Tag Archives: NASCAR racing

Good racing, bad allergies

Yesterday I watched the Camping World Truck Series and the Cup Series from The Bristol Dirt. Much better this time around without the excess moisture on the track. The races were supposed to be run on Saturday and Sunday with heat races setting the lineup, but a drenching storm system basically drowned the track both days causing the heat races to be cancelled and the mains to be set based on the formula that has been used to set the starting order since Daytona. Running both races in one afternoon/evening did put the shortcomings of dirt over concrete on display, as the track surface was really rough by the end of the 250 lap Cup race following the 100 lap truck race.

By the end of the Cup race there were holes in the surface big enough to pretty much swallow one of the Goodyear bias-ply dirt tires. Which was another major change for this race, going back to bias-ply tires instead of the steel-belted radials they have been using since the end of the Tire Wars of the 1980s. The consensus was from data gathered running the truck series at Eldora that the radial was too stiff to get good racing on dirt, particularly when the track got rough. Racing on dirt requires more compliance in the sidewall than asphalt or concrete, and Goodyear’s engineers just could not get a radial that would stay together and be compliant enough to get good grip and last with the Cup Series engines and suspensions. The CWTS racers have less than 2/3 of the unrestricted Cup Series cars horsepower and running radials at Eldora had racers that couldn’t use full power except for the last third of the straights and that lost control at the high yaw angles usually associated with dirt racing. Basically the radials acted like they were on a dusty paved track and did not develop any side or forward bite into the dirt surface. But Goodyear did have bias-ply tires that made good grip on dirt for racing dirt late models, so the one that was closest to the Cup Series pavement slick dimensions was used to develop the tire for the trucks and Cup Series at Bristol. Basically all three of the NASCAR top touring divisions are built to use the same tire so that Goodyear only has to supply one tire for events running more than just the Cup Series.

Now the racing was good, lots of beating and banging as is the norm for stock cars (and trucks) on dirt. Martin Truex Jr. outlasted everyone to win the Camping World Truck Series race, while Joey Logano did the same for the Cup Series race. Basically the race was won by the cars that were in the best condition at the end of the race. I think for next year both series will go with softer springs and greater ride height to make sure they have enough travel to keep the tires in contact with the track. What’s going to be real fun is when the next generation of Cup cars running the 18″ wheel and tire package and 4 wheel independent suspension runs the dirt. Will they go back to 15″ wheels for Bristol Dirt so everybody gets the same tire? As I’m reading it right now, they are going to keep this year’s car for the next dirt race because there is zero development on the next year’s car for racing on dirt, especially with the rear suspension. Straight axles have been scienced out pretty well and are well-understood for getting the power to the track. The only racing format that races on dirt and has independent rear suspension is the off-road buggies, and they have zero in common with stock cars. In fact the off-road vehicles closest to stock cars, that are allowed to run any type of suspension are trucks and they use close to the same suspension as the current Cup Series cars in the back. They have more locating links/arms than the Truck Arms used by Cup series cars, but the basic axle is nearly identical to what is run by late model dirt racers that are forbidden to run IRS. If IRS gave an advantage running in dirt like IFS does you can believe the off-road trucks would have adapted the uprights and axles from their fronts to the rear suspension.

Now on the other topic in the headline, trees are having sex in public and it’s getting all up in everyone’s faces, literally. I’m getting frequent white-outs from goop covering the cornea that I can’t see through and takes several blinks to clear away enough to see what I’m doing. If you think typing without looking at the keys is hard, try typing when you can’t look at the keys or the screen. That is all kinds of no fun at all. Makes proofreading interesting too.

Well, the new shower stall is almost done

As I sit here they are lacking final plumbing installation (showerhead and faucet handle) and sealing the edges of the wall panels and cleaning up the mess. I will do a separate post about the shower at a later date. I took some pictures of the bathroom with the tub and enclosure removed to prepare for the installation of the shower stall.

Did anyone catch the Busch Clash Tuesday? It lacked some of the beating and banging that used to be the calling card of the race, but that last corner of the last lap pass attempt by Chase Elliot to get by Ryan Blaney, that led to Kyle Busch going from third going into the final corner to first at the line was classic Clash (the race, not the band).

