Shit I don’t understand… #7: poke & stance

There’s a lot I don’t understand about car culture, motorsports, and racing. Help me out.


Fenders are meant to stick out farther than the tires. There are two reasons for this.

  1. Prevents tires from hitting other tires. If two cars are traveling at high speeds and their tires touch, one vehicle or the other can get launched.
  2. Protects vehicles, people, animals, and property from stones.

In California, and probably a lot of other states, it’s actually illegal for tires to stick out beyond the body. But given how many people violate this, it’s clearly not a priority with the authorities.

Apparently, exposed tires look cool. So cool that people are willing to spend money and give up performance in order to do it. Let’s see some examples.


Car enthusiasts call it poke when the tires are exposed. A wider track width has an advantage: less weight transfer when cornering. The downside is more wear on bearings, a change in suspension geometry, and a greater tendency to oversteer. Oh, and the dangers expressed above, of course.


Excessive negative camber is called stance. Some negative camber improves grip and tire wear when cornering, but there’s a trade-off: both braking and accelerating are best with no camber. There’s really no situation where the stance of the car below is optimal. Doing that to your car has no practical application. It’s the vehicular analog of sagging. It may look cool to have your pants below your ass (to some people) but it’s a hindrance if you’re trying to outrun anything.

3 thoughts on “Shit I don’t understand… #7: poke & stance

  1. i sorta take this stuff as folk art. same as low riders. and lots of crazy Harleys. for the most part they are an artist’s point of view writ in metal. when i step back and look with that lens i can distinguish between good, great, and terrible implementations of a particular style. nothing i’d personally want to own, but to the owner, good on them for taking a risk, having a point of view, and executing on it. race cars, aside from lemons, are not art. some might look pretty, but they’ve got a job to do.


    1. Good point, especially about being differently qualities of a specific vision. There are some forms of car art I actually really like. Some of the stuff that comes up on the Facebook “why you rune classic?” are really great. I think my problem with stance in particular is that it’s supposed to look like a race car but the “tuning” ends up ruining the handling. If the car looks like it belongs on a Mad Max set, I’m in. If it looks like a retro-futuristic Jetson’s car, I’m in. If it’s been modified to have a pickup bed, I’m in.


      1. we own a Queen Anne Revival style house. not because we wanted to it, but because that’s what we could afford. (function wins over form again…) The governing mantra of Q-A-R is “more is more”. i’m convinced the people that designed Q-A-R homes knew NOTHING about architecture or design, or honestly usability, but rather thought if some was good, more had to be better.

        so, if you start w/ the premise that what makes a race car is honestly magic, then you’ll just identify the parts you can see and then just make it “more”. it some sort of weird tight positive feedback loop completely disconnected from any science / use based reality… so many things seem like that these days. (truck towing battle???) just to keep things automotive.


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