PHOTO: Bump stops control how close to the ground race cars can get entering corners. Here, Dan McHattie — without bump stops — barrels into Turn 1 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last year. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson
VMM Correspondent

The TD Bank 250 weekend was, in one word, awesome.

There were cars, a lot of cars, in the pit area on Saturday. The Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model race was great. The ending to the Valenti Modified Racing Series was great. Watching VMRS victor Joe Doucette, who claimed his first victory with the series, in victory lane will be something to remember. Hearing the crowd react to Mike Rowe as he was introduced in the PASS race will be something to remember. Hearing the crowd as Kyle Busch and Patrick Laperle duked it out will be something to remember, as well as how they reacted after Kyle won the TD Bank 250.

The entire weekend was electric. There was a buzz there that was unmistakable on Saturday. People were excited to be there, from the Late Model guys who were preparing for the 250, to the Super Late Model guys who were returning for the first time in over four years.

I hope the exact same format is back for Saturday next year. It went quick, there was lots of great racing, and the crowd was really into it.

Sunday was just as good. Watching qualifying play out was great. Seeing the surprises to qualify and some of the big names go home is the name of the game, and it’s always interesting.

Just one request, though. Can we please go back to one last chance qualifier, winner take all?


Football’s back! YES!


Bump stops are one of the most talked about racing topics, starting directly at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and trickling all the way down to the top divisions at your local race tracks. If you went up to a race team that uses bump stops, such as the PASS Super Late Models that were featured at the Oxford Plains Speedway this past Saturday, and asked to see what a bump stop is, you’d tell the team they were lying.

It’s just a circular piece rubber. That’s it.

The bump stops, or “bump rubbers,” are a simple piece of equipment but are hugely important to teams that use them. But, they are limited to mainly Super Late Models in the northeast and are outlawed on an American-Canadian Tour Late Model. Why?

Figuring bump stops out takes testing, and lots of it. Teams have to test extensively to make bump stops work correctly. And testing takes a lot of time, and most importantly, money, which goes directly against ACT constant pursuit of trying to control costs.

Bump stops are used on the front shock absorbers, limiting the travel of the shock as the suspension compresses. By limiting the travel, teams can run extremely soft springs, keeping the front end planted in the corners and helping the car turn.

That’s it. That’s all a bump stop does. But, so much can go wrong and there is such a fine line with getting them correct.

If a team that is running bump stops puts a 100-lb spring on the front, it equates that it takes 100 pounds to compress the spring one inch. As the car compresses, the spring continues to compress until the bump stops on the shock stop the movement of the front end. When the shock hits the bump stop, it becomes equivalent to putting a massive spring in that corner of the race car. The force required to compress the front end jumps dramatically when the shock comes in contact with the bump stop.

Depending on the spring and bump stop, it can require more than ten times the amount of force to push the front suspension down. Again, it would be like putting a 1,000-lb spring in the front end in the middle of the race track. And, if that isn’t adjusted right, the race car can do unpredictable things on the track.

The benefits of bump stops are huge. If you can get them adjusted right, bump stops allow cars to run low to the ground, without scraping the ground. They can make a car transfer the weight differently in the middle of the corner. If a car is having problems turning, a bump stop can “add” spring to the left front corner as the driver turns in, helping it turn.

Drivers often say that bump stops improve the steering response of the car in the corners, and that it requires very little steering to turn the car in the middle of the corner.

There are many types of bump stops, resulting in different rates, sizes, and hardness ratings. These different bump stops are the way teams can tune the front end of their race cars.

Bump stops aren’t limited to just asphalt racing. There are advantages and disadvantages with them in dirt racing, most notably with dirt late model racing. But as with asphalt racing, teams need to test, test, and test some more to get them to work.

As always, email me at with your questions, ideas, or comments.