Track: 508A

by Bob Johnson 0

46 Hook 16 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “Track’s intent with the 508A is to bring you a new and improved version of the original 505A [November 2009],” says Rich Hanson, Track’s new brand manager. “A new cover and core help this come to fruition. The 508A complements the other Track products such as the 919C, 811A and the new 716C.”

Core Design: The modified Legion core boasts a 2.51 RG and a .049 Diff reading. The conservative .008 mass bias allows for either symmetric or asymmetric layout choices. We saw nearly 5 inches of track flare with stronger 3- to 5-inch pin distance drillings.

Coverstock: The updated MP Gen 4 reactive pearl cover has micro additives infused in the mix. The factory surface is sanded with 500, 1000 and 2000 grits prior to factory-applied polish. The colors are a youthful blend of bright green, yellow and black. Response time off drier boards is quick, while oil traction is limited due to the out-of-box finish.

Test Results: The 508A will match up well on most light to medium oil volumes on either Sport or house oil pattern variations. The easy length and quick down-lane response looked best on fresh patterns with clean backends. As we experienced oil carrydown, the 508A displayed some down-lane wiggle and loss of carry. A light surface scuff solved this issue during testing, but league bowlers should know such changes are not USBC legal. When pitted against an older 505A with more than 80 games, the new 508A was three boards stronger, with all of it being visible in the backend portion of the lane.

When to Use: For playing deeper inside angles, left of 12th board or so, our favorite layouts used higher drilling angles and lower VAL angles for all three testers. This variation of dual angle terminology was verified with the help of Ebonite’s Blueprint software. On lighter oil concentrations or shorter oil distances, we liked either 1:1 or 1:2 ratio layouts to help lengthen the hook zone and delay the core’s dynamics. The 508A responded very nicely to various layouts as the core and cover are evenly matched in strength.

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.

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