And I just got back a weight quote on both the Ford 9″ full axle, and the 8″ quick change, and even got a closer estimate for the 9″ as delivered price of $1100 (there is a question of how much the lightweight locker was going to cost as it isn’t in stock and they won’t know the cost until they get it, the pandemic has severely disrupted supply chains in the automotive industry). The 9″ will be somewhat heavier than the quick change but not as much as previously estimated. I was looking at 110 pounds for the 8″ quick change and 120 for the fabricated 9″ Ford housing, which was slightly heavier for the quick change than I expected, and slightly lighter than I was planning for on the fabricated 9″ Ford, plus the Ford is steel which means brackets can be welded directly to the housing, where they have to be fabricated from a compatible alloy, or clamped to the quick change housing which would mean I have to have that work done after delivery of the housing. I do not have the welding unit to weld aluminum, nor do I have the tools to make the clamp-on bracket. The reason the 8″ quick change is heavier than I initially estimated is the weight of the locker is that much more than the aluminum spool used to quote weights for the quick change. Seriously, we are talking the difference between 5 and 21 pounds spool and locker respectively. And the difference in costs between the spool and the locker are about the same scale as the difference in weights. As in the cost of the locker is a multiple of the cost of the spool except worse, the spool is $108, the locker is $500-1200 depending on options and model. The $500 will probably do the job, albeit with great noise and drama even compared to a spool. Lockers are notorious for clunking and banging out of tight corners like typical autocrosses.

Technical aside, lockers are a middle ground between a spool and an open differential, that have a mechanism that locks and unlocks the faster wheel from the slower or just ties them both together and depending on the design they can be noisy and cantankerous about how they do it or just a slight “clunk” that can barely be heard. Interestingly enough the $500 locker has the reputation of having a quiet unlock and relock as well as a reputation for sometimes not engaging either wheel after a turn. I might get away with that one depending on how much power my engine makes. If I get the 5.3L truck engine from a junkyard then I’m only making about 300 HP at the tire which is within the limits of the cheap locker, but just barely, but more importantly, the cheap locker has better street manners away from the racetrack. So, draw, win, draw, on the merits of the cheap locker.

Well while I was working on the blog post the shower stall was installed into the bathroom and we have to wait until tomorrow evening for all the adhesives to cure before we can use it. Again, I will do a separate post about the shower stall after we get some use out of it, right now it just stinks of acetic acid while the adhesives cure. After a week we can use cleaning products on it like normal, except because of the soft material used in the shower stall (compared to ceramic tile and glazed cast iron and ceramic fixtures) everything has to be non-abrasive. That means no Comet, Ajax, Soft Scrub or anything like that in store brands. I think when the shower can be cleaned is enough time to evaluate how it performs.

And it’s about time to order dinner so I must put this post to bed.

Is it over yet?

Everyone I know is cautiously peeking through the figurative bunker door hoping against hope that the election is over and that Trump is going to accept the results. Mrs. the Poet is celebrating a little early, I think. I’m still not taking full breaths yet.

What I have been doing is going over the Sprint-T front bulkhead over and over, looking for places to reduce weight/increase rigidity. I haven’t come up with much, as I have gone through this process hundreds of times already. Basically I’m going through and seeing if there is a way to beat the “choose two out of three” dilemma from the “cheap, strong, light” triad by changing size of the structural members. And I’ve got it down to “it depends on where the volume discount starts”, on the price difference between the sizes of the raw stock. Because of the SCCA rules I have to make some parts out of 1.5″ diameter 0.120″ wall DOM round stock, but the rest of the car I can make from 0.060″ wall, which will be more than enough if I use corrosion prevention to maintain wall thickness. But I can save weight even more by using smaller diameter stock for bracing, up to a point. 

Some of the bracing will be easier and cheaper to make as an extension of the main frame members using the 1.5″ diameter 0.060″ wall stock, but some will be lighter/strong enough if I use 1″ diameter 0.060″ wall tubing. It’s basically a case of which is cheaper when I buy the stock, meaning I need to get both choices fully designed down to the BOM. 

