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Midwest Circle Track Racers, Lend Me Your Ears (And Your Ideas) . . . .

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CoolHand, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    So, your solution then would be . . . . . ?

    Give up?

    Believe it or not, traction control is pretty easy to track down if you've ever seen how they work.

    That stuff showed up around here about '00 or '01, and it took the mediocre tech guys two weeks to catch someone with it.

    Someone else rolled in about a month and a half later with a much sneakier version that took another month to ferret out, but they caught them.

    Then the tire rules went away entirely and traction control became more or less unnecessary.

    I wouldn't worry about traction control too much, at least not until you've got everything else pretty well in hand.

    And really, no rule set will ever totally prevent cheating.

    However, nothing would ever get done anywhere in motorsports if everyone were to just throw up their hands and quit before anything's started because someone will eventually cheat.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  2. Ryan,
    I also feel your pain... I've been actively involved in racing for 25 straight years, and I've owned, built or crewed just about everything that has 4 wheels and goes in a circle... Since 2000, I've had an addiction to asphalt supermodifieds that has kept me broke beyond belief.

    Early in this thread, you stated that you'd like to see something like a vintage dirt supermodifed class. I think that's the best possible idea. The fans are what makes a class a success or failure. Why try to invent another late model or mod class? Who is going to come out to watch that isn't already? If you want open wheel racing, go for TRUE open wheel racing (as in all 4 wheels). Here's my own recipe for disaster:

    Fabricated box tubing chassis with a SAFE cage design
    Steel or aluminum fabricated "coupe" body with full roof. Hood top only.
    2000 lb minimum weight.
    NO bodywork outside the inner rim lip of any tire.
    Nerf bars must be 1" within outside plane of tires
    Late Model front suspension with an 8-10" tire up front
    Quickchange with 3 solid links only. No birdcages or torque arms.
    LR tire same spec as fronts
    RR tire 12-14 measured section width.
    Smallblock anything with stamped steel rockers
    Flat top pistons
    4412 carb with stock venturi size

    The cars need to look and sound fast. Open wheels and inset nerf bars will get rid of the kamikaze drivers in a hurry. Rim sizes are commonly available. The fans want to see that big right rear tire, and it will help with passing in the corners. Tech is simple: pull the valve covers and look at the rockers, pull a spark plug and look/feel for domes, drop a plug gauge in the carb... Why stamped rockers? They break. The cam and RPM issue is self policing...

    Top 5 get teched EVERY time. Nothing you can't do within 10 minutes. During the drivers meeting, tell the teams which plug gets pulled that night. Can't get a plug out or a valve cover off? Fine, load it. NEXT!

    KEEP IT SIMPLE, and don't change the rules for anybody. The guys who really want to race will live with it. Those who just want to whine will disappear.
  3. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    This is VERY close to the rules I've already got down on my legal pad. I keep scratching around on the rear suspension, and my cage design, trying to make it all fit without forcing you to run a closed drive line or the like.

    I think the best solution to that would be a torque arm instead of the upper third link, still rigid or rubber mounted like the third link would have been. Still no birdcages, etc.

    The torque arm just keeps the overall height down so you can still mount the fuel cell over the top of the rear end housing instead of hanging it off the back like a Sprint tank.

    That's another thing I would like to see eliminated (as was said by someone else earlier on in the thread). No Sprint tanks. I'm not looking to build limited Silver Crown cars.

    I like the way you think though.

    Right now, I am digging through chassis MFG parts lists trying to use as many of the parts that others do, so that if guys want to buy used rears or other stuff, they'll be able to find it.

    That brings up the matter of offset. A lot of DLM's have ~3" of offset built into them. What do you think about allowing the same so that racers could buy a rear end out of a GRT or Rocket DLM chassis and drop it right into their car (minus all the fancy birdcages and whatnot, of course)? I think that would be a good idea.

    Instead of making a "Used Late Model" class, I'd much rather make a "Retro Super Modified" class that just so happens to use most all of the big ticket parts off of a DLM.

    The chassis is a one time expense and in the grand scheme, not that big of one. Everything else would be able to be stripped of a recent vintage dirt Late Model.

    Shooting for being able to reuse the front hubs, spindles, front end parts, steering, rear end housing, rear hubs, all the brakes, transmission, fuel cell, seat, gages, etc. I'd also like to place things in the car such that you could use the driveshaft from that same DLM if you wanted to.

    That way, if a man were so inclined, he could buy/build one of these new chassis, then buy a used DLM roller and SHAZZAM! instant race car. :D Since OoltewahSpeedShop pointed me at, I've found a dozen dirt Late Model rollers for less than six grand ($6,000). I haven't run the numbers yet to be sure, but my instincts tell me that at six grand, you're paying about half price for all the parts you'd rob off the thing, and you still have the chassis, wheels & tires, and a bunch of other stuff to sell again to recoup some of that cash.

