Help is just a click away!
Click here to chat with a Speedway Team Member
Online - Chat with us!
Limited Time Offer     $20 off $299 | $40 off $599 | $60 off $899 | $80 off $1199      Promo: SAVENOW
$20 off $299 | $40 off $599 | $60 off $899 | $80 off $1199
Limited Time Offer   |   Promo: SAVENOW
Products to Compare (max of 3)
Compare These Parts
Talk to the Experts. Call 800.979.0122, 7am-10pm, everyday.
Since 1952
Talk to the Experts. Call 800.979.0122
Shop By
Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Racing Shocks 101

Tags: Tech, Tech, Race
What is a shock?

A shock is a timing device that controls the up and down movement on a race car. It will determine how fast or slow weight is transferred. Its purpose is to keep the tire on the racing surface.

Two Types of Shocks
Twin Tube/Dual Tube Shock

Also known as a two-tube or oil shock absorber, this device consists of two nested cylindrical tubes, an inner tube that is called the "working tube" or the "pressure tube", and an outer tube called the "reserve tube". At the bottom of the device, on the inside, is a compression valve or base valve. When the piston is forced up or down by bumps in the road, hydraulic fluid moves between different chambers via small holes or "orifices" in the piston. Finally, the shock energy is converted into heat and dissipates.

Pros and Cons

Pros Minimal gas pressure Minor Dents do not affect performance

Cons Smaller piston can limit dampening Lack of performance on a rough track

Mono Tube Shocks

Though it only has two pistons, the gas-pressurized, mono-tube shock consists of only the pressure tube. The pistons are called the working piston and the dividing or floating piston. They are completely separate from the shock's fluid and gas components. It also does not have a compression valve, because the role has been taken up by the dividing piston. Although it contains nitrogen gas, the gas in a mono-tube shock is under high pressure which helps support some of the vehicle's weight. No other shock absorber is designed to do this.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides better control on rough tracks

Cons Dents in the body can cause performance problems and will require service or replacement Hurts driver feel on smooth, dry or slick tracks

Small Shock Body Type

A small body shock usually has 1 5/8” body and a smaller diameter shaft.

Pros and Cons

Pros Lighter weight helps with clearance

Cons Cannot dissipate heat causing shock fade if used on heavier cars and extreme heat

Small body shocks are meant to be used on Sprint Cars, Midgets, and Dwarf Cars. Cars that are not compatible are A modified, Stock or Late Model.

Large Body Shocks

Large body shocks have 2" bodies and larger diameter shafts.

Pros and Cons

Pros Very good on rough tracks as they can easily dissipate the heat More durable

Cons Causes clearance issues Relatively heavy

Large body shocks should be used on Modifieds, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks and Late Models. Some of them can be used on sprint cars.

Shock Valving
What Valving Numbers Mean

How much force is needed to compress or extend the shock? The higher the number the more force needed to move the shock. A valving number may differ per brand or even per series of the same brand.

How to Read Shock Numbers

AFCO, Pro and QA1 shocks will always have the shock series first then the stroke of the shock compression numbers first and rebound second. Bilstein will have also list the series of shock first in the number the stroke. However, they will list rebound first on the shock then the compression.

Tie Down Shocks vs. Easy Up Shocks

A tie-down shock is used to keep the weight from transferring back off a tire. It will be easy to compress this shock, but hard to extend. The easy up shock is used to keep a car hiked up or weight off a tire. These shocks are easy to extend, but hard to compress.

Adjustable Shocks

The advantages of adjustable shocks are that they give you the ability to tune your shock without having to purchase multiple shocks. Customers are usually able to dial in a wide variety of valvings with either single or double adjustable. The downfall is the cost of purchasing the adjustable shock at first.

Shock Maintenance

Shocks should be taken off the car, and checked out, after every night. You should check to make sure the shock can be fully extended and compressed without any issues such as soft spots or binds. The shock should also be checked for leaks around the shaft and body. Shock bodies should be checked for dents. These things should happen after every race night. You should also dyno your shocks at least once a year.

Products Featured in this Article

Related Articles

How to use a Stud Extractor
by Steve Lewis - Posted in Tech
Learn how simple it is to remove broken or stubborn studs with Titan Tools extractor tool.
Leak Down Check on a Micro Sprint Engine
by Frank Galusha - Posted in Tech
It is most certainly an important procedure and should be part of a weekly maintenance routine.
Surviving Speed Week
by Frank Galusha - Posted in Tech
In this article, Frank Galusha talks about the challenges and successes he's experienced surviving Speed Week.
Micro Sprint Front Axle Squaring
by Alex Owen - Posted in Tech
Read how to square the front axle in your Micro Sprint car. Learn about the importance of squaring, measurements to use, and important steps to follow.
Sprint Car Chassis Assembly
by Dalton Johnson - Posted in Tech
Learn about the steps and tools necessary for a smooth chassis assembly for your sprint car.
Micro Sprint Birdcage Bearing Assembly
by Alex Owen - Posted in Tech
Learn how to properly assemble and install bearings inside of birdcages for a micro sprint. Read more on the benefits of using quality birdcages for increased speed.
Automotive Photography Guide
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Check out this introduction to the latest automotive photography tips and tricks including; composition, lighting, and camera gear. Increase your chances of getting pictures of your car in our catalog!
Demolition Derby Radiator Guide
by Jeremy Jones - Posted in Tech
When it comes to demolition derby racing, radiators are a key component to be the last car running. Follow Jeremy's guide on the large variety of Demolition Derby radiators available at Speedway Motors.
"There's No Friends at the Race Track"
by McKenna Haase - Posted in Tech
In racing, it has been said that you go to the track to race, not to make friends. McKenna tells her side of the story on how making friends at the track and having good intentions has impacted her racing career.
10 Tips for the Rookie Racer
by Longacre® - Posted in Tech
Here are 10 tips to help new racers succeed on and off the track!