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Question for Richard Hofer


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#1 Dallas Racer

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 11:09 PM

Richard, I was looking at the race pics on Dallas Slot Cars Facebook page. In a recent race, I believe you TQ'd and came in a close second (congrats!).

In the photo (car on the left), you're chassis looks extremely short. Is that a distortion of the camera lens, or is it really as short as it looks? Also, it appears to be REALLY light.

I'm impressed that you did so well with that car.

dr.jpg

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#2 Tex

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 08:32 AM

There might be some camera distortion goin' on but it IS short.... can't remember HOW short off the top of my head... I'll check later today and report back. And it IS light, right at 101gr or a tick under. It did take me a while to learn to drive such a light car. When DSC first installed Kyle's track(former owner, Ranger Raceway), I knew it would be a paradigm shift from driving DSC's Gerding King track. I initially used my King track chassis' which were basically just piano wire only, very similar to the one seen above. To transition to DSC's current track, I cut brass fillets and soldered them into every gap I could find. So, I started out real heavy... +130gr! This helped me keep it on the track and I did OK for a while but it reached a point where everyone was just blowin' by me on the exit of the turns... I just couldn't get the beast up and on it's legs before I got to the next turn. While the chassis shown isn't what I was using at the time, the basic design, using piano wire structures for the "pans", is the same and all the gaps you see here were filled in with brass. I began cutting the brass back out to lighten the car again. Things got better but not good enough. I finally bit the bullet and cut ALL the brass out(except the nose piece shown) and just made myself learn how to drive the light car. The cars I'd cut the brass out of weighed about 107gr sans brass; I built this one exactly as seen above(100 - 101gr).


Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#3 Dallas Racer

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 10:38 AM

Again I'm impressed. I don't think I could get a car that short and light to work, and if I somehow did, I don't think I could drive it.

 

I'm definitely interested in how long it is. Please do post that when you get a chance.


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#4 Tex

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 04:22 PM

Phil,
 
The wheelbase on that chassis is 3-3/4".
Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#5 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 05:03 PM

Rulebook says NO frames shorter than 3-3/4", but few ever build them much shorter than 4.0" - they are smoother (for most drivers) to drive at 4.0 to 4-1/8".

Larry D. Kelley, MA
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#6 Dallas Racer

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 10:21 PM

Phil,
 
The wheelbase on that chassis is 3-3/4".

 

Thanks, Richard.

 

Could you measure the guide length (or whatever you call it) if you get a chance?


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#7 Dallas Racer

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 10:41 PM

Rulebook says NO frames shorter than 3-3/4", but few ever build them much shorter than 4.0" - they are smoother (for most drivers) to drive at 4.0 to 4-1/8".

 

I've only built one Retro chassis, but I did build quite a few I15 chassis in the '80s. Obviously wheelbase didn't mean anything on those. They didn't even have a wheelbase. So I'm used to thinking in terms of overall length (center of rear axle to the center of the guide pivot). To me, that seems the important dimension on any chassis. It seems the front wheels act in the corners as nothing more than outriggers. Where they're located would make some difference, but not a lot. My experience was longer overall length equaled more forgiving and easier to drive. Shorter equaled faster but less forgiving and harder to drive.

 

But that was old wing cars and I obviously don't know squat about Retro. I'm puzzled by the complete disregard for the overall length of the chassis. Does anyone think that matters, or not?


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#8 Noose

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 06:55 AM

Rulebook says NO frames shorter than 3-3/4", but few ever build them much shorter than 4.0" - they are smoother (for most drivers) to drive at 4.0 to 4-1/8".

 

The only rules for wheelbase with defined measurements are Formula 1 and Stock Car in IRRA®. For GTC and Can-Am it is "within the wheel arches." As you may have noticed in the photo, I believe Tex was running under RETRO rules. They may have something different.


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#9 Tex

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 08:00 AM

The only rules for wheel base with defined measurements are Formula 1 and Stock Car in IRRA®.  For GTC and Can-Am it is "within the wheel arches".  As you may have noticed in the photo, I believe Tex was running under RETRO rules.  They may have something different.

 

Yeah, I searched the RETRO rules pretty good yesterday (at least those found at the link I had) before posting my wheelbase measurement... I didn't want to post something that might be illegal. I couldn't find ANY measurement stated with regards to wheelbase in the RETRO rules; perhaps there's one stating "within the wheel arches" that I overlooked.


Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#10 Uncle Fred

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 11:54 AM

The interesting chassis in the photo is Ken Steven's that won the race...