    I think this has some chance of working, at least economically speaking.

    The promoters are still the one big hurdle.

    Maybe get our foot in the door with some exhibition races, or tag the back of their regular modified show? What are your thoughts on this one.

    I do agree though, a class that doesn't look like anything else out there will have a much better chance of winning over the fans and attracting new racers than a rehash of something everyone's already seen.
  4. iagsxr
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 146


    I'd like to see a small cubic inch, self-starting sprint car class. Make the bodies look like whatever you like, but I think class-specific chassis construction is a no go.

    I've seen these guys race a few times;

    They put on a good show on a little track. If they'd get rid of the wings and spec a RR tire they're not too far off what I'd like.

    When they started the series their deal was to book themselves in. They guarranteed a minimum number of cars and the purse was based off how many actually showed. They sold themselves to promoters at non sprint car tracks as low cost alternative to having a 360 show. They raced for about a third the purse, around $400 to win IIRC.
  5. Outside the purse, the "cost" of racing is two fold: initial cost, and operating cost.
    Operating cost includes travel, and consumables like fuel, tires, rebuilds, breakage,
    and crash damage.

    Some stuff, the racing parts are more expensive initially, but they will stand up better.
    So the cost per race is lower.

    Someone suggested stamped rockers, to limit cams.
    Sounds good at first, OEM rockers are less expensive than race rockers.
    So the average guy will buy the biggest cam he thinks will let the rockers live,
    and expect to change them at half season. I'm going with a bigger cam,
    and I will change the rockers every week. Where is the savings ?

    A stock rocker breaks at 6000 rpm +, how much other damage is going to occur ?
  6. How about tightening up on the IMCA rules ?
    Instead of starting from scratch.
  7. Definitely need a minimum weight rule, with minimum cage specs.

    Maybe specify max left side and rear percentages.
    The DIRT Modifieds do that.

    Stock front clip WAS a good idea. Not any more.
    A shock claim MIGHT be a good idea.

    For the motor, how about:
    Flat top pistons, valve notches ok.
    Limit displacement, maybe specify bore and stroke combos.
    Spec carb, restrictor plate, spec intake manifold.
    Claim rule only on the top end. Cylinder heads, intake, carb, cam.
    (that is where the power is.)
    Specify maximum valve sizes. 2.02 1.6 ?
    Maybe specify max lift at valve. Easy to check.

    Rock hard, narrow tires, steel wheels.

    MOST important: consistently enforce all the rules.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  8. We used to watch the ARTGO late models, many years ago.
    Cool rules package, decent turn out, good racing.

    You could run their spec body, at one weight, or bolt on
    more weight and run a bigger rear spoiler and better nose.

    Same on the motor, run their spec cylinder heads, carb, manifold
    (subject to claim on the top end only), or bolt on more weight and
    go wilder on the motor.

    This let the locals compete, even though their rules were different.

    I forget the weights, but a lot of thought must have gone
    into the weight breaks, because the racing was good.
  9. You're thinking like a racer, not someone who is trying to keep the costs down long term... You keep breaking rockers (or more) and you'll learn that the bigger cam just isn't gonna work...or you won't. Either way, the guy with the biggest motor is as likely to win every week, which is the whole idea...isn't it?

    I think the "no birdcage" idea is the key, whatever type of rear suspension you allow. I know a lot of people who are sick of seeing these DLMs and mods twisted up like pretzels and locked down to one groove racing. That deal is only faster because track operators act like they have to buy water in 16 ounce bottles at the local 7-11. Dry slick is easier on engines but BORING for the fans. Get a promoter to wet the track a little and you'll put on a show that the fans will think is worth coming back for...
  10. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    Because, around here at least, there are already at least two modified classes running, both of which are too damned expensive.

    A third modified class isn't going to catch on anywhere that already has two of them to start with.

    By that same token, a more limited sprint class than the current steel head 360's that run around here is going up against the same thing.

    Tracks already run a either a winged or non-wing 410 sprint, and a winged 360 sprint class, plus the touring series of each of those. Where does another sprint class fit in from the promoter's point of view?

    Sportsman cars around here were a hoot. Big 15" tires, stock stubs, Camaros were allowed, fabricated rear clips, some body work alteration, big motors, but gas only for fuel. They were bad fast, and always put on a good show. That class dwindled down to about six cars ('cause you could race a modified for what they cost, and you wouldn't be tied to a single track) the last season Capital was around, but they kept the class because the racing was so good and the fans loved them. You also couldn't find another class like them anywhere else.

    I think the key to getting something like this off the ground is to NOT be a "stricter" version of some class that already runs everywhere.

    The fans won't be able to appreciate the differences, they'll just see them as "a slower late model" or "a slower sprint car" or "a slower modified", and folks get bored of seeing the same cars race class after class.

