There are a lot of differences already in competing in the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Late Model Stock Tour for Newport News, Virginia’s Matt Waltz.
Waltz, 25, will be racing on bump-stops for the first time and, instead of racing on the flat Langley Speedway surface, he will be racing on the high-banks at Southern National Motorsports Park. Waltz, however, is not just looking forward to the challenge of racing on bump-stops, he really likes it.
“We’ve definitely messed with the bump-stop stuff,” Waltz told RACE22.com’s Tony Stevens during Saturday’s test session at Southern National Motorsports Park. “It’s new with the CARS Tour. It’s really great, honestly. It makes things really easy. It’s cheap. It’s a really good deal so far. We’re just messing with that some and seeing how we can get the car to react to this stuff.”
Speed wasn’t Waltz’s focus during the test. Handling was. Waltz unloaded with plenty of speed but spent the test session trying to get the balance of the car where he wants it.
“We’re just trying to get the car balanced, Waltz remarked. “We felt like we unrolled with some speed which I was happy with. We’re just working on the car. Southern National is so different with the banking compared to my home track, Langley Speedway, which is flat. This is a whole different animal. I feel more confident that we’re going in the right direction here. Hopefully we’ve learned something and got the car better for next week when we go racing.”
So, why does Waltz like the bump-stops? For him, it’s a combination of ease and cost.
“One thing you can do with bump-stops is limit your travel so much easier than if you tried to do a coil-bind setup which, with the NASCAR rulebook, we’re so defined on keeping the car on the racetrack with the front springs and everything that you’ve got to work with there,” Waltz explained. “With the bump-stops, we’re allowed to use packers. You can come up with a different combination of rubbers, air, how fast it wants to travel and you can also limit your total travel so it makes it easier to work with. You’ve got shims so if you hit the racetrack, you can shim it up. If you want to get a little more travel with your suspension, you can take some out.
“It’s easy and cost effective especially compared to a coil-bind setup where you have to go in and change springs. The bump-stop stuff is a little piece of plastic. You don’t have to sit there and bolt things. It’s cost effective for the racers and easy for us to work on our cars and get them where they want to be and, as long as everybody figures it out, it should make for some good racing for the fans.”
Waltz’s satisfaction with the bump-stop setup could give him a mental advantage ahead of this Saturday’s race. While he likes running them, bump-stops and/or coil-binding setups have frustrated many other Late Model Stock Car teams which are more used to running under the conventional NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Car guidelines.