5 Myths About Racing Shocks: Busted

Aaron Lambert
Post by Aaron Lambert
March 28, 2022
5 Myths About Racing Shocks: Busted

For racers, winning is everything! Shocks are arguably the most critical component on your car or bike for winning, and they’re also one of the least understood.

You might be looking to gain a competitive advantage. You’ve probably spent time and money getting to know your vehicle inside out, and you’ve learned all there is to know about the chassis, tires, brakes, and engine.

But thinking about your shocks brings about a cold sweat. Why? Because there is so much conflicting advice, you don’t know where to start. Allow us to help.


Busted: 5 Myths About Racing Shocks

Shocks play a crucial role in how your car or bike performs. And performance is everything.

How your car or bike handles corners and maintains contact with the road is paramount to successful racing. It can seem daunting to invest money and time into quality racing shocks without understanding the common misconceptions and how you can overcome them.

Let’s bust some lingering myths and help you buy with confidence.


Myth #1: Racing Shocks are a Black Art

The Truth: You might think that you’ll never understand racing shocks. But forward-thinking companies like Penske Racing Shocks commit to teaching racers how to optimize their program. Through the S3 (shock + setup + support) process, racers no longer need to feel intimidated.

It helps to have a team behind you armed with knowledge, experience, and a track record of delivering results. But a team that teaches and coaches you to help yourself is transformational.

You still need to apply effort to understand your setup. But, with proper support, you’ll feel confident that you can make changes and adjustments to your shocks.


Check out our Resources section for our latest educational blog posts, free downloads, videos, webinars and more.

FREE DOWNLOAD - Damper Tuning Guide (Starter)

Ensuring a well-tuned damper setup can translate to significant performance gains on track. If you are unsure of where to begin the tuning process, this is a great starting point. Maximize the results of your shock adjustments with our free damper tuning guide download.


Myth #2: Racing Shocks are Only for Racers

The Truth: You might think racing shocks won’t benefit your street application. You would be wrong. The largest growing market for Penske Racing Shocks is street and amateur level users.

Of course, the adjustments made to maximize performance at the track will be different for the street, but street racers still want more confidence and comfort, right? The quality and tolerances within shocks make them more consistent for any user.

Also, streetcars and bikes are more technically advanced and powerful, which puts their performance closer to racing applications than before. With more speed and power comes many of the same handling issues on the track.


Myth #3: Racing Shocks are Too Expensive

The Truth: Did your dad ever use the expression, “Buy cheap, buy twice”?

Sure, you can purchase cheaper shocks. But every time they break down, you’ll spend more money in the long run, and you’ll never get the most out of them.

Premium racing shocks are built with precise tolerances and specifications and customized for your application and preferences. Their adjustment range is often wider than cheaper shocks and can be tuned differently for various tracks and conditions.

The initial investment might be intimidating, but your Penske Racing Shocks are designed to last for many years with regular maintenance.


Myth #4: Motor Development Trumps Proper Racing Shocks

The Truth: You might think that racing shocks won’t make as much of a difference compared to motor development. We get it. When people think of vehicle performance, they think of horsepower and speed.

Horsepower is important, but an ill-handling car or bike will not efficiently use it by not allowing the power to put down or stay stable at high speeds. 

The chassis needs to be working efficiently and consistently in unison with the tire before added horsepower will have the desired benefit.  We often refer to properly tuned shocks as “cheap horsepower” as the lap times will come down for a fraction of the cost of motor development or rebuilds.

Want to dig deeper? Check out Why Shocks are Such an Important Part of Your Race Car Setup.


Check out our FREE DOWNLOAD: Shock Build and Shock Setup/Lap Time Worksheet

In this free download, we provide both our Standard Shock Build Sheet, which is a great way to keep all your shock builds organized, and a Setup/Lap Time Sheet, a great tool to help improve your communication and record keeping of your chassis setup.



Myth #5: Racing Shocks Won’t Change the Feel

The Truth: Anyone who installs a proper racing shock on their application will notice, if nothing else, the consistency in the performance, the improvement in ride at speed, and added stability in sporting maneuvers. 

The shock absorber is what connects the person to the pavement. 

The driver or rider's feedback from the track or road surface defines how confident they are in the car and applying the throttle, turning in, driving off, and braking. 

Every driver has different thresholds for responding to accelerations coming through the chassis. Racing shocks are the best at handling and communicating these accelerations to the driver to give them confidence.


Take the Guesswork out of Racing Shocks

To save feeling overwhelmed and wondering what shocks are, how they work, and how to make the most out of them, work with Penske and discover your optimal setup.

Whether you’re worried about cost, ensuring your shocks fit your application, or how to gain a competitive advantage, Penske Racing Shocks can help.

From the first point of contact to planning, installation, support, and tools for continued learning, the S3 process covers all the bases.

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Shocks 101
Aaron Lambert
Post by Aaron Lambert
March 28, 2022
After completing high school, Aaron joined Penske Racing Shocks in 2000 as a damper technician. Since then, Aaron served in multiple management and technical rolls in the company and oversaw all major sales markets including Short Track, NASCAR, Sports Car, and IndyCar. He spearheaded the company’s successful return to the Late Model market as well as the new S-link shock dyno product line. In addition, Aaron handles all dealer relationships and has been a driving force behind Penske Racing Shocks’ long term in-house manufacturing strategy . Aaron was promoted to General Manager in 2019, a position he currently holds.
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