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#11 Richard G With

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 12:52 PM

RETRO rules at retroslotracing.com do have min/max wheelbase for F1 but say nothing about Can-Am wheelbase. I am building to those rules for the local monthly race as well as the Two Step in November. Hope there isn't a different set of rules somewhere! Since I'm mostly using R-Geo Dragonslayer kits, my wheelbase is about 4 inches and my CA cars weigh 109 without extra weight. If any of you RETRO guys know of a different set of rules for November I'd like to know about it ASAP!

I am interested to see an apparent trend to lighter cars at DSC. Tex's explanation about getting off the corners seems reasonable to me. Tex, what do you do different in driving the lighter cars? Does aero make more difference for the lightweight cars?

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#12 MSwiss

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 02:14 PM

Don't worry about the 3 3/4" claim.

Larry probably dreamt it. Lol

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#13 Tex

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 03:20 PM

Tex, what do you do different in driving the lighter cars? Does aero make more difference for the lightweight cars?

 

First, the aero question. I don't test enough to say definitively, but it would seem reasonable that aero would have greater effect on a lighter car... that would be an advantage to a lighter car as long as the track isn't "stuck". Of course, if the track is really glued in, you could go with a harder tire. As for driving a lighter car, I think it's a little touchier to drive. If you overdrive a heavier car, the rear end may break loose but you may be able to catch it; with a lighter car, it seems like it'll tip out instead of break loose when that line is crossed. But, SERIOUSLY, I am NO EXPERT driver! I don't put in enough laps on a regular basis to speak definitively about this. Forget I said ANYthing! I'm not even here. I didn't reply. Tex WHO?


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Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#14 Richard G With

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 06:32 PM

Tex: You are in the podium pictures just about every month, so I take that to mean you know more about this stuff than I do. My questions are directed at the DSC flat track environment, which I've found to be a very different but highly enjoyable track to race on. I know it has some subtleties, such as the turn after the bridge and it's upsetting effects on light cars.

 

Not having a relevant track to test on at all, I try to glean any information that anyone cares to share. Even though Raytown is changing to spray glue, their King doesn't really give much information for the DSC flat track, except to know my lead wires are hooked up right.

 

I learned a lot by sending my cars for others to race in September (Thanks, Vic, Jay and Bob) but the driving component obviously doesn't transfer that way.

Since I got back in about a year ago, I've come to understand that there is no substitute for trigger time, but it always helps to have someone at least point me in a direction!


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We must all do what we must do, for if we do not, then what we must do does not get done.  Chung Mee

      Parkes, W. (Producer) & Meyer, N. (Director). (1985). Volunteers.[Motion picture]. United States: HBO.

 


#15 Tex

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:30 AM

I learned a lesson in the last year or so. And I've had to learn that lesson several times again since then(what does THAT tell ya? lol ). For a long time, after rejoining slots, I worked on keeping the car on the track and just making laps. I wasn't always successful at this, but that was my basic race strategy. I managed to get on some podiums this way, mainly due to the really fast guys encountering problems. This strategy was "good enough"... for a while. But churning out comfortable lap times will only get you so far up the food chain. I reasoned that if I wanted to actually have a chance at WINNING, I'd have to go faster overall, consistently. I was going to have to try and claw my way up there. This meant I had to PUSH. I had to PUSH the car when practicing. And I had to PUSH the car when racing. Sure, this took me out of my comfort zone and initially more deslots ensued. But I actually began to come to grips with this mode of driving and it's paid off. I still need luck to beat Ken Stevens but I'm generally closer than I used to be. When track conditions and my trigger finger allow, my lap times are quicker also.  I still find myself becoming complacent in the middle of a race; when I realize that, I have to start PUSHING again. Push, push, push! It may result in only 3 - 4 laps in a race, but it may be enough to jump someone. It may be enough to stay ahead of someone. Someone once said "It's a long way to the top if ya wanna rock & roll!"  Sure, it's a tough journey, but it's fun and very rewarding... ya gots ta be in it for the long haul if you want to have a shot at the brass ring... wouldn't have it any other way.


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Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#16 Uncle Fred

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:48 AM

Glad to see Rich is back on his meds again......


Fred Correnti

#17 Tex

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:37 AM

Glad to see Rich is back on his meds again......

 

LOL

 

Keep it up, Fred... as long as I finish ahead of you, that's all that matters!


Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#18 Bill from NH

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:37 AM

Ken is quite a competitor. I used to race with him & his dad, Al, at Modelville Hobby in the early 70's. I didn't very often finish higher than him.


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#19 Uncle Fred

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 05:38 PM

Rich Hofer underestimates his building/tuning abilities.  In general it seems a heavier more flexible car with softer small diameter hubs runs better on the DSC track. Rich ran a light car and it worked! 


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