fix Cup racing… going 95-98% for 95% of the race leads to boring as hell races…unless you just watch the last 20 laps. Lets get rid of the bump stops and coil binding, bring the bias-ply tires back and let them hang it out lap after lap and have a tire that may blow if you drive it too hard….just like the old days…you know when people liked Nascar racing.

Can’t wait for the 2013 F1 season to start…. too bad Speed channels has mucked up everything good about racing on TV. Now people will spend more time looking for the right channel for the race they want to watch….if they even get that channel. Ridiculous!

SRS is getting geared up for the local racing action this year. Lots of new customers. We will have 2 sportsman cars and it’s looking like 5 or 6 modifieds equipped with SR Shocks at Butler Motor Speedway this year, a couple dirt latemodels at Oakshade Raceway…. and a couple teams on pavement at Springport Speedway.

That’s if for now. Hoping that I don’t take this long to get another article out for you guys. Also working on an internet connection that lets me upload my videos to Youtube without blowing my bandwidth limit each month.

<SR>

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Shock Mounting 101

Well it’s Friday noon here at Talladega and things are getting under way. The Truck series has just finished up their first practice and we are hanging out at the campsite getting the rear window in the truck replaced. We are going to head to the Sprint Cup Series practice at 1:30 today.

Anyway, on to what we are talking about today. This is the first article on shocks here on the blog so I’ll try to make this interesting for you guys. I want to make this a series of articles that start out with the basics and work up to some more technical explanations. I will try to add some pics to this post at a later date.

Today we are going to start at the very basic, and that’s how shocks are mounted on the car. I’m going to keep this circle track focused and really more modifieds and sportsman cars than anything. This year we’ve had a lot of shocks where the ball joints have hit the shock body causing the shocks to malfunction. This is restricted to mono-tube shocks like Bilstiens and Penske shocks. The root cause of this is how the shocks are mounted.

On the Fronts, you really need to take out your springs and mount the shocks especially if this car already has mounts on it. Then you need to cycle the suspension and see how close to the shocks the ball joints and spindle parts come. You should also check the clearance from the shock body to the frame. There should be a quarter of an inch around mono-tube shocks at all times. This allows for flex in the suspension components.

Some issues are caused when modified car builders want to use the smaller yellow Bilstein shocks. This makes using a larger 46mm body shock difficult, and changes should be made….as I do not recommend the smaller body shocks as they do tend to run hotter and suffer from more heat fade and wear. The changes that should be made are moving the upper shock mount in towards the engine, this gets clearance to the ball joints and spindle, but tightens clearance to the frame. When the clearance get too tight, then some of the frame can be cut near the spring pocket since the spring no longer sits in the pocket. This can save a ton of money on repairs or new shocks.

A major thing to look for that will prolong the life of your shocks is the alignment, indexing and mounting position of the shock. A shock is made to go straight in and straight out, if the centerlines of the mono-balls do not line up through its travel there will be some side loading on the mono-balls and rod bushing. This is really the only issue on the front suspensions other than having the top mount too low causing bottoming or the top mount to high which won’t let the front of the car travel up like it should. On the rear of a modified, we have alot of indexing. The alignment portion still applies, but the major factors are the indexing and mounting position. The rear suspension should also be moved up and down to look for clearance and early or late bottoming. If the shock bottoms to early such as on the RR the tire will loose traction and it cause shock or suspension failures. If a shock bottoms late, then there is the possibly on the RR that the tire will hit the frame and not have enough down travel at the same time. There are many other factors that affect this, such as birdcage shock mount heights, shock shaft lengths and shock body lengths. Typical dirt cars run 7″ fronts and 9″ rear shocks, but cars like Rayburns continue to use shocks with shorter shafts and a mixture of body lengths. Buyer Beware!

