Chassis Set Up, Race Fans, and Hammond Motorsports with Dave Hammond

Chassis Set Up, Race Fans, and Hammond Motorsports with Dave Hammond

Kate Dillon interviewed Dave Hammond of Hammond Motorsports and DIRTCAR USA on the Racing Insiders Podcast. As a RaceLogic instructor, specializing in suspension and beyond, Dave will bring a wealth of expertise to our show.

Kate and Dave discussed RaceLogic Chassis School, Hammond Set Up Plates, Hooker Harnesses, fire safety, cooling, RaceFan and Jones Blades, fuel, and engine temps. 

Be sure to join us for the 2024 CARS Racing Show, where you can find Hammond Motorsports in Booth 117. Dave will be happy to share his knowledge and answer any questions you may have! Meeting with exhibitors, like Dave, one on one and attaining their knowledge of the racing industry is a great advantage of attending the CARS Racing Show. Here are a few topics from this week’s episode:

  • Compensating Tire Sizes When Setting Angles with Hammond Setup Plates
  • Creation of Hammond Chassis Setup Plates
  • Bench Bleeding Brakes Before Install
  • IMCA Stock Cars Setup on Large Tracks VS Small Tracks
  • Summer Racing Cooling Tips
  • What Engine Temp is Too Hot for Summer Temperature?
  • Fan Blade and Fan Shroud Tips and Tricks

Compensating Tire Sizes When Setting Angles with Hammond Setup Plates (9:15)

Well, I’m gonna have everything square. A lot of times like what the stagger we run it’s not going to make that much of a difference if you’re under six inches of staggered. Now that’s something that I’ve always just done everything as square can be. So, if you really the tire size is rollout that’s the circumference. It doesn’t really change the center line from the axel tube down to the ground. So that’s just one thing that I’ve always worked with and it’s been really good for me. Everything square because even like in my my new car that I just built, I’ve got I’ve got everything square so the front wheels are parallel to each other the rear wheels are straight the wheel base left to right, same and why I do that is called simplicity. 

In this photo I noticed within the first three laps is that Davenport Speedway, the photographer’s on the outside for hot laps and hot laps is three laps. And that car gets over on the right front and it is pinned on the right rear. And by doing everything square, now I have a really good idea if I want to make an adjustment, what is going to do with the car. And it’s very important to know that, like if you got the right front forward, it makes it harder to get down on the nose. So it’s just I like simplicity plus it, it really helps with all the steering geometries and your tire rods, everything we’re on square. So when you turn the wheel left to right, and the way I designed the spindles, I’ve got this car to have right at an eighth inch Ackerman change from total lock left to total lock, right. So that’s something that a lot of people, they’re not that close on. And it really makes it so you can feel everything in this race car when you drive it.

Creation of Hammond Chassis Setup Plates (12:03)

Oh, just knew there needed to be something a hell of a lot simpler. I had a friend of mine, Ray Cox Jr. He’s a past IMCA National Champion. And I told him, I said you got to take that four bar off the car, it isn’t worth the hoop, you got to put a three link on it. I said, come get all the stuff you need. I have got all the equipment for holding the chassis, holding the rear end in place. Here’s everything you need go home, put it on. Well, he didn’t get the the tooling that I designed to hold the chassis or the tooling to hold the rear end. And he just put it on jack stands and did it. And long story short, he missed. And it was probably the worst I’ve ever seen him race and he’s a damn good racer. And, honestly, I don’t know how else to say it, but it pissed me off. And I was like we got to design something. And that’s how it came about. And all my tools, everything that I do. I design as a one man band. Another feature that I have with my business is of manufacturers of racecar parts or tools. I race myself so I know what I need. I don’t have Joe Blow over here telling me “well can you do this or do that for me”, I designed my own stuff. So and I know it works. And then I don’t get false feedback from racers that are just full of BS. So I design, like right now I’ve got a deal. And I’m trying to get it finalized. I’ve got one small problem with it. But hell, I can sit there and bleed my brakes with remote control. So I’m on a on a scooter where I can I can put my car on my dirt car pit lift that you actually sell and I sell. I raise it up in the air. And then I’ve got a deal that strokes the brake pedal with remote control and bleed the brakes. So the only problem I got with it, is you got to be perfectly brake fluid clean because if it hits the remote it chews the remotes up so I got to figure out how to get that fixed. So we got something that’s a little more user friendly if it gets brake fluid on it because I can’t sell this expensive piece and have brake fluid destroy it and then have a mad customer.

