Aero grip, mechanical grip and the rules box that the engineers have to work with on the “absolutely horrible” dirt late model machine — All while some teams just complain to the rule makers to catch up
Kevin Rumley is the mad scientist behind the grip on the #49 machine. They’ve won championships together in the #6 car. For a brief moment in time, they parted ways. Rumley then rejoined Jonathan Davenport last year with the G.R. Smith team.
This year, Jonathan Davenport is driving for a brand new team owned by Lance Landers. Rumley was brought on board the crew and the winning continues.
Davenport is currently the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point leader. He’s now picked up 6 wins in 29 races LOLMDS events.
These days, how much of the performance of the race cars is aero versus mechanical grip?
“We’re conscious of an aero platform for grip but it’s big things. We’re mainly concerned about mechanical grip,” Kevin Rumley, engineer for Jonathan Davenport explains to RacingNews.co .
“Today, we’re on tires that we got to match into the race track so we worry about mechanical grip, far over aerodynamics. But, we still gotta be conscious of sealing off the front end and getting the aero platform where it needs to be.”
You are the mechanical guy. And I’ve seen you innovate things in the past and then they make a rule to stop you. So, which one’s are your favorite? Where they came in and said, ‘This is too far ahead. This is too smart.’ “
“None of them are my favorite. I hate for someone to say I can’t do somethin’.”
Well, which one’s are you most proud of? Or you’re not proud of it? Because in my mind, that’s like an award.
“It is. There’s been so many rules that we’ve created as a group. Just things like pit signaling sticks.”
“Restarts. Davenport would get in the best part of the race track.”
“And having rules is a compliment. But, some of the rules against us have been because of intimidation. In the old days, there wouldn’t be any rules. You would just have to work harder.”
“The new train of thought, since 2014 when the sanctioning body started getting into suspension rules — It’s easier for the competitors just to whine and complain and get a rule created than it is for them just to work hard and get as good.”
You would prefer it be run what you brung?
“No. There needs to be a box. But, what you do inside that box needs to be open.”
So you have the ability to innovate things?
“Well, part of the problem is these cars are absolutely horrible. There’s so many problems, from day one. So, it makes it easy to make big changes and get a lot of speed out of it.”
“I have a problem with a spec left rear suspension that’s a horrible suspension. We’re spec to run a 4-link system on the left rear and it’s an absolutely horrible suspension for these cars.”
“Like, a bar could fall off and you’d be better. So, how much room does that give people?”
And have have you ever had a bar fall off?
Accidentally on purpose?
“No. Not on purpose.”
The part pictured above was engineered by Kevin Rumley. My understanding of it is that it’s a part from the 80’s that was rectified to fit the current spec of car.
A few years ago, it was banned.
Tell me about ‘The Device’. I’ve seen pictures. But, now that it’s outlawed… What does that thing do?
“Exactly what we’re trying to do now.”
You’re not going to say what it is?
“It’s very special.”
I know which ever side of the rear end it was hooked up on, it tightened up that side.
“Mmmm, no. It was a modifier.”
Hmm, very vague.