Stagger

Stagger or Roll Out is the difference in circumference from the left tire to the right tire at one end of the race vehicle.  Stagger is calculated by measuring the circumference of the larger tire and subtracting it from the circumference of the smaller tire.  For example, if the right rear tire is 88.25 inches and the left rear tire is 85.875 inches, then 88.25 - 85.875 = 2.375 inches stagger.

Stagger is important to the handling of an oval track race vehicle.  Because the vehicle is turning to the left, then the right side tire should be larger than the left side tire especially on the drive axle end of the vehicle; front if the vehicle is front wheel drive, rear if the vehicle is rear wheel drive.  Since the right tire is farther away from the center of the corner than the left tire, it has to travel a greater distance around the corner.  Take for example a cup that is cone shaped.  If you lay it on its side and roll it, it will roll in a circle.  The same effect happens on the race track.  If you have a locked drive axle end then you need stagger because if you ran the same size tires on that end of the vehicle, then one tire will slip in the corner because they are traveling two different distances.  If the right tire was larger than the left tire, then that end of the vehicle will try to roll in a circle.  Stagger in the end of the vehicle that is not locked, or in differentials that unlock on deceleration is not near as important and affect cross weight if it is changed.

Stagger and cross weight work with one another.  The more stagger you have, the looser the vehicle is.  The cross weight can be increased to tighten up the vehicle to compensate for the looseness caused by the extra stagger.  The vehicle will handle good for a while, but soon the handle will go away because one or more of the tires is trying to handle too much of the traction and will give up.  Be careful with the stagger because having too little can cause the same problem.  While there are a lot of different stagger and cross weight combinations, only one will be best for your vehicle.

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Last modified: January 01, 2016

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