And I’m starting to fade, and have problems seeing, after a very exciting championship race for the NASCAR Cup, with congratulations going out to Chase Elliot. Chase wasn’t who I was rooting for, but with the way he won his way into the Four, and the way he dominated the race after getting moved to the back after failing his first two trips through tech, I concede his worthiness, especially when my choice finished 4th out of the four. Denny Hamlin is still the best active driver to never win a championship, a distinction I hope he loses soon next year.

No game this week, again

Family tragedy struck one of the players in our group as her father-in-law died a few days before game. Also, I have been beset by allergies that have really upset my sleep cycle as my sleep aid is just a double-strength allergy pill, minus the buffers. So, instead of putting me to sleep, it just clears up my nose and eyes for the night until it wears off. I was awake after 0700 this morning even though I put myself to bed by 0500.

I ended up sleeping through most of the race today, but I did manage to tune in for the last 20 or so laps, watching Kevin Harvick chase Joey Logano and almost catch him until Joey used dirty air or lapped cars to slow him down to keep Harvick from passing. It was a master class on how to defend a lead in a Cup race. I’m not a fan of Logano, but I do give credit where credit is due, and Joey drove his butt off keeping Harvick at bay.

No progress has been made in the Sprint-T redesign. I have all the major pieces in place, and until I can get some raw stock, which is really hard to come by these days because of the one-two punch of tariffs and COVID19, I really can’t build anything. Even in the case that I was able to find the raw stock, the combination of the stock thickness and having tools sized for bicycle building and not hot rods leaves me with stock with the dimensions laid out but no way to cut and drill to the sizes needed and make the part. It is frustrating to have drills that won’t handle drill bits over 3/8″ when the smallest hole is just under 1/2″ and the big hole is 9/16″ to allow for the thread depth of the bolts and the tap that cuts the thread so those bolts can screw into the part. It’s a combination of lack of power in the motors and the chucks just not being physically big enough to hold the larger drill bits. And for my cutting tools the 1/4″ thickness is pushing the limits of the equipment because when I bought the tools years ago when I was building bicycles 3mm (1/8″) steel or 5mm aluminum was the heaviest stock I was going to ever cut. Building hot rods wasn’t even on my mind. Let’s just say I was in a bit of a state over cars since someone tried to kill me with one, actually several someones tried several times with varying degrees of success, but nobody actually killed me thank [$DEITY]. So for most of this century since the wreck, I have had varying degrees of antipathy about cars.

OK, let me take inventory of tools, parts and raw stock that I need to complete the Sprint-T. I need something that can make square or mitered cuts in stock at least 1/4″ thick in mild or chrome-moly steel. I need a drill press that can handle 3/4″ holes in the 1/4″ steels, and up to 1/2″ thick in aluminum. I need a welder that will weld over 1/4″ thick steel, and that will weld aluminum. I mean I can use oxy-hydrogen to weld aluminum now, but that is a very tricky technique for someone with cataracts to work with, and I’m not sure that it didn’t contribute to giving me cataracts in the first place. Anyway, after the tools I need lots of raw stock, DOM or chrome-moly seamless tubing in 1.5″ diameter and 0.120″ (7 sticks) and 0.060″ (5 sticks) wall thickness, some 1.25″ diameter DOM and 0.120″ (2 sticks) wall for making the tie rod, drag link, panhard rod, and the torque arm. Also needed is a metric buttload of hardware to connect things that have to be able to move in relation to other things, in various sizes from 3/4″ fine thread (pretty big) to 4-40 (tee-niny).

It’s getting late, so I’m wishing you a good night and pleasant dreams.

Well, that was quite a race!

It didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but wow! what a race on the Roval at Charlotte. It was raining at the start, then stopped, then eventually got sunny leading to a track that was tricky to drive every lap. And tricky to drive leads to exciting racing.

