Your fire extinguisher gauge...
Your fire extinguisher gauge should be in the green. If it isn't, take it out and get it recharged. Photo by John Gibson
After the car has been set up and the caster and camber is set, take some time and tighten every nut and bolt that makes up the front suspension. This will not only ensure that everything is tight, but it will help keep your setup the same from the beginning of the race til the end. Also make sure to use safety wire on the bolts and nuts that make up the front suspension. Doing this will make sure no nut can back off during a race. It's not a bad practice to go ahead and start doing the same for all of your shock nuts and bolts as well.
Locknuts are a must-have item for parts on the car where failure could lead directly to a crash. This includes shock mounts, track bar bolts, truck arm bolts, and truck arm U-bolts. When a bolt breaks on one of these parts, the car's handling will change so drastically that you'll likely end up in the wall. If the bolt threads into something where you can't get a locknut on the bolt, then use a thread adhesive to help keep the bolts secure.
This season take some time...
This season take some time to double-check all of your safety equipment to make sure that when something like this happens you can be safe as possible. Photo by Kevin Thorne
From week to week you should crawl underneath the car and make sure that there are no leaks in your exhaust. Any type of leak can not only rob the engine of horsepower, but it can also affect the driver's ability to put the car in the winner's circle. This past year at Motor Mile Speedway in virginia, I had an exhaust leak that I was unaware of until after the race. I was only 100 laps into a 250-lap race when I was starting to get extremely winded. It turned out that the carbon monoxide I was breathing from an exhaust leak in front of the cockpit was having a huge effect on my driving ability.
J-B Weld offers a quick fix for an exhaust leak. This is a temporary fix, so do not make the mistake of continuing to use it on the exhaust from race to race.
The upper and lower control arms are hooked to the spindle by two ball joints. These allow the spindle to safely travel up and down at a consistent rate. You must make sure that you have a cotter key in the ball joint that will keep the ball joint nut from backing off.
A simple weld from the ball...
A simple weld from the ball joint to the upper control arm will ensure that the ball joint cannot back off under racing conditions. Photo by John Gibson
The other thing you can do to ensure that the ball joints do not break loose is to take a simple welder and tac-weld the ball joint to the upper control arm. Make sure that you weld it in a way that will not effect the travel that the car experiences. This is an old Cup trick that is still used.
Before you blast me for being too obvious, please hear me out-the positioning of your seat belts ensures your safety. The lap belt shouldn't be above your belly button. I always run mine where it sits directly on my belt buckle. Also invest in a decent seat belt harness. The standard four-link belt is not a bad choice, but I recommend a five- or six-link belt.
You must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The fact is that safety is often overlooked because of negligence, which is completely unacceptable! This safety component is not just for the elaborate nASCAR teams. The reason those cars are so safe is because of rules being set in place to provide the driver with the safest racing experience possible. During the course of this season take half a day and verify that your car is as safe as it can be. Do it not only for yourself or your driver, but also for the safety of your competitors.