Tech Talk · Mike Neff · Tuesday April 17, 2012
Matt McCall is the race engineer / secretary for the No. 22 Camping World Truck out of the Richard Childress Racing stable. An experienced race driver, he’s also an engineer with a degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. McCall is a former UARA Series champion, the first repeat titlist in the history of the series and Hickory Motor Speedway’s track champion. He is also a former Robert Yates development driver, running in the Nationwide Series and once a Cup Series prospect who has now transitioned successfully to a more technical role.
Oh, and did we mention that, in addition to his jack-of-all-trades resume, McCall is a third degree black belt in Karate? The man even runs his own racing business, Matt McCall Motorsports, also known as MX3. Frontstretch sat down with this busy man before the Truck series race at Rockingham to talk about the upcoming trip to Kansas.
Mike Neff: Getting ready to head to Kansas, what kind of transfer of setup information can you utilize as you head to that intermediate track? Kansas is a bigger track but the banking is less, so can anything transfer over?
Matt McCall: Nothing transfers. You have to go off of last year’s experience at Kansas rather than anything learned here.
Mike Neff: Is it because there’s more downforce in the corners with more banking here?
Matt McCall: No, it is just a lot slower here. The speeds here are just so much slower than Kansas. At Kansas, you run around the track wide open, you can’t do that here. You get to drive it here. You’re a lot more dependent on what Harold [Holly – Crew Chief] might just have at Kansas than here.
Mike Neff: Do the Trucks use bump stops or do they coil bind?
Matt McCall: Trucks are coil bound. We’re not allowed to do bump stops.
Mike Neff: Does the deck of the truck provide any downforce? It is a big area but it is so flat, does it generate any kind of downforce for the truck or is it all from the spoiler?
Matt McCall: It is certainly more from the spoiler than the deck but that area is not completely null. The trucks are just so much more… the balance of downforce is ungodly compared to any other vehicle. That’s why they hold them wide open just about everywhere we go.
Mike Neff: Did you guys get any Truck stuff from KHI? I know the Nationwide program got a bunch of cars from KHI but I didn’t know if y’all got any of the Truck equipment.
Matt McCall: We did get some KHI Truck stuff. We sort of had two teams already built, so we are trying to build all RCR stuff, but we did get some of it.
Mike Neff: On the information sharing side of things at RCR, do you guys get help from the Nationwide and Cup teams? Is it one big pool of knowledge?
Matt McCall: It is. I don’t think they’re going to run to us if they hit something, but if we ask questions or go over to their shop to talk to whoever or get whatever we need, information wise we can get anything we need. The Truck racing is so much different than Nationwide and Cup that sometimes it will get you in more trouble than help.
Mike Neff: Is there much information that can be utilized off of the Cup and Nationwide vehicles in the Trucks or are they just so completely different?
Matt McCall: Trends can certainly be helpful. Any time you have a trend, you can transfer some information, but the Trucks are substantially different so most of the stuff that it takes to balance our truck. Mainly the aero and stuff, we can travel so much more than the cars can.
Mike Neff: Does the Truck Series use templates for the bodies or is it all just measured?
Matt McCall: They have them, we just don’t use them. (Laughs out loud) No, there are a bunch of them.
Mike Neff: The windshield was an area where I was curious about. It seems so straight up and down and I was curious if you were allowed to rake it out to a specific degree or if there was leeway?
Matt McCall: The templates mandate everything. They keep you in a tight box. (Harold Holly added that there are 43 templates that a Truck must pass during the technical inspection process.) A little different than a UARA Late Model.
Mike Neff: I don’t even think they utilize templates for Late Models anymore now that they utilize composite bodies. Anyways, the side of a truck seems much more vertical than a Cup or Nationwide car. Does that dramatic angle of the side of the Truck provide a lot more sideforce than a car gets and allow for the Trucks to run wide open like you mentioned?
Matt McCall: We can trick our bodies to get sideforce. We can build them so that the side force is there. There is more room than the Cup cars have. It isn’t that tight of a box.
Mike Neff: What is the wheelbase on a Truck?
Matt McCall: 112 inches. (Two inches longer than a Cup or Nationwide car)
McCall and the No. 22 Truck had a strong showing in the inaugural Good Sams Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. Joey Coulter started in the 17th position but quickly moved his way into the top 10 by lap 30. Coulter ran near the front of the field for the remainder of the race, ending up sixth when the checkered flag flew.
McCall acknowledged that his driving career, at least at the National Touring Series level had come and gone, but he still intends to run local Late Model races when the opportunity presents itself. McCall still has hopes of winning the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300, the biggest Late Model race of the season, which takes place on a Truck off weekend in October. McCall led most of the race last year only to lose to Lee Pulliam on a late race bump and run. McCall intends on rectifying that when the race comes back around this year.
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