I’m not going to lie, my guys didn’t win, and they were in a “points below the cutoff line in a cutoff race” situation. Those were Clint Bowyer, who is retiring at the end of the season, and Kyle Busch the reigning champ. Clint I just wanted to see have a shot at the championship in his last season, because he’s always been a good driver and also a good person from what I can tell. Kyle just didn’t get a fair chance this year because of the rules changes caused by the Stupid Virus. Kyle’s style is to make the car perfect in practice, and there was no practice this season after the Stupid Virus. My problem was they can’t both win, and the only way for both to go to the next round was for the 88 car to blow the engine on the pace lap or similar and Clint and Kyle to finish 1-2 in that order. Did I mention I don’t particularly like the driver of the 88?

In other news, I’m still evolving the mount for the steering box and changing the front bulkhead in the process. I decided the car would be faster if I made the bellypan all the way across the car to the outside edge of the fender, which meant I needed to do something to support the leading edge around the front tires. Since the front tires would get pretty close to going parallel to the front axle, I subtracted the diameter of the street tires from the axle width to come up with 31″ clearance at full lock, which just happens to be the same width as the radiator. Which means the extension of the front frame rail really needs to be on both sides of the car, making the bottom of the front bulkhead way wider than the original design of a point at the bottom intersecting the main frame rails also coming to a point.

The new bulkhead is radically different. Where there was a straight tube across the top from one shock mount to the other with a tube from each shock mount to the center V-point and some internal bracing to prevent flex, the new design has a straight bottom tube that runs across the intersection of the main frame rails to the rail extensions spaced 31″ across outside to outside, and a tube from that intersection to the shock mounts and another horizontal tube across to support the downforce-generating nosepiece from underneath so it doesn’t need to be cut and fitted around the bulkhead, and is way easier to install and remove for maintaining the steering, and has the secondary effect of making as much downforce as the nosepiece can make. This upper tube will be 31″ wide and the vertical from the extension to the upper tube will also act as the mount for the steering box. And then there will be another tube from that intersection to the shock mount, triangulating the mount, and a tube from the intersection of the upper bar and the vertical from the extension to the point where the main frame rails intersect with each other and the front bulkhead to triangulate the steering box mount and the place where the load from the shock mounts feeds into.

I really need to draw this out and show what I’m writing about, because while there are a lot of words, there are not a lot of tubes involved, only 10 total in the front bulkhead, and just 6 more that intersect it. Which sounds super complicated, but not so much when I visualize it. I just wish my hands worked better and I had the tools and the paper to draw it like I see it. But if wishes were horses we would all ride everywhere. And that is a saying that predates bicycles it’s so old.

And I didn’t finish my statement about supporting the front of the bellypan. Well I need to establish the swept curve of the tires moving to lock between straight ahead and the tire parallel to the axle, which is a fancy way to say I need to trace out the curve of the outer corner of the tire tread, all the way until the tire is at right angles to straight ahead, and then copy that curve on a tube roller (which I still have from building bicycles) on a chunk of light 1.5″ tube. That will be the leading edge of the bellypan from behind the tire to the frame.

I will have other tubes on the outside edge to support the bellypan all the way to the edge so I can use it as a step to get in the car, and so that any downforce it generates goes all the way to the suspension like good ground effects. I already know that there will only be a tiny amount of downforce even on the freeway, but I want every ounce I can get.

I was also thinking about the A-Mod car because I had an allergy attack that made me sleepy so I went to bed, but then wouldn’t let me sleep. So I stared at the shadows on the ceiling and planned the Next-To-No-Car-There-Car. Basically just enough frame and body to hold a body to the right of center with outriggers to mount coilovers and the bits to hold the left side of the suspension in place, and a big empty space to be filled with a motorcycle engine that gets moved from side to side to balance the body in the part of the car designed to carry the body. That’s about as far as I can get without drawing tools and paper.

So, that’s what happens when I have too much time to think, and there’s a really good race on the next morning.

