Rick Schwallie comments on Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tire testing

Every week, series officials collect samples for tire testing

Tire testing has been the story in recent years. In 2018, the number of tire test failures is as high as it’s probably ever been. Almost every time, the driver/team will claim false positives.

One series where we don’t hear much about tire testing is the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

How come we never have anybody that cheats in this series? While other series are having all kinds of problems. This one doesn’t. Or maybe you do have them and we don’t hear about them?

“That’s not the case,” series director Rick Schwallie confirms to RacingNews.co .

Why is that? What do you do differently?

“We use a different lab for starters.”

“Our tire results are in a binder that’s stored in a safe of the motorhome. Anybody in the pit area is welcome to come and look at any of that. There’s no photos of it, just whenever they want to look at it.”

“Stuff is being tested every week.”

Just about everyone uses the same lab for dirt late model testing. That lab is based in Hudson, North Carolina. According to testing records from 2016, that lab uses a GC-MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) testing machine. The tire testing fees are fairly cheap at just $85 per tire test.

However, the LOLMDS uses an alternative lab.

Steve Francis leads the LOLMDS to green in the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway
Steve Francis leads the LOLMDS to green in the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway

Tire limits

Aside from tire testing, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has also been doing something new for the 2018 racing season. Ahead of the race weekend, series officials brand the tires with a unique marketing.

What are those officials doing with the tires before the race? What’s the goal there?

“What we’re doing this year is a cost saving measure,” Schwallie explains. It’s been well received so far.”

“We learned that the elite of our sport a lot of times will change tires during the course of the night and never run them again. Even Steve Francis, who’s now our tech guy, when he raced last year they were going through at least 8 but closer to 11 tires. Per night on the race track.”

“The only thing we’re doing is marking a set to begin with. You gotta run it all night. Then, in some cases, you get a right rear [spare]. The most you can go through is 5 [at Lucas Oil Speedway].”

“One of the top 3 on Thursday of the Show-Me 100 had his right rear on all night long. So, he only went through 4 of them.”

“It’s just an attempt to keep it balanced. Where guys aren’t having to spend so much money. Not every racer races that way. If anything, it also closes up the gap between the racers that aren’t able to race that way. They’re now racing on the same type of tire budget as the guy that can afford to spend more.”

“It’s a win-win.”


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