Bench Bleeding Brakes Before Install

What I do is we will bleed the masters themselves and that’s it. To do that, because inside the bores of the of the masters, there is some pockets that can get trapped air in there. So, but the, I don’t like doing gravity feed, or you crack the bleeder and you let it run because your master cylinder, this is what’s really dumb air goes to the highest side, so we got hanging brake pedals, so they’re higher than the calipers – stupid. So actually, I’m getting ready to build a couple more cars, and I’m going to put floor mount breaks and so my calipers are higher than my masters. Go back pavement stuff plus then you get a lot more room in there to mount your MSD box. Or if you can, luckily enough, have a sanction body let you run dual MSDs. Now you’ve really got enough room. So but if you just cracked the bleeders at the caliper and let the fluid flow through, it still got an air pocket way up yonder. So that’s why I just bleed the masters on a bench. And then, what I do is I start where my lines come out of the cockpit. There’s always a bulkhead fittings, and then I crack them there and and fart they’re out there and then just keep working down the line. And by the time you get to the caliper its done.

IMCA Stock Cars Setup on Large Tracks VS Small Tracks (16:54)

The gearing, obviously is going to be a lot different. So another thing that’s going to be different is you probably want to get with your shock and spring guy. And make sure that your shock package is got the right timing on it, because you’ll have a lot higher speed down the straightaway on corner entry. And I’m fortunate enough that I quit doing shocks a long time ago when I realized that is this either you got to do all shocks, or you’re going to do setup tools and chassis parts. So I sold the shock deal and we got we got guys like Wade Krause. He’s, he’s really one of my go to guys and then Robbie Bilbrey from down there in Alabama he’s another one of my go to guys. And there are some really good shock people in the industry that are just focused on doing shocks and shocks only. That’s what I recommend. And great choice. Yeah, I mean, that’s really, there’s some really good ones out there. And there’s some out there, they’ll sell you snake oil too. So watch out for them. But there’s, some really good ones there. And I’m very proud to work with Wade and Robbie on a regular basis with the chassis schools. And then both of them have done work for me over the years since I quit doing my own shocks. But as far as like on that half mile out there at Vegas, you might want to tighten up the toe on the car to keep scuff out of the front end. Make sure that you get really take the time and make sure that rear end housing isn’t bent. There’s a lot of things like that that you know you’re IMCA Stock Cars are so far down on power, that if you got if you’ve got a rear in this bent or the toes excessive out or scuffs speed off and that’s one thing with my setup plates that we can do is get everything nice and square we can set our toe tolerances much closer because we’re not relying on a tape measure and a paint scribe mark and a bent rim or are these junk sidewall tires that are all over the place so hell you don’t know what you got. And also with my setup plates now we can work with tow per wheel so we don’t end up having the left front towed in and the right front towed way out but overall it looks good. Well, that ain’t how it works. So in the setup plates, now if you got a Lucas Oil World Outlaw late models 950 horse, you’re going to drive through them problems. But we are your crate racing two barrel racing. It’s really really huge to take as much drag out of the car as possible because drag takes power. And I even work with when I quit working on a customer’s race cars but on my own cars I will take and lock the steering wheel and position when I got there as the steering buddy from Grant Pearl that’s just a badass piece. And you can work with the steering buddy with my plate and measure Ackerman and really see some things and Grant’s an innovator too, I really liked that cat. But you know, you just got to make sure that everything is right.

Summer Racing Cooling Tips (27:00)

Well, number one is you need to have a clean radiator. And if you’re a guy that takes a garden hose in blows air through the fins of the radiator, just take that radiator and throw it in the trash you done ruined it. It’s gonna sound bad, but I think you need three radiators need one in the car, one in the trailer for a spare, and the third one is in a dunk tank. And I’ve designed these aluminum tanks to soak the radiators, but they’re too damn expensive. So I don’t want to sell them, plus or oversized. But you should take a radiator,  go steal your kids swimming pool, and put the radiator in it. Fill the inside of the radiator up with water and then let it flow out and make sure that your inlets are sticking up radiator cap on. If you got a water pressure port on it, cap that off and then fill that water all the way up to where the tanks are underwater. And I say don’t get water inside the radiator. But let it sit for 24 hours. Pull the radiator out. And then you can take the radiator and hold it about six inches off the ground and squarely drop it down and let it bounce. And then do that and let it soak in the water. You’re gonna do this two- three times. But why I want three radiators is you cannot take a radiator, wash it out stuff in the car, because it won’t be dry and as soon as you get on dusty racetrack now the radiator is full of mud because dust hit water and turns to mud and by having three that means your spares ready to go. So like this time of the year I wouldn’t be a bit afraid run a weekend like up here we run three to four nights a week. Run that weekend, take the radiator out wash it, put your spare that’s in the trailer in the car, take the one that’s been washed and is good and air it out. Now it can sit in the trailer for a week and get extra aired out. So you keep it in constant rotation. A couple other things that I found out we have got some awesome fan blades out there. CJ Jones and Travis shucks have killed the they have killed it. They’ve made awesome fan blades. And the one thing and I’m not knocking them but what I have seen is a couple things. They sometimes create too much airflow and they actually suck the dirt up off the racetrack and start impacting the radiator. And so if you don’t think your radiator can hold any dirt I was a dumbass a couple of weekends ago and I ran up on the cushion a little bit too far like, I hooked to cushion the left rear thinking I got 900 horse when in fact I got a damn crate engine. So I packed the radiator full of dirt and I was like, I wonder how much I added to it. So I got two brand new Keizer radiators. And I weighed the brand new one. And I put the one out of my car drained of water, there’s no water in it but just full of dirt and had four pounds of dirt in it. Ouch. Yeah, it was my fault. But you need to keep rotation, another thing to do with cooling make sure you get a good shroud, have a good water pump, and I know is this time of the year you don’t really need need this. But in the spring and in the fall, the ARTs Thermostat Systems is the only way to go it is so nice. You don’t have to sit and line up and run your car and burn excess fuel off. And I got hooked up with Art and man it’s been a hell of a ride and really appreciate the guy has really opened my eyes and taught me a lot about cooling. And I thought I knew quite a bit. But you know that’s where I’ve been very fortunate you affiliate yourself with the correct people. And that all helps and like you know there again, Ben Baker at AFCO has really helped a lot. I’ve learned a lot. But make sure you do the radiators exchange. Don’t clean them with a garden hose while they’re in the car. You’re just wasting time. Another thing, spend the money and get the AN fittings and the hose for the upper and get the good mandrel bent aluminum and the good silicone hose. That way you can never crush it. And the most important gauge in the race car is the water pressure gauge. And I got a whole slew of gauges in my car. And this week I’m going to pluck them all out but the water pressure because when I packed my radiator I ran a heat race and it got hot and I didn’t have time to change radiators. And it got hot and I had a little three blade fan on so I threw the Gorsek Six blade on and that actually helped lead me through the night. But I looked looked down I seen the temperature gauge you know it was like 240 but I looked at the water pressure I could see that it had water pressure so I’m like screw just keep going so that’s still the only gauge that matters.

