Beginners Guide to RC Racing Oval

MuddBoss Feature Winner - 12-18-2021
MuddBoss Feature Winner at Dirt Devils RC Speedway, 12-18-2021

RC Oval racing is probably the easiest form of RC racing… right, right? It’s just turning left 2 times per lap. Well there is a bit more to it than that. Most people find this out pretty quickly. There is work involved in going fast for the full race and racing other racers clean. Then after that there is also a black art known as “Race Craft” which I can elaborate on more in the future. Below are some notes to keep in mind when going oval racing….

  1. The main goal is to minimize lap times. This sets you up to make it into higher mains by turning more laps. To do that, you will need to get into a rhythm to time your let off points so that you can make the corner without overshooting as that costs you time. Concentrate on getting consistent laps. Most scoring systems have a consistency %… try to get that higher every time you are on the track.
  2. Car setup…set up your car to be tight(front end slides), that way you have to teach yourself to use the throttle to help turn. This will come in handy later on when you have a higher skill level.
  3. Use the brakes if needed… yes, it’s racing and we all know brakes are for ….well you know…. but use them. Having someone lap you and then you take them out as you blow the corner and run into the back of them is about a 9 out of 10 on the bad racing meter.
  4. Try to maintain a racing line… if the fast guys are arching it into a corner… don’t shoot right for the middle of the corner. If you find yourself in this position, refer to item #3. T-Boning another racer by racing in this manor is a 10/10 on the bad racing meter.
  5. Ok, so you got your car to push and you are using the throttle to turn… now it’s time to start working on getting your car to be less tight. The closer you can get your car to not being tight the faster it will be. You can do this with the normal changes… Springs, Weight, Shocks, Tires and Geometry(camber links, Caster, anti-squat, etc.).
  6. Now is a good time to make sure your gearing is good. Is the motor hot? Do you have a fan on the motor? How is your car relative to other fast guys in your class? Do your laps times fall off if you put more pinion on it?
  7. Another note on suspension…. if you car is bouncing around and you say “but it’s fast” then you have not opened your eyes to the big picture here. Oval racing will have a lot of side by side moments… you need to be able to keep your car under control. If it’s bouncing around, if will most defiantly cost yourself and possibly someone else time and positions.
  8. Then tires… finding out what tires, prep and any other “Tricks” that work are a big part of oval racing….especially if you travel to multiple tracks. Keep in mind that generally, softer tires have more grip but tend to wear quicker. Splitting compounds can help balance your cars handling as well.
  9. If you are out to lunch… let the fast guys go. Your car will not magically improve enough for you to unlap yourself once you are a couple laps down. This means letting off and moving your car off the fast line. This is especially helpful in qualifying and if you would like the fast guys to offer you better than average advice afterwards. In qualifying, by slowing down 1-2 secs for one or more laps, you have save yourself time over if you had crashed 2 times through the run.
  10. If you can run one lap as fast as the fast guys but that’s all…again, don’t try to go door to door with them…follow and try to keep up consistency. Learn what they do, how they run the corner, where they are beating you, etc.

This is probably enough for now. If you take these points to heart and use them on race day, you will find that your finishes will improve, you will have more pulse pounding and knee shaking battles on the track and the racing will be more fun…. and less stuff to fix during the week.

I will try to add some illustrations to this article, but for the most part most of you will understand what I am trying to say here.