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Welcome all to the sixth edition of EVRacing's "Trackside". Rolling to the Start-Finish Line alongside EVR legends Shadow32, Bumpkin, Maypo, BoNg and Jake, is the incomparable EVR_5rf.
Argueably the greatest DTR2 racer of all-time, EVR_5rf is the most dominate racer on a racing team that is filled to the brim with dominate racers. EVR_5rf sets the bar for which all DTR2 racers are measured. And EVR_5rfs' talents don't stop with his racing skills; he is also regarded as one of the best car painters in the game with virtually 100s of drivers, past and present, carry his colors and designs.
5rf has just recently moved from the Hoosier state of Indiana to the Buckeye state of Ohio where he lives with Julie, his bride of 14 years, and their two sons, Langdon and toddler Louden.
FYI..You can catch the best of EVR_5rf at... 5rf.evracing.net
Heyas Rod, welcome to the "HOTSEAT". I hope you enjoy this interview as much as we will enjoy reading about your DTR2 comments and concerns.
Thanks Perd, it's an honor being here, and yea, I hope I enjoy it, too...lol..
Rod, you've been racing Dirt Tracking Racing since its' inception back in the late 1990's. I'd like to start this interview by taking you back to those earlier days and ask you what has inspired you to be the best and has held your interest for so long? Tell us who had helped you hone and develop skills during this time set--and in addition, who were a few of the better drivers you competed against?
Aw man, you're gonna make me work right off the bat for this free interview aren't ya?..lol...
To tell ya the truth , I've always enjoyed dirt track racing from my earliest childhood. When DTR1 came out, I ran it for about two months offline. A friend of mine started racing online on Fridays nights and I got hooked from the git go.
It was then that I downloaded EVR_Bumpkins sets and tweaked them to my liking. After awhile I was able to run wheel-to-wheel with the EVR and OER guys. I joined OER and raced with guys like TH 57 and NC_Rocket for a couple months until the team broke up. Then Rocket and me jumped to EVR and I've been here ever since.
As for fast racers then?The BOB were dudes like Reaper, 77, Bumpkin, Shadow, SK, Denny and a few others. When DTR2 came out, we all hit the track running. The biggest adjustment we had to make was that DTR1 cars had four gears where DTR2 has just two. Once we conquered that challenge, EVR RULED!! We were pretty good but we were fair, too--we gave up our best sets to all who wanted them. It's also fair to say that Voodoo played a big part in all of us getting faster.
Whew, that was a mouthful--gimme a sec, I need a nap, lol...
LoL, mouthful or not, that was a great story..Thanx 5rf for the insight!
Everyone knows you are one of the great car painters in the game. If you had to guess, how many cars have you painted for other racers?
I've painted well over a thousand cars going back to my DTR1 days. All of them are different--never copied one from another.
Assuming you know what you want, how long does it take to paint a car and where do you get all the ideas that seem to seperate your designs from all the other painters?
Well, most peeps don't know all the work and details that go into a great paint job. Most of my skins take anywhere between 1 to 4 hours to paint and, hey remember, they're all free..lol...The ideas just seem to pop into my head. I think my years of being involved with real life dirt racing has helped me dream up many of my designs. And besides, everyone wants their car to be different from anyone else.
Ok 5rf, here's yer first racing question and it's all about equipment. What brand of computer and racing wheel do you use that allows you to get around these DTR2 tracks as quickly as you do?
Actually, I've built my own computer from scratch. I have a 1.2 gightz AMD processor with 512 mb RAM. My video card is a 128 mb Radeon 9800 XT and I run Windows 98. I use a Thrustmaster Nascar Pro Digital 2 racing wheel and there's another one in the box ready to go.
Do you race with Force Feedback and how much centering spring do you use?
I don't use Force Feedback at all and my wheel returns to center spring-loaded. I'm really not sure of the spring settings. I will tell you that I run 95% of my setups with a 22 wheel lock.
Ok, you don't use Force Feeedback--but is it true or false that NOT using Feedback actually makes you a tad faster?
Since I've never raced with Force Feedback, I have no idea if it makes you faster or not. I can only tell ya that it's uncomfortable for me to drive when the wheel is buzzing in my head.
What racing view do you prefer and why does it suit you better than the other views of choice?
I go with the behind the car look--the one that's farthest back. I've never used the in-car or closer view. The farther back view suited me fine from the beginning so I've just stuck with it.
I've noticed that you and many other racers drive the Monacan GT as opposed to the Stanger or Campala. Is there a handling advantage or higher speed differential between these three proven cars, or is it all just a comfort thing?
I prefer the Monacan because I believe it has a better gear-up coming off the corners than the other two cars. I like to run a nice low and tidy line thru the turns and the Monacans' gearing bogs a bit at the right time which allows me to hold my line without my rear tires spinning.
Ok bud, the next few questions are all about asking you to share some of your thoughts on how we all can get a lot faster.
Well, keep in mind that going fast ain't gonna cut it. You've got to set up your car to handle--and that means steering and throttle control. I think guys should concentrate on being smooth thru the corners using proper gearing and working the throttle. Shifting gears later into the turns and earlier coming out will help a lot in overall speed. It might sound simple, but check your rearview mirror for improvements.
Let's assume for the moment that ALL Dirt Track racers were limited to precisely the same exact setup--but that each racer had the option to adjust any three settings of their choosing. Which three setup adjustments would you work on to get as much speed/handling out of that setup?
I would adjust the steering lock first, it's the most important--handling and turning in the corners makes all the difference. Next, I would tweak the toeing--again, getting in and out of the corners is what racing is all about. Then I would work on my tire pressures; tire pressures make alot of difference in how you car will start and finish a race.
