Tuning the suspension on these cars is certainly not a "set-it and forget-it" type of deal. Track conditions change from round-to-round as the surface temperature fluctuates and bald spots form. Shock adjustments, tire pressure, and frontend limiters are the most popular components to compensate for varying track conditions. "Having the right chassis is critical in getting the car moving and hitting the tire. It's a balancing act of how much you can apply to the tire. With a four-link you can do so much more. You can hit the tire harder and the chassis will absorb it," said Matukas. He continued, "shocks like Santuff, Afco, and Penske are all great stuff to use. We run mostly the Santuff and Afco for our customers. A good double-adjustable shock is essential and very critical to performance."
Jake Holdrege, who is crew chief and partners with Jamie Stanton on a new entry, built their 2002 Camaro specifically for the category. He operates Pentagon Race Fab and chose to run a four-link rear suspension. Holdrege and Stanton rely on a custom set of frontend travel limiters and they constantly adjust the Strange double-adjustable shocks and struts to get the fourth-gen Camaro down the track. In the nasty heat and slick track conditions at the NMCA event at zMax, he still managed to tune the Camaro to a 1.32 short time. Stanton's best e.t. so far has been an 8.07 at 175 mph, which was coupled with a 1.25 60-foot-the team's best shot in Xtreme Street competition. "On a bad track, we will loosen the frontend limiters and loosen the rear shocks to let it hit harder. We also vary the tire pressure, so it doesn't fold the tire too hard. Our new car is better than our old Chevelle because we can move ballast in the car. The old Chevelle had the weight in all the wrong places. The placement of weight is very important to get the car right," said Holdrege. We prodded him about the four-link and whether or not he changes it often. The team keeps it in the same location, as long as shock adjustments and tire pressures allow the car to bite on the starting line. But if that doesn't work then they adjust the four-link as a last resort.
In addition to chassis tuning, racers also turn to various pieces of equipment like electronics to help control wheelies and tire spin. Finding the proper balance between the driveline and chassis is what has been separating the men from the boys. "Tuning the starting line on an Xtreme Street car can be a handful at times-it is what makes the Xtreme Street class such a fan favorite. You just never know what's going to happen on a run," said class veteran Bob Curran who competes with a '96 Corvette Grand Sport. He continued: "After being in the class since 2002, you put on both bulbs and you're always thinking about what is about to happen once that tree drops. One never knows what the starting line is going to be like at the tracks we race on. But with the technology out there today, (progressive nitrous controllers and MSD Programmable ignitions) getting a handle on consistent 60-foots is getting more common. Driving a power-adder car with true 10.5-inch tires and no wheelie bars is a blast." Matukas also threw in his two cents on the subject, "A big part of it is timing, like the MSD 7531 that everyone runs. When running as heavy as 3,600 pounds it gets tough. Some have tried progressive nitrous controllers, but a lot of us don't like the pulsing of the solenoids. We use the timing controls in the MSD digital ignition system." The MSD 7531 digital ignition system allows racers to build a complete timing curve for each gear. Racers will run less timing in First gear to get the car moving, and then bring in more as the car moves down track.