posted September 22, 2000 12:39 PM
What you've described is very widely used, and is known as a swingarm style car. It sounds like you could use some panhard bar adjustment. For dry-slick, try lowering the whole bar, without changing it's angle (hopefully it's at about 2-3 degrees upward toward the chassis?). This should give you a little more sidebite getting in and through the middle, but you'll probably lose some forward bite getting off. Most of the time, the gained momentum through the turn can compensate for the loss of forward bite, but if it doesn't get close enough you can fix some of that with your lift bar or pull bar.
If you run a lift bar, move the fifth coil forward 2-4 inches to dampen the torque at the rear wheels a little more. If you do that, you'll need to soften up the preload on your fifth coil to compensate for the longer lever against it. Set your preload to allow about 3 1/2" of spring travel at the fifth coil after a race.
If you're running a pull bar, try raising the front of the bar; again, dampening the torque a little more at the wheels. If your pullbar has a spring on it, try taking out some of it's preload before trying to move the bar. Moving a pullbar has a much greater effect than moving a fifth coil, so your fine tuning might be better suited with preload adjustments to it's spring rather than changing it's angle.
If your panhard bar is already as low as it'll go, you could try putting some angle into it by raising the left (chassis) end of it, but only move it about half an inch at a time because this kind of adjustment changes a lot of things other than just roll center hieght. I could write for days on just the stuff I've learned about the panhard bar this season alone, so I'll just cut it short here and let you get your own feel for it because your feel is all that really matters anyway.
Given your previous racing experience, I probably don't need to tell you that you should only change one thing at a time. Get a feeling for the degree of each change from the seat of your pants before you start combining different ideas. It's gonna feel like it's taking for-frikken-ever to get fast this way, but I speak from experience when I tell you to be patient. You'll be much faster much quicker. Expect to run 15 to 20 shows at least before you get a useful grasp of all the ideas you're working with in there. I know guys who've run 2 or 3 seasons 2 nights a week with the same car before they started to get competitive, because they wanted to throw all kinds of changes at thier cars every week. They learned a lot about what didn't work and very little about what did.
I'll tell you right now that I don't claim to be the fastest guy at any track, but I went from having trouble making the A out of a 40 car field this year to running top 10 by the end of the season. I redesigned the rear suspension of in my own car over last winter, so I basically started from scratch myself this year. Be patient, ask a lot of questions of a lot of people, and write stuff down.