Joey Logano is the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Champion

It was a heck of a race with the 4 Chase drivers in the top 10 almost all of the race and top 5 most of the race. It basically came down to the last pit stop, and who had the best setup at the end of the race. When they lined up after the last pit stops I honestly thought Kyle Busch was going to win, but they missed the setup, and Martin Truex took the lead, then after a few laps Logano passed for the lead, Harvick poked his nose in and Busch faded to 6th but recovered so that the Final Four finished 1-4. I was really pulling for Truex to win the championship in the last Cup race for the Furniture Row Racing team but he couldn’t catch Logano and wound up 2nd.

And I’m still recovering, the flap is still alive and has some sensation, and typing is still heck with the bandaid over my fingertip. I have been thinking that just like I’m doing for the Mini Sprint-T, I could at least start the frame for the Sprint-T before I know what engine and transmission I’m going to use, because there are just a few pieces that change depending on the powertrain. Basically there are two verticals in the front hoop internal bracing, and the transmission crossmember that change position depending on what turns the rear wheels. So if I get a good payment from one gig I get the raw stock for the frame and start cutting and tack welding.

And I need to get to bed. My neck hurts and I’m trying to not faceplant in the keyboard of my new laptop.

Not making much progress

I have been thinking and researching and thinking some more, but I still don’t have much in the way of progress to report. Also the injured finger has been breaking open and bleeding all over things, which can get a little messy as well as not safe because of spreading a growth medium for germs, so I took a walk to the CVS and bought a fresh box of bandages using the last bit of money left in the gift card this one gig I work uses to pay me. But seriously, I really had to buy a box of bandaids yesterday. When I take the old bandaid off the clean the finger I’m constantly snagging the flap of skin still attached to the finger and pulling it up and causing the injury to bleed like mad, but the flap is still alive so I need to keep it attached to the finger so it will heal. The situation is unless I can keep that flap alive I will have yet another nasty scar on my finger…

The issues with the finger also affect the Mini Sprint-T. My dexterity is reduced and my grip is hindered and that means making the kind of precision cuts needed to build the frame is a no-go until the finger is healed enough to work without the bandage. A slip of 0.01″ translates to a part that is a scale 0.25″ too big or too small, and wasted raw stock if I make it too small. So I have to wait until I can handle my tools safely before I can get to work on the Mini Sprint-T. If there is one thing I have learned in my 60 years, it’s patience. I will have to wait.

Another thing I have had to worry about is the weight of the front axle assembly with all the bits and pieces attached compared to the sprung weight of that end. There is nothing I can do about the excess weight except turn the heavy bits into “drillium”, also known as “swiss cheesing” the parts. The process involves a drill press, a lot of time, and usually several worn-out drill bits as holes are drilled in areas that don’t get a lot of stress in use and shouldn’t suffer fatigue failure. This only goes so far, and the parts that have the highest weight can’t be drilled out, like the spindles and wheels and especially the tires. Drilled tires would be useless. 🙂

And my finger is starting to hurt from typing, so this is pretty much it for the day.

All-Star Weekend!

They are racing for $1,000,000 tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One of the things they do with this race is test proposed changes to the rules and there are a bunch of changes this year to the aero and engine. Yesterday’s qualifying already showed the differences in the specs made for differences on the track.

OK they are running the Open, and the aero changes have the racing almost like ‘Dega or Daytona, and the restrictor plate has them all running pretty equal.

OK the Open is over and they are doing the driver introductions for the All-Star Race. Signing off now.

No NASCAR race, and trying to rain here

No race to watch on the flat screen, and the weather is threatening so I can’t go for a walk. That means I have to post something here or go crazy. Going crazy is no fun, and I think you have figured out by now what choice I made.

