Well as the American Sprintcar racing season draws to a conclusion, the Australian scene is just starting to think about getting started. Let’s have a quick look at where things sit.
WORLD OF OUTLAWS SCENE
The gruelling World of Outlaws Championship in America has just four weeks to run. There are just 5 meetings left in the 89 race program. Remaining races include Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on 6th Oct, I-56 Raceway on 13th Oct and a triple header at Charlotte Dirt Track on 1st, 2nd and 3rd of Nov.
Last weekend Donny Schatz took the Saturday night A-Main victory in the Nationals Open at Williams Grove and now leads the WoO points race by 158 points from Craig Dollansky and just 2 points back to veteran Sammy Swindell. Dollansky has had one of his more consistent seasons while Schatz and Swindell have come on strong toward the later part of the competition. Looks like its going to be a classic race to the finish with this Saturday’s meeting on the big aaI-56 “five-eighth” Miler being pivotal to the standings.
Rounding out the Top 5 are Joey Saldana a further 45 points back from Slammin’ Sammy and Steve Kinser another 78 points in arrears. Australian Kerry Madsen in his best ever season in WoO competition sits in 8th spot 760 points behind the leader Schatz.
September 29 saw Brisbane International Speedway open its racing calendar and run Round 1 of the KRE Race Engines Series. In a night that was hampered by rain and the threat of a cancellation, local driver Todd Wanless prevailed in the 25 lap feature from Garry Brazier, Darren Jensen, James McFadden and Danny Reidy.
Pre-Season Practice sessions have been run at various Speedways around the nation as competitors (new and old) try out their equipment after a 6 month layoff. Tyrepower Sydney Speedway ran their recent practice session on September 22nd. A lot of familiar names fronted and some not so familiar.
Garry Brazier’s son Jordyn Brazier was pushed out for a shakedown session and handled the conditions very well.
Also impressing was Speedcar Star Matt Smith who looked quite at home in the red #71.
October sees the Sprintcar scene truly return from winter hibernation with Round 2 of the KRE Race Engines Series being held at Brisbane International Speedway on Oct 13. Also on the same night is Avalon’s season opener- the Sprintcar $10K to win Invitational and Sydney Speedway will open their gates to the public for the first time.
Perth Motorplex will conduct their season opener on Oct 20th as too will Murray Bridge Speedway for the Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge. A week later Adelaide’s Speedway City will host Round 1 of their Track Championship while Narrogin will kick off the much anticipated 360 Power Series.
Torque Tube Media understands that experienced Sprintcar Campaigner and Expression Session Guru Ian Woods is going to dust off the helmet and is a possible starter in WA’s 360 Power series this year. By all reports Mark Miller from Texanne Racing (Car and Team Owner) has worked with Woodsy to build up a new car with a brand new 360 engine. That will be something to look forward to.
November will see all Summer Speedway tracks across Australia in full swing as the season ramps up for the concentration of racing over the holiday break. The World Series Sprintcars season has less rounds this year – the first of 12 rounds kicks off on Boxing Day at Speedway City. The series concludes February 23 at Perth Motoplex in a two night double header. For full details go to:
AUSSIE SPRINTCAR TEAM TRIALS ACTIVE SUSPENSION
In something of a Sprintcar Coup, one Australian Sprintcar Team is having an off-season dabble with “Active” suspension. The Team wishes to remain anonymous at this point and freely admits to looking beyond aerodynamics and engine development to investigate what change can secure a quantum leap in performance.
The Team freely admits that in its current state their innovation is outside the scope of the current rule book, and also admits it’s more a curious and interesting investigation at this point. They also point out they they will not be starting the racing season this year with the active shockers fitted. “It’s not legal at this point so we will not be incorporating the technology into our racecars – the exercise was one of intrigue and development, and I am pretty sure we will have another play with the concept in the winter next year, if not before” said the team’s Crew Chief.
It is quite easy to spot the coil-over shocks and hydraulic lines running back into the cabin, so it’s not something that anyone will be able to hide anyway. The Team remains optimistically confident that innovation may in time force acceptance and rule change, but who knows, that may take a decade – it’s a long shot?
Active suspension was used on Formula 1 racecars years ago (then banned because they were cornering so much faster). In this Sprintcar example the long-proven and much loved torsion bar concept of springing goes out the window. Coil over shocks are employed instead with active hydraulic feed from the power steering circuit.
Put simply, transducers sense position, velocity and acceleration of the shocker shaft and provide active compensation to the shock to counteract undesirable chassis attitudes.
Results so far have been encouraging. No track records have been broken at the testing venue, but in an unprepared track situation, the active suspended car was just shy of 0.4 seconds a lap quicker when compared to a an identical Driver/chassis/motor package but running a torsion bar set up.
We wait with interest on this one !