Today for the A to Z challenge I’ve invited Kasey McCormick to educate us about a few racing terms. For those of you unfamiliar with my books, Kasey is Race’s girlfriend, Race is Cody’s uncle, and Cody is the protagonist of In the Blood and Getting Sideways. Kasey is also a mentor to Jess, who’s Cody’s girlfriend and the protagonist of Driven and Redline. Got that? There’s going to be a test. 🙂
Kasey has her hands full running a restoration shop, sponsoring two cars, and trying to keep Race and Cody out of trouble, so I was grateful when she agreed to give me a few minutes of her time. I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed like that.
Kasey: Yes. I’ve heard you tend to run about half a step below total insanity, yourself.
Lisa: I wouldn’t have to if they’d invent a 30-hour day.
Kasey: Tell me about it.
Lisa: Well, since you’re so busy, why don’t we just get on with the racing definitions? Race’s last letter was “R”, so you’ll be starting with “S.”
Kasey: Oh, you’re giving me the easy ones. “S” is for stagger. That’s the difference in size of the tires on the right side of the car verses the left side. When competing on an oval track, placing smaller tires on the inside wheels allows the car to turn more readily. Of course there are all sorts of nuances I could get into, but I don’t think your readership would necessarily be interested in those things.
Lisa: Right. Mostly my audience is made up of readers and authors. And, of course, my sister.
Kasey: Is she the one who has her eye on Race?
Lisa: I hate to break this to you, but pretty much all my female readers have their eye on Race. You don’t have to worry about my sister, though. She’s married now. And in your time, she’s Jess and Cody’s age. So, moving on to “T” …
Kasey: That would be toe. It’s a suspension adjustment. If the front tires point slightly inward—you might envision this as being pigeon-toed—the car is toed-in. If the tires point outward, the car is toed-out. With street cars you run a little toe-in so when the vehicle moves forward the steering becomes neutral and the tires wear evenly. Toe-in also helps keep the car stable when it’s moving in a straight line. On a race car you run just a bit of toe-out. This sacrifices stability on the straightaways, but increases it in the corners, since a toed-out car always wants to be turning. A car that’s toed-in will tend to dart from side to side while cornering, making it harder to control. Of course we’re talking about minute adjustments here. Changing the toe by 1/16 of an inch can make a big difference when everything else is set up properly.
Lisa: Great explanation. I know you could go on for hours about cornering science, so I appreciate you keeping that brief. How about “U?”
Kasey: “U” is for understeer, the more scientific term for “pushing.” A car with understeer doesn’t turn properly. Instead, it wants to go in a straight line, so it rides up the track, making it difficult for the driver to keep it in the lower groove. This allows competitors to make an inside pass, which is something you want to avoid.
Lisa: Nice summary. I have to say, I was sort of worried you’d get carried away like Jess did.
Kasey: I don’t have time to get carried away. My shop is in complete chaos. The auto parts store delivered the wrong starter for a Nova I should have had back to the customer yesterday, something went wrong with the new paint Jake used on the Fury, and the machine shop is late with the crank and block for the DeSoto.
Lisa: Wow. And I thought I had problems working out issues with my book cover.
Kasey: That’s not to mention all the mundane details of life. Like having to stop to buy groceries after work. I swear, Cody’s eating us out of house and home. Have you seen how much food that kid can put away?
Lisa: Yeah, his appetite’s kind of legendary.
Kasey: And if Race doesn’t stop nagging me about leaving receipts all over the shop I think I’m going to scream.
Lisa: I sort of I have to side with Race on that one. Keeping track of your expenses is an important part of running a business.
Kasey: Please, don’t start. One of you is bad enough.
Lisa: Well, I’m sure Jess will sympathize. It anyone can understand that it’s more fun to tune up a Mustang than file paperwork, it’s her.
Kasey: True, but I’m not going to burden that poor girl with my troubles. She’s got enough to deal with. You really put her through the wringer in Redline.
Lisa: I’ve been getting accused of that a lot lately.
Kasey: No offense, but you might deserve it. I wasn’t too happy when you forced me to reveal my deepest secret.
Lisa: Uh, yeah. I’m sorry I had to do that, but you have to admit it was about time. It took me four books to drag it out of you.
Kasey: For good reason.
Lisa: Um, okay, well, I don’t want this to turn into a roast, so how about we get back to the racing terms?
Kasey: Aren’t we finished?
Lisa: Yeah, I guess we are.
Kasey: All right, then I need to get back to work. And I suppose I don’t really hold it against you for making me go public with my secret. It did help Jess, after all.
Lisa: Honestly, I couldn’t have made you tell if you weren’t ready to. And I thought it was awfully brave of you. Thanks for helping me out with the guest post.
Kasey: It was a pleasure. But since you’re the boss in my world, do you think you could make it worth my time by arranging for a few of those 30-hour days?