Presented by Centric Parts and its StopTech performance and racing division

March 23, 2009

Race Report: StopTech CEO earns SCCA Pole Position

Dino Crescentini, CEO of Centric Parts, which includes the StopTech ultra-performance division, earned pole position in Florida over for the 2009 season opener of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Series before the weekend to be televised nationally later this month on SPEED Channel. The performance on the track was also the debut of the company's Trophy Big Brake Kits, designed exclusively for track use.

Crescentini races a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Global MotorSports Group (GMG) Racing in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Series, and has also brought the company’s Director of Engineering, Steve Ruiz, on as the team’s Head Engineer to enhance StopTech’s racing and development programs.

Crescentini pulled the fastest lap during the qualifying sessions at Sebring International Speedway on Thursday, March 19, to earn a pole position start for the race the next day. Crescentini held his pole position through the start of the race and remained a podium contender through the 15th lap of the 20 lap race. Contact with another vehicle after a yellow flag restart forced his vehicle into the pits on lap 16.

“Winning the qualifying round yesterday and earning pole position like we did validates the technical efforts GMG Racing and StopTech have put into the vehicle,” said Crescentini after the race “The fun part as a driver is facing all of the moment-to-moment challenges on a crowded track on race day shoulder to shoulder with racing professionals.”

Trophy BBKs, first announced late last year at the Performance Racing Industry show (watch video / see news item), feature ultra-lightweight racing calipers in four- or six-piston configurations providing a 20-percent weight reduction without sacrificing stiffness or performance. Full floating versions of StopTech’s patented AeroRotor/AeroHat two-piece rotors eliminate pad knock-back and increase cooling airflow by 15% for consistent performance and pedal feedback under the unique combination of hard cornering and braking found on the track. These BBKs sport a “natural” finish for an attractive in-wheel presentation and also include billet aluminum mounting brackets with stainless steel caliper studs and DOT-compliant stainless steel braided brake lines. Trophy BBKs make no compromises found on hybrid systems designed for both street and track.

The next race up for Crescentinti will be in Long Beach on April 19th as part of the weekend long Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. The Brake Room will be there with with exclusive behind the scenes coverage. Also keep an eye out in the next week or so for some in-car footage of his pole position earning performance.

March 19, 2009

TrACkTICS: Dino’s 75/25 rule for braking on the track

Posted by Dino Crescentini

Any of you who read the recent “Science of Stopping” post from Steve Ruiz about the reality of balanced brakes probably got a bit of an eye-opener on the complex physics behind slowing down a vehicle. His insights focused on the effort that goes into the brakes long before the car ever hits the pavement.

Now imagine yourself behind the steering wheel at over 100mph barreling down on a sharp turn that is only a few dozen yards away. Throw another car right behind you and maybe another off to your side and you get an idea of what I face over a thousand times during the racing season as a driver for the Global Motorsports Group racing team in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge series. The concept of “balance” becomes very dynamic on the track.

Perhaps no skill is harder to execute perfectly on the track than slowing a race car at the limits of its braking performance. Braking changes the race car's weight distribution, posture, and handling characteristics. Do it right and you gain valuable time on the competition. Do it wrong and that podium finish gets farther and farther away. Do it really wrong and… well, you have probably seen the footage of what happens.

For a race car driver, most if not all of the braking happens in preparation for a turn. So not only is the vehicle’s balance shifting forward, it is also shifting side to side from the inside to the outside of the cornering direction. Even with the best equipment in this situation, each wheel is dealing with either too much weight for efficient braking or too little to optimally transfer the stopping power through the tires to the road.

So now what?

Probably the first lesson we learn, and one I would like to impart to you, is that the most efficient way to slow a car is in a straight line. This is when the car's weight is evenly distributed to both sides. The mission here is to complete as much of your braking as possible before commencing the turn.

When braking and turning at the same time, neither braking nor cornering occurs optimally, creating a true lose-lose situation. So getting as much of the braking underway as possible before the turn will pay dividends that can translate into victory.

This may create a bit of a disconnect for some of you. Cutting your velocity before the turn seems like a slow strategy in a speedy sport, but this is where having great brakes comes in. The shorter potential stopping distance of racing brakes and tires allows us to start braking much closer to the turn and still get our speed down to a manageable level before we need to move the steering wheel. Racers look to racing brakes for the ability to brake late so they can keep their hard earned momentum as long as possible.

Ideally all braking should be done before the wheel is turned for a corner. That’s easy when putting around a parking lot looking for a spot at the mall, but unrealistic in the heat of a race or time trial. However, on the track with the right car and equipment (I drive a StopTech-equipped but mostly stock Porsche for GMG) you should aim for my 75/25 rule. Essentially, you should realistically pull off about 75% of your deceleration before turning and cap off the last bit by the time you are 25% into the turn. That puts your vehicle into its best performance zone for three quarters of each turn. That is quite an edge.

The technique required is to very quickly get your brakes to the limit to start the deceleration, then ease back a little off the brake pedal as you start the turn until you are a quarter of the way into it.

It takes a knowledge of your car’s abilities and practice on a track, not a walled one in case you overshoot the turn. Watch the SCCA races on SPEED channel, which features production based race cars, and you’ll see the 75/25 rule being applied all over the place. Once you get it down, you will be glad you did.

Happy racing!

Dino Crescentini races for GMG Racing and is the CEO of Centric Parts, which includes the ultra-performance StopTech brand

March 15, 2009

Centric Celebrates Dual Award Wins

Centric Parts has picked up a pair of accolades in the past few weeks – from their customers. Automotive Parts Associates and Monro Muffler Brake both singled out Centric Parts for their efforts and successes during recent annual gatherings

Centric Parts was named 2008 Branded Vendor of the Year by Automotive Parts Associates (APA), a leading member-owned cooperative representing over a billion dollars of purchasing power annually, during an award ceremony in Phoenix. APA became a member-owned cooperative in 1994 and has since grown from under 10 warehouses to approaching 200 warehouse locations with more than 350 company owned stores.

This is the second time Centric Parts has earned the honor, having also claimed the title in 2006. APA gives out this award annually to the company with the highest-quality sales force, efficient order fill process, great cataloging and quality products. In particular, Centric Parts was recognized for high order fills, quick turnaround times, being first to market with late model applications, providing and supporting innovative new products, low rate of warranty claims, and exceptional sales and technical support.

Centric Parts also earned a 2008 Vendor Excellence Award from Monro Muffler Brake, Inc., a leading provider of automotive undercar repair and tire services with over 700 locations across the eastern United States. The awards are given out annually to high-performing companies that are reactive to Monro’s needs with a two-way approach to working together to build business.

Monro Brake Muffler has been working with Centric Parts to provide quality replacement brake rotors and drums, brake pads and shoes and hydraulic cylinders to motorists through their over 700 locations. The two companies continue to explore other opportunities to work together such as opening a pipeline for performance brakes products from StopTech, the ultra-performance division of Centric Parts.