Here's a question that will help a lot of racers including myself. Admittedly, we all have our favorite tracks, but which is one of your favs, and if ya won't mind, could we all ride along with you on a Hotlap as you explain how you get around that track as quickly as you do. Give us the line you run, your shift points, when you lift and so on?
I like 41st Street. It's a real racers track where you have to use alot of throttle control.
Going into the first turn, I shift early coming off the wall down the front straightaway. I cut the corner as close as I can while lifting to about 1/2 throttle. I ease back on the gas and then before it revs coming out of the turn, I shift to 2nd gear letting it bog down just a little bit. Going into turn two, I shift early and kinda coast through the corner going easy on the gas to keep my tires under me and my alignment straight. Coming out, I'm back on the throttle slowly building the rpms til I hit a good rev and shift to 2nd gear coming off the corner. The key thing to remember is to shift down at the start finishline.
Hmmm, easy for you to say--you ran a 12.19 the other day...lol
Personnally, I've downloaded a zillion different setups and they all have pretty much the same thing in common--not to many of them seem to wanna mess with Compression and Rebound rates. What's up with these things, bro--what do they do for ya?
I run mostly the same settings that everyone else does. Sometimes with different wetnesses, I'll raise the rear settings up to about halfway for smoother handling. I think Shadow would be a better one to ask about these settings, he uses them more than I do.
Did you just mention wetness? Ah, can ya give us a little more info on the subject of wetness? Give us something we can hang our hats on, sorta speak.
Actually, I'm much better setting my car for dry tracks than wet ones. I guess I like the loose sliding feel a lot better than the hooked up but can't turn feeling.
This next question just might deal with the true essence of Dirt Track racing in a nutshell. "What constitutes a clean pass"? In other words, considering the difficulty level of the game, how much contact can a driver initiate and still feel good about being true to the game's dependence on fair play?
Well, I try not to touch anyone, but I do like to stick a fender into a guy to let him know that I'm there. I run the low line good so I don't get into too many peeps. If everyone in the race is fast, I'll will pressure them or rub'em hard to see if it gets to them. If a guy hangs in there and we both run a good race,then I'd rather finish 2nd rather than finish last or say I'm sorry. We all mess up now and then, so if ya don't crash the guy, he knows you put a good pass on him.
Hmmmm, Earnhardt lives...lol..
Ok bro, you've always been one of the mellowest guys on the DTR2 circuit--but surely there must be something about the workings of the game that really gets under your skin!
The worst thing that I can think of is the knothead that drives wide open in the corners and takes out half the field. We all are partial to peeps who drive the right way.
If DTR3 came out tomorrow, what changes or improvements would you want the designers to concentrate on to make this game even better than it is?
Graphics, graphics and more graphics!! The more the realism the better for my money. I could live with moretracks and I wouldn't mind seeing more tire and equipment wear and tear. I also would like to see UDTRA and SAS cars with the setup abilities that DTR2 has, and more realism in tire wear.
BTW, Rod, what's your take on Team IGGR holding down 5 spots in EVR's MARS Summer SiZZler'04 LM League standings? Do you forsee EVR re-establishing a dominating presence in the upcoming FreaKy FaLL'04 season?
Well, we all know that EVR is a little spread out right now. If we all focused on the MARS Series, I don't think we have to worry too much about it. IGGR guys are fast and they are fun to race with--I think we are lucky to have them run in our series. Other than that, I really don't get into the team war-thing because MARS is open to all good and clean racers.
Fair point made, 5rf.
Do you think EVR should have a Signature Race of it's own? Do we need a Daytona kind of race, maybe a couple times a year, to give our members the thrill of the "ultimate race"?
Yellman!!! Sign me up!!!
Wow, sounds like you're pumped for that kind of event--but would you care to expand on it a bit more? Would you prefer a single track format or maybe a Custom Series--and would you buy into a race exclusive to EVR or an Open Invitational?
I like the big shows!!!---where you qualify the field and then work your way to the finals..Custom Series?? hmmmm, sounds interesting.
What's your favorite venue of racing to watch in person? Would it be the awesome power of Nascar or the mudslinging excitement that can only be expierienced at a real life dirt track?
Nassy's ok and I do follow it some--but dirt track racing is the real deal for me. I'm an O'Neal fan and Lates are the best to watch as far as I'm concerned.
Last question for ya, bro. How, by all that's holy, can Shadow32 go as fast as he does using a keyboard. He is really playing the keys or is he secretly using one of those $1,100.00 Thomas-superwheels?...LOL
Wheel??? Nah, he's the real deal on keys! The ol' boy can type 140 words a minute--using 4 to 7 keys at a time ain't nothing to him. He's been known to down a 12 ounce Pepsi while giving ya a great slide job coming out of turn 4 at Knox. LOL...
Well ok, one more last question. This one might sound a little silly, but prying minds need to know. What's it's like to be the King of the Hill for all of DTR2 racing. Do you ever get tired or bored kicking everyone's butt?
Well, my King of the Hill days have been cut down a bit since I released that last batch of setups. I think those setups revealed a lot of my secrets and understanding of setting up a DTR2 Late Model. Maybe I should have tucked them away and kept them to myself...LOL.. But I released them because that's what EVRMSG is all about and I believe that. Making this game more fun and helping peeps get to the next level will raise the competitiveness of this game to a higher plateau. And in the long run, that will make the game more fun for everyone.
Great answer, bro..."Where ya goin' is usually where ya been"......Will Rogers...
Well 5rf, I can hear the Fat Lady singing in the shower so it must be just about that time. But tell ya what, I had a blast and I hope you did too. Thanx for the great interview and for giving us more than yes or no answers. Cya on the track soon, brother--hopefully in my rearview mirror with a couple of Newbies duking it out between us..LOL..Take care, man!!!