On really good thing about the Pentastar for the Sprint-T is its extremely short length. There’s 43″ between the firewall and the centerline of the front axle on the Sprint-T and allowing for movement the steering linkage is 7″ behind that so 36″ from the firewall to the effective limit on the space. There’s a 3.5″ thick radiator to leave room for and a 9″ long steering box with a steering shaft that has to snake around the radiator, that goes between the radiator and the axle. Measuring the space from the part where the Pitman arm bolts to the rearmost part of the box as installed on the car and adding the working length of the Pitman arm (7″) I get another 12.5″ between the steering linkage and the radiator leaving just 23.5″ unless I put the radiator over the steering box like they do on the Speedway T-Bucket kit. Putting the radiator in the space between the front of the box and the steering linkage solves a lot of steering issues at the cost of raising the CofG slightly, but the radiator is only 19″ tall and there is literally 27″ to put it in. Mounting the steering linkage below the axle leaves even more room for the radiator in front of the steering box because the radiator can go over the linkage and still leave room for the axle to travel up and down. At this point in the design the radiator is a box that is 26″ wide by 19″ tall and 3.5″ thick that can be moved back and forth and up and down until room has been found for everything else. Anyway, the engine is a 20″ box in front of the firewall that leaves 16″ for everything else. And here you are reading in real time my thought processes as I build the front end of the car.

Recentering my thoughts, there is 16″ between the steering linkage and the front of the engine, the problem is the steering box and the radiator are trying to be in the same bit behind the axle. I could put the radiator on the right and the steering box on the left and have room for both. The steering box is 4.5″ from the mounting face to the right side of the box, 5.2″ total width, and I have 34″ of width to play with behind the axle, 17″ on either side of center. That means I could stuff a 28″ radiator in the car and still not hang out past the frame rails/4-bar if I put the radiator next to the steering box. If I choose to slide the radiator between the steering box and the steering linkage then I have more room for radiator width, but only just, and the radiator outlet would have to be passenger side to prevent interference. The widest radiator I can get a passenger side outlet at the places I’m looking is 31″ which is the inside to inside width of the bottom frame rails when I build to a width of 34″, serendipitous isn’t it?

And it’s time to check e-mail and get ready for bed.

Big racing weekend

There are a bunch of races on the tube this weekend, trucks tonight, Xfinity series tomorrow, and F1, Monster Energy, and Indy Car on Sunday. Indy Car is deciding their champion Sunday, Xfinity series is starting their playoffs and the trucks are setting their playoff contenders tonight. Racing inspires me when I’m building my TGS2, but I don’t get any direct transfer from their designs. Detail touches sure, but nothing major can transfer because of the vastly different technology in my car and all of those race series. I think the closest is Indy Car or F1 because of the mid-engines, but with the tubular beam front axle and de Dion rear suspension on my car compared to the 4-wheel independent suspension on those cars, and my engine being transverse and their engines being longitudinal, and I have a 4-sp automatic and they have 6 to ? speed manual or semi-automatic transmissions. Like I said, details, details.

I have been following a YouTube series on building an Australian rules Formula Vee and I have to say their rules are a wild combination of ancient suspension geometry and frame, and modern aerodynamics. And the tires are completely different from the spec tires used in the US. Like I said, interesting and something to add to the data bank even when there is no direct transfer to my car. I like to learn as much as possible because you just never know when something you learned is going to come in handy. And that doesn’t just apply to cars. Sioux, that one’s for you.

One of the things I have been thinking about was extending and smoothing the front contours of the body for more room in the cockpit and better aero for freeway fuel economy. I have some options on that, because I can either put a big fuel tank behind the driver, or two smaller tanks on either side of the driver in a more supine driving position for less frontal area. The single tank behind a more upright driver is better for Goodguys autocross and SCCA Solo racing, but the laydown position gets better fuel economy and isn’t a very big handicap for autocross and Solo. Final analysis it depends on personal preference, my personal preference. And I prefer to sit more upright and be able to see my outside front corners, plus the single tank costs a ton le$$ than the two tank setup, because the single tank is a stocked item in several retail sellers, while the dual tanks would be custom job$.

Something else to consider is the adaptability of the cockpit to different drivers. The supine driving position requires lots of changes between drivers unless they are practically identical twins where the more upright position just needs to change the seat insert and maybe the steering wheel when changing drivers. I’m thinking about changing drivers because I want to have a pro driver to get the most out of the car at Goodguys, and I have a friend who’s a decent driver and probably wants to get behind the wheel in competition, too. So I really need a cockpit that is adaptable to different drivers without major disassembly.