Yeah, that’s one of the biggest tips that I picked up from Ben Baker from AFCO is the water pressure gauge because you know you’re gonna have like a rock come through your radiator. Yes and and you know, you’re dumping water and you have no idea that it’s happening your water pressure gauge or your water temperature gauge isn’t telling you anything because it’s not measuring any steam but you can blow up an engine you know so it’s it’s kind of a you know to make sure and I know something we’ve talked about on the show before is that if you’re not pushing water don’t worry about it as far as water goes you know as long as you’re not pushing water but as soon as you are that’s that’s a problem but the water pressure will keep you from blowing up an engine when you destroy a radiator for sure.

What Engine Temp is Too Hot for Summer Temperature? (53:09)

Did it push water? You know, if you didn’t push water, I don’t recommend running that temperature. But if it didn’t push it should be okay but man do whatever it takes to get that down to like 200, 210, 220. I mean you’re basically 20 degrees hotter but you got a higher pressure radiator cap. You can raise the boiling point of the water so you can get away with that better. But by putting a higher pressure radiator cap on, you better not have a “ching chong” radiator in the car and you better have good hoses. Because you got some of those those cheap ass $89 radiators they’re going to blow the cores out and tanks out. All you’re going to do is get someone hurt with hot water. Make sure you have a good good radiator in that car. Good hoses and a higher pressure cap but figure out why it is and isn’t running hot because it’s full of dirt. Is it running hot because you got cheap radiator hoses that are kinking so that’s all things to look at.

Fan Blade and Fan Shroud Tips and Tricks (55:53)

I would still say run a shroud for the simple fact that if you got a fan from from Kate, I’m sure it’s the race fan or Jones fans. And by not having a shroud you’re running the risk of a rock coming up and hitting the blade. So you want to be proactive. And when you make your fan shroud don’t make just a square box and cut a hole in it and rivet a ring around the outside to get your depth right. Make the fan shroud to where it tapers from the radiator to the fan. So there’s no sharp edges to create turbulence to disrupt the airflow. So just take some time and make a nice fan shroud and that will protect your investment of your good fan blade that you have as well. And there’s nothing worse and I had a racer just do this. Now I’m not going to say whose fan it was. I don’t feel that that should be said. But he picked up a rock busted fan blade off and shoved it through his HD Kaiser radiator. So you lost a few hundred bucks on the fan. He lost, I think close to $400 on the radiator, plus a DNF. And it was a simple rock that caught it. And that could’ve been prevented with a fan shroud. 

“I can’t wait to be at the CARS Show – as far as trade show season this year. I’m going to do the CARS Show in Hickory, North Carolina.”

Dave Hammond

Hammond Motorsports specializes in the IMCA /UMP Dirt modified race cars. From building custom chassis parts to custom made shocks.  All of their shocks are built to fit your racing needs. Each shock is built one at a time, then run on our Maxwell shock dyno. All shocks are Serial numbered and that information is kept on file. HMS offers racing shocks, rear end housing repair and straightening, aluminum welding services, interior racecar body work, and race car body work for modified and late models.

You can find HMS online at, and on Facebook and YouTube.