By: BOBBY SWEENEY
GEORGETOWN, DE – Ryan Watt had the only Modified in the pits with duct-tape numbers, but don’t let looks deceive, as he led ten laps and finished on the podium. The car is a brand new Teo Pro Car specifically designed for a 4-link rear suspension setup.
The idea of the Late Model style rear suspension is nothing new in Modified racing, momentarily popular around the year 2000 before being ditched for being too finicky, having an extremely small “sweet spot” whereas the traditional torsion bar setup is much more forgiving. With the rapid exodus from torsion bars towards coil spring rear suspension in the last two seasons, it was only a matter of time before the 4-link made a return.
“When we built this 4-link, we thought it would be really good through the slick,” Watt noted. “We ended up being better on the heavy cushion. I thought it was going to be a bit of a handful up there but it was a lot more comfortable than I expected. For our first race in it, I wasn’t disappointed. It had a ton of drive off and we just got a little work to do in the black.”
Presently, there are only a handful of 4-link Modifieds on track. Most notably, Larry Wight has a car like Watt’s, with Wight taking a win with the 4-link at Chatham Speedway in Louisiana a couple weeks ago.
“It’s definitely different to drive,” said Watt. “It’s a bit harder, but at the same time the short rod coil deal (currently the popular choice among many) is hard to drive and not for everyone either. A lot of people tried the short rods on the coils and ended up back on bars, so it’s not for everyone but I’ve always felt comfortable with that package. I expect that situation to be pretty similar with what we got here.”
4-link rear suspensions are notably more complex than a standard torsion bar setup. More complexity means more adjustments, but Watt isn’t too worried about getting off-track with the additional options.
“There’s definitely more adjustment in this car than a normal torsion bar or coil package,” Watt stated. “Even though there’s a ton of adjustment, I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of where we need to be already, so I’m not too worried about over-adjusting myself and missing it completely. Teo gave us a ton of options back there being an experimental deal, I don’t think we’ll be using all of it since I feel we’re close, but having the option doesn’t hurt.”
With the advancements in the world of Late Model racing, and 4-link suspensions, over the past two decades, the 4-links may very well make a longer stay in the world of Modified racing than they did previously. Currently, the suspension setup is only legal in Short Track Super Series and unsanctioned competition, as DIRTcar has levied rules against the 4-links recently.