Specifically on the LR… The left rear of a 4-bar modified(or latemodel) gets a pretty good work out. You should never use a shock as a limiting device. Many guys use a chain to limit the down travel and this is our recommended option, wrap the chain with a somewhat flexible tape so that the links do not turn and shorten the down travel on you. And again you really need to make sure that there is enough up travel on this shock, if not then you will break a shock, a bolt, birdcage or chassis when it bottoms. A Bilstien shock has the threads of an 8mm nut that keeps the shaft from getting pulled out of the shock body. It will work for a while but fatigue caused by high force cycles will cause it to break, period! There are also other benefits to using a limiting chain, but we won’t get into to that. The LR needs special attention whenever you are setting up a new dirt car. Something wrong here can cause odd handling problems for a long time before it’s caught.

Hopefully this helps keep shock damage to a minimum and leads to faster lap times through consistency. You shouldn’t be damaging shocks under normal racing conditions or even rough conditions when they are setup properly.

-SR-

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Real Deals, Orange Peels and the Big One

It’s been a while, but here is another post…

Real Deals… Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney. Larson continues to show amazing talent in every kind of car he gets into. Dirt, Asphalt he’s won in it all this year. Ryan Blaney gets in a truck and wins the 3rd time out. There are guys that have ran that series for years and years never to have won. These guys are the real deals.

Orange Peels….bye, bye Joey…your dad can’t make you win at this level. I guess we’ll see what he can do at the 3rd string Ford team next year.

I’ll keep this edition short, saving some for my trip to the Talladega Cup race here in a week and a half. Should be fun as we’ll be at the dirt track 2 nights and having a few cold ones the other nights.

And if you missed the F1 race in Singapore….you missed out….love the night race and F1 racing there. All racing should be at night…just kidding. It’s definitely cool though.

I might have an article ready on some shock stuff finished before the trip south, so stay tuned.

{SR}

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F1, NHRA, Nationwide and Rain

Just some quick thoughts….

F1: Dear F1, Why oh why do you have such a long summer break in your season?   …I know, I know, you travel the world and I could see how that would take a toll on the working guys. Can we at least change it to be at most 2 weeks off? Please?

NHRA: This is my bitch of the week…. Paul Page doesn’t do the Indy 500 anymore for a reason. In my opinion theeee worst TV commentator in racing….well besides Sam Poesy, he would be king, but thankfully he’s not commentating on anything other than his F1 pre-race piece. Otherwise, NHRA pretty sweet season so far. Nice job Baby Force…nice to see dad is giving….I mean glad to see you beat your dad.

Nationwide: Well the NNS can run on rain tires, what’s your excuse Cup?? Mikey Waltrip needs to ease off the caffeine before he goes on the air… and yes, Speed guys, the Dillon’s are where they are at solely BECAUSE of their grandfather and who he is. Do you really think they would be both in Nascar if he wasn’t??? Really? They are good drivers, but there are hundreds if not thousands of good drivers out there…it’s pretty easy to out motor the lower classes when you run out of a Cup shop. There are lots of drivers that “Deserve” to be in Nascar and aren’t there and never will be….and a few that are there and shouldn’t be.

Rain: After a summer with very little rain here in Michigan, we just got about 4 months worth in 2 days….not cool. Now waiting to see how many track cancel for tomorrow. I applaud Butler Motor Speedway for canceling so early last week. The same front that moved through here on Saturday caused one death and 9 injuries at the Pocono Cup race on Sunday. Butler canceled the nights activities based on the predicted strength of the storms moving in and before one drop fell at the track.

Hope we get some racing in tomorrow. I might have some video for you if we do.

-SR-

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ScottyRocket Chatter is a GO!

Welcome to our newest attempt at getting the SR word out there. This is the place for racing opinion and tech. Don’t expect full engineering reports…not going to happen. Just going to touch on some technical topics and other things we think the racing community will find interesting.

We won’t leave out the Radio Controlled and Virtual racers either… we are active in both during the Winter months here in Michigan. Watch for reviews of R/C products, some racing games on the PS3(and possibly PC) and some control hardware very soon.

Feel free to contact us with questions and or comments and we’ll do our best to either get you an answer or provide our opinion.

-ScottyRocket

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