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gary tomkins

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gary tomkins last won the day on June 14

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About gary tomkins

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  1. There’s some confusion regarding some terms describing track conditions. When a track gets black and slick ( like Fulton for the Outlaw 200) that is what we (racers) refer to as “dry slick” or “black slick”. That black stuff you see on the track surface is not rubber but actually oils and resins that get sucked out of the tires and deposited onto the surface. That’s why it’s slippery. It’s also why a tire that has been ground works better, at least initially, than one that hasn’t. Because the area of the tire that no longer has the oils and resins gets ground away to fresh rubber with the oils and resins in it which helps it work better. A “rubbered up” or “rubbered in” track is when a particular groove, usually around the bottom, becomes significantly faster than any other groove because rubber actually gets deposited from the tires onto the track. As a driver you usually feel it before you see it happen. It can just part of a turn or the whole track that gets rubbered up. If you were to look at that area it would look dull black instead of shiny. As a fan it would probably be first noticed when the lap times start to get quicker and then the cars will start to gravitate to a single groove, and there’s also a lot less, if any passing. And sometimes you can smell rubber (I’ve actually smelled it in the racecar at times). Hope this clears things up.
  2. I've driven for teams that had primary sponsors that paid a LOT of money, and have driven for teams that had the name on the 1/4 panel of someone who helped buy the frame and body. Had a few that had their own business name on there too. I believe the range is quite large. BTW Dendis Companies sell sand and gravel, do farming and real estate. Mohawk Northeast is an engineering firm in Connecticut.
  3. gary tomkins

    Yuke tires

    I've actually seen that done and all that happens is that the track is dusty because there will still be cars running down there because it is the shortest way around. And not watering the bottom groove would be tough to do at most tracks because the turns are banked, any water put down in the corners would find it's way to the bottom.
  4. gary tomkins

    Yuke tires

    I always hear people say, " If you hate Yuke tires, just don't get too close to them", but here's the deal. Drivers, at least good ones, are competitive people. They like to compete and to win. When driving a race car on a track, you are doing so at the edge of grip and you are constantly looking for better grip. And guess where the most grip on a dirt track is? Right next to those damn yuke tires. (unless there's a good cushion). If you can hook your left rear tire on the brown patch right by those tires it makes it feel like the car is on rails. You can move up the track a couple of feet and it feels like your on ice. The problem with that is that you are entering the corner, again at the edge of grip, probably a little sideways, trying to set the car for the corner and to get as close as you can to the first tire. I guess maybe the only comparison would be to take your passenger car through a parking lot and trying to get as close to the light poles as possible while doing 50-60 mph and turning, but it's still really not the same. You can't compare going down the road with the trees, guard rails, and walls, etc. because most roads have one thing that dirt tracks do not, LINES. You use lines on the road every day to judge where to drive your vehicle, it makes it very easy to miss all those hazards. There isn't that option on a dirt track, so as a driver you have to judge for yourself, and if you're off a little or the car moves a little unexpectedly, there's a good chance there will be a caution flag thrown for you and your race is over. Oh and if you get by the first one ok, then you have to deal with the next one and so on until you exit the corner. So I guess what I'm saying about that is if tracks with yuke tires had lines to mark the inside of the track, there would be less cars hitting the tires. My favorite inside the corner marker is a berm, but there may be issues with water drainage. Jeremy Corcoran did it right though when he put the half buried tires inside the corners at Canandaigua. He used truck tires, not car tires, so they lasted a little longer, but still wouldn't damage the car if hit while at the same time keeping cars off the infield. BTW last I knew they were used for every corner there except for the entrance of turn 3 because there's a drainage pipe there that the wall protects. One more thing about those tires, at least in turn 4 grass has grown to the edge of the turn which a) helps mark the inside of the turn, and b) is another reason to stay off the infield (grass has no traction). I like a guard rail second best because it has some give to it if it's hit, and I prefer a wall before yuke tires. Bob Miller, using a ditch full of water to mark the inside of a turn is a bad idea, Glenn actually had a ditch on the inside of 1 and 2 at Canandaigua for a few weeks one year ( I believe early 90's). When it was dry everybody ran their left front in it, when it was wet, water got splashed onto the track. the Jersey barriers were installed soon after that. When I raced in Australia in 2007 and 2009 they used a white chalk line to mark the inside at some of the tracks. Depending on what track you were at, you would either get yelled at on the one way radio if you hit it or crossed it or as with what happened to me at Lismore, you get docked 2 spots, and I just brushed it with my left front in one of the heats. They didn't play favorites there though as they docked Mark Robinson, who was one of the top runners there, also.
  5. gary tomkins

