Shanon Buckingham: “I don’t have a problem with the droop rule. I don’t have a problem with any of those rules. The problem I got is the rules being different.”
Shanon Buckingham finished runner-up in the 2017 Southern Nationals Series standings. He one of the many drivers that bounces between multiple regional and national dirt late model series divisions.
The Double Down Motorsports driver was a competitor in the debut event featuring the new droop rule. The rule is designed to bring the cars closer to earth upon throttle, among other things.
You ran the first race with the droop rule. How did it go?
“It went ok. I don’t have a problem with the droop rule. I don’t have a problem with any of those rules. The problem I got is the rules being different,” Shanon Buckingham explains to RacingNews.co.
“I give Ray a pretty hard time. And I think Ray is sincere in his intentions. But, it’s hard to run regional series and national series when you got two different sets of rules.”
“They say it’s not a big change. To me, it’s a pretty big change. I heard the other guys interviews, ‘It was 5 minutes to change the car.’ It wasn’t 5 minutes. It took me two hours.”
“In the shop, just adjusting on the car to get it to pass the race tech. I’m sure the next time will go quicker because we’re a little more educated now.”
It took you two hours to hook the chain up? Or are you talking about 2 hours to put a different setup on it? 2 hours? Help me understand.
“No, you just gotta change the car. Just cause I hooked that chain up didn’t mean that my deck was right. My deck was still high for Ray’s rule versus what it would be for the Lucas rule.”
“You gotta manipulate the race car to get the deck back down. I have to change two corners. When you start changing different corners on the race car, it affects everything.”
I assume you have to adjust the left rear and the right front?
“Yeah. And it may not be a big deal. It may be a little smoke and mirrors. Last year, we went to Florence 3 times with Ray, [we] went up there and ran his regional series.”
“Then when Lucas went there — We ran with Lucas regular show then the North/South. We did good at both of those. We were on the pole at the Lucas show, which we faded, it was my fault. We started 6th in the North/South.”
“All that’s because I went there with Ray and got good track time and got a good set of notes. When I go to a regional race at a race track, it helps me get track time. It helps me put together a notebook. So, when I got back for a national show, I’m ready!”
“Well, now I’m gunna go with a different notebook. It’s definitely gunna take the confidence away.”
What Shanon is saying is that the cars are now completely different. He’ll need a different setup for the regional show and the national show, at the same track.
“That’s my takeaway. I don’t got a problem with the rule. I’ve got a problem with going outside of what the national series are doing.”
“I think most of the guys, they aspire to go and run nationally at some point. It’s all about more time and more experience. That experience is putting together your notes and what you’re comfortable with.”
“I’m on the fence. Standalone, if everybody adopted that rule, that’s great. I got no problem with it. But, the fact that it’s different bothers me a little bit.”
Well, would you want to see that? Where it goes across the board?
“I just want to see it across the board. I don’t care how they do it. I don’t care whether they do a droop rule or they don’t. I just think it should all be the same.”
“I think your feeder classes should feed into the national class. You shouldn’t have to have a different race car and a different setup to run that.”
Well, that’s a little bit of a different discussion. Talking about how the national series is kind of separating itself from the local and regional levels.
“Well, have they separated themselves? I think the regional guys are separating themselves. I don’t see the national guys making rules that are changing. I’m seeing the regional guys making rules.”
“FASTRAK and SECA came out with different rules this year too. That wasn’t the national guys doing it. I think they should follow the national guys lead.”
“If the national guys say, ‘Hey, we’re gunna run 4″ spoilers this year.’ I think everybody else should go to 4″ spoilers. If you don’t, then you don’t have the strength in numbers.”
“Just like having a 4 cylinder class that’s in a 3 state area. If you got 5 different rules for a handful of cars. How strong is that gunna be? If you have the same rule across the board, for everybody, you stand to have a lot better car count.”
“The different rules is not going to show up now. But, I think it hurts the class as a whole.”
The local guys probably can’t afford to have multiple cars or even multiple setup variants for the same track. When they aren’t doing it full-time, I don’t see them putting in the time or having the time to swap back and forth.
“If they can’t then the regional guys are marrying them to that one series. Maybe that’s their intent. It’s not my intent. I intend to move forward, go bigger and better, all the time.”
“I don’t wanna just be a local racer or regional racer. I wanna be able to run nationally. When it gets to the point where I have to have two different race cars, I’ll just have to make a decision.”
“I’m not against the rule. I don’t really agree with the reasoning. But, if the powers want to make the rule, for whatever reason, I just wish it would stay the same across the board.”
Shanon Buckingham is scheduled to return to the Southern Nationals Series on April 6th at Crossville Speedway. Followed will be four more Southern Nationals’ races in the month of April.
Related: Ricky Weiss discusses the droop rule