Track: 718A

by Bob Johnson 0

51 Hook 16 Length 16.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The Robot asymmetric core is new, as is the 2.50 RG, the .055 Diff and the .018 mass bias. Testing showed nearly 6.5” of flare featuring the stronger layouts with lower quadrant weight holes. We saw some early lane lope with stronger revs downlane.

Coverstock: The Gen4A cover formula is designed to skid in oil, followed by a quick response off drier boards. Testing confirmed these characteristics. The black, blue and caramel cover is sanded with 800, 1k and 2k Abralon pads, then polished with Ebonite’s factory high gloss.

Manufacturer’s Intent: “Our intent for the all new 718A is to be an improved version of the 715A.” said Paul Figliomeni, Track’s Brand Manager. “On July 9, 2009, we introduced the 715A, and over the next two years, we have been working on the new and improved version, designed to be a more usable product for the masses. We listened to all the feedback on the 715A from pro shops, consumers, and on the various social media sites.”

Test Results: As the manufacturer’s intent suggests, this is a true skid/flip ball. For a ball to be classified as such, it must skid easily in oil and respond quickly and decisively off drier areas. Testing showed a similar layout on a same-surfaced 916AT resulted in a very close reaction path. Both balls allowed us to play well inside the oil line and project the ball toward friction. Obviously, the more revs and axis rotation a bowler can create, the stronger the overall entry angle can be. Bowlers should be advised that this is a condition-specific ball, which should not be used as a benchmark ball with its box finish. Those looking for more control should consider a 2000 or 4000 sanding.

When to Use: Players should choose the 718A on drier to medium volumes when looking to open up their launch angles. Down-and-in players need not apply, as Track has balls such as the 715C or 300C that are designed for more direct lines. Our favorite layouts were pins in the 3.5 to 4.5” distance range with balanced or slightly steeper ratios.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.