    358 tracks

    The Hoosier dirt modified tire is a "control" tire. It is not designed for optimal performance, but rather the ability with only 3 compounds, 2 for the left side, to be able to run a variety of tracks, and usually have pretty good longevity. The American Racer dirt modified tire is a "performance" tire. It's designed for optimal performance, and there are more compounds available to fine tune the performance of the car to a certain track. Yes an AR is faster, but it usually doesn't last as long as a Hoosier tire would. They both have contingencies for using their product. So it's usually a matter of personal preference. I know some racers that love AR's and hate Hoosiers and vice versa. But I will say this, I think spec tires have helped save racers money, especially if you are racing tracks you know pretty well because then you will need less of a selection of tires then you would with an open tire rule. I never raced a modified before the tire rules were implemented, but I did race a Sportsman car and we would have certain compounds we ran in the heats and then usually harder tires for the feature. The tire bill was brutal (btw I never bought used tires, why buy 1/2 a tire for half price, what are you really saving?). I can't think of any major division or sanctioning body that doesn't have a tire rule, and I have yet to hear any racer complain about that.
  6. I would say as far as Hoosiers go, things are pretty fair for everybody, there's only 3 compounds available for the right side and 2 for the left, and usually the 500 compound that could be used on the right rear is only used at a few tracks for long distance races, the 500 right front is never used . The only advantage the big teams might have is the ability to have more tires and wheels to use, but most tracks everybody has a pretty good idea what is needed for compounds and stagger.
  7. Actually they run a 500 on the right rear at ESW. For the Central New York tracks, Canandaigua is usually the hardest on a right rear. If the track is fast the tire can blister, especially if you run the outside. There's been times where I was the fasted on the cushion, but would drop down and run the bottom every few laps just to try and keep the right rear from blistering. Fulton, Brewerton, Weedsport and Oswego are much easier on tires. Actually the problem at Oswego can be that the tires will seal over during a caution so that's why you'll see so many pit stops to change tires. The St. Lawrence area and north sees a lot more tire heat, though at the 2015 SDS Fall Nationals we finished 2nd with a 300 right rear on.The temps were very cold and the track had a lot of moisture in it so the right rear didn't heat up much. We might've won had the right rear not gotten a hole in it and started to go slowly flat. Granby is one of the few places that the right front gets hot so sometimes a 400 is run in the SDS race. Though there are tire rules, there's still enough options that you can improve or hurt the cars performance depending on what decisions you make with tires.
  8. First off let me say that tire rules absolutely work. When you only have a few compounds to choose from there's less inventory needed and that saves racers money. It doesn't matter to me who gets a "cut" of the tire money, if I have less tires and wheels to worry about, then that saves me time and money. The rules were opened up to allow siping, grinding and grooving because the big teams were finding ways to do it anyway. I know one team that had an old pick up truck with wheel adapters on it so that modified wheels could be bolted on. They then ran up and down a back road until the tires were scuffed up. They then dirtied them up a little and it was hard to tell that something had been done to the tires, but it was clearly an advantage. Tire prep is a necessary evil, it's part of the game now. The only tires I usually groove are the front ones after the edges of the tread get a little rounded, though there are times I will do it when they're new. I know there are teams that spend time doing the rears too, but I've never noticed a big difference. To me getting the compounds in the tires to work is the most important thing. I've been a crew guy, driver and an owner, and none of them are easy, but by far the crew is the most under appreciated. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means, but I always try to at least say thank you to the people working on the cars I drive. People that take time out of their lives to work on a car that they don't get to drive truly are special, racing wouldn't exist without them!
  9. When I drove for the Honeoye Auto Parts team in the early 2000's, if we got in the top 5 we could break even for the expenses for that race. LOLR for the most part is pretty easy on tires as long as the track isn't too fast, in that case there's a good chance you'll use the right rear up, otherwise you should be able to get a couple of weeks out of it. The left rear is usually 3 or 4 weeks, same with the right front, and as long as the left front holds air it is fine to run. Fuel is another thing though, usually between 15 - 20 gallons a week and maybe more, so that's not cheap. One thing that's good about LOLR is that the track rarely beats the car up so that saves on expenses too. What I meant when I said "keep up with expenses" was to say that you may be spending a few hundred to race instead $1000. People love to condemn the "big" teams, but one they do that helps out others is that they sell their used equipment well before it's used up, and they rarely try to get top dollar for it. I know of many racers that got equipment at a reasonable price that greatly upgraded their program.
  10. I believe that points are the reward for loyalty, if you miss a night of racing, you don't get points for that night. ( That being said, since LOLR is a DIRT member track, I believe if there is a SDS race on their scheduled race night they have to give show up points.) But if there is another big race that a competitor wants to go to on a Saturday night, then hopefully that competitor makes a good showing to show what kind of competition races at LOLR weekly. I don't think that policy will drive some of the big teams away. The purse structure is such that you can keep up with expenses if you do well. Plus the more you race, the better you and your team will be, (as long as you can keep up with expenses), I think it's even more true now because of the changes being made in the rear suspensions of these cars that still have to be sorted out and more laps are the best way to do that.
  11. gary tomkins

    raceflix

    We lost a right rear wheel, which was brand new btw. They had a red flag at one point so we could put more tearoffs on our helmets. That was the first year that the track was shortened up. I remember there was a huge rock that was embedded in the track in turn one.
  12. gary tomkins

    raceflix

    I'd like to see that one too as I've never seen a video of that race.
  13. gary tomkins

    Engine 101

    Not to get off subject, but that car is the one that was involved in the big wreck with Sammy Swindell and Buzzie at Syracuse. It's also the "corn" car from Weedsport if you know what I mean. lol
  14. gary tomkins

    Engine 101

    I worked on John Birosh's cars back when he ran mods and used Danbury Competition engines. We had good luck with their stuff and being the fact that John was about the only one running Ford engines, they made competitive power. I ran Sportsman for just over a year and a half and had Danbury Competition build my MOPAR motors. We had 6 wins in just over half a season the first year and had 7 wins our second year when we had a part break in the motor when I over revved it. We had to use another motor while we saved up money to get it fixed, but as soon as we could pay for it, the motor was quickly fixed and we went on to win the Canandiagua Sportsman Championship. Joe was always good to me and did great work. I can guarantee that every motor builder out there has someone that has not been happy with their work, or how much they were charged, etc., while others think they are great. It's the nature of the beast, sometimes things just don't work out. It's like that in all aspects of racing, and unfortunately when it's your hard earned money that you feel has been wasted it just amplifies your unhappiness. We've all been there.
  15. Yes that car was pretty fast everywhere we went!
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