    Variety is the spice of life, and that spice is what keeps the fans interested through the whole show.
  11. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    Yeah, but that kind of thinking (the "they'll learn or go broke trying" line of thought) is what gave us the IMCA claim rule, where the big money just rolls in, takes the show, sells their motor, and rolls on down the road.

    They just treat it like a cost of doing business, just like changing those rocker arms out every week will be.

    IMO, shaft mounted roller rockers and roller cams aren't so much a power thing as a maintenance thing.

    Yes, they aid the production of power, but they also allow me to lash the valves on a that roller motor twice a season instead of every week like the solid lifter version.

    Reductions in maintenance like that are worth the $200 extra you spend on those parts. Especially when you consider that you can use that roller cam and set of lifters for season after season, where you have to throw away the old and buy a new cam and set of solid lifters every year.

    Same with good rods and pistons, bearings, rings, etc. They allow you to make more power and to rev the motor faster, but they also allow that motor to live for multiple seasons without new parts. The investment more than pays for itself over the (considerably longer) life of the engine.

    Paying for durability always makes good economic sense, no matter what kind of venture you're talking about, be it race cars, machine tools, daily drivers, trailers, you name it.
  12. No argument at all on the durability issue! But, what those good parts under the valve cover also do is allow stiffer valvesprings, and higher RPM, and that's where the real money takes over.

    You wanted it easy to police, right? If you enforce a rule that people KNOW is going to cause parts to break above about 6000 rpm, then teams have the choice of rolling the dice or backing down a bit. If a guy refuses to swap in a smaller cam to let the thing live through a night, then he is choosing to spend the extra money on broken parts and choosing to risk not making it to the finish. That's how it will always be with some people anyway. If nobody can get a valvespring in there that will let the motor go above 6500, then you've leveled the playing field...without time-consuming teardowns that no one really wants to do after the first beer gets opened.

    I'm not saying that stamped rockers are the holy grail that will save dirt track racing... NO WAY. IMCA tried that with stock lower a arms, skinny tires and the claim; and it's not working anymore. But there has to be SOME reason for guys not to bother throwing a ton of money into RPM. As soon as you can hook it, the guys who can run 8000 just pull away, the mid-packers lose interest, and the fans fall asleep. It's a lot cheaper to do that in the LaZBoy at home....
  13. Since the rules apply to racers, and racers are their own worst enemies, then "thinking like a racer" should be a consideration, if you want to predict the effect of a rule. Long term, racers will look for any advantage, even if it costs more money. Their objective, is to go faster, period; even if it means going broke.

    X pounds per cubic inch, with a minimum weight,
    will reduce the advantage of a large motor.

  14. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
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    Yeah, I gotta agree on that one. Thinking like a racer is how you build the rules to not bankrupt people, or make the racing suck.

    I like that weight by engine displacement rule, that's a novel concept, and one I haven't seen executed by anyone before.

    You'd have to have a tech guy who could use the meter properly, but it wouldn't be hard to police.

    It'd also be cool because this rule would necessitate affixing the displacement on the hood again so the scale guys know what the thing is supposed to weigh. Added benefit.
  15. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    You can coe up here and buy our local track, I see it has a 4 sale sign out front. Ran a full racing season in 09. Ran 5 or 6 classes, none were sprint style ars, has 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile dirt ovals. I have nothing to do with it, buy would sure like to see the racing continue here. Gene
  16. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    I'd love to, looks like a nice place.

    However, it's seven and a half (7.5) hours drive from here to there.

    I will never move to live in Illinois, so that's a non-starter for me.

    And again, if I had the scratch to buy a race track, we wouldn't be having this affordable racing discussion in the first place. ;)

    Hopefully someone will step up and make sure the place stays in operation.
  17. Pavement Late Models did that up here in the 70's.
    8 lbs/cube, 2800 lb minimum.
    Eventually just about everyone switched to 355 cubes, easier on tires.

    I think the big block DIRT Modifieds use a lbs/cube rule.

    The Mod Lite guys have the displacement and weight on the hood,
    because different motors get different weight breaks.
    If you can't use a P&G Meter, you have absolutely no business being a "tech inspector".
    One way to reduce the cost, is to make the track shorter.
    Dirt or pavement, doesn't matter. Should improve the racing too.
  18. T Achilli
    Joined: Aug 25, 2009
    Posts: 239

    T Achilli
    from walworth

    I am not an expert and wouldn't even consider myself a hard core racer, I race 4 times a year in a stock front driver in charity events around the southern wis area. but I have been very good friends with a tech inspector for the last 25 years and his biggest problem with cars is getting track owners, promoters to stand behind his decisions. Owners with mutiple cars or have track sponsership may get the treatment "give him a warning" or "we need him around" and I give him a lot of credit for not waving to that shit, and maybe he might be labled an asshole but the tech is not out there to be any ones friend. He is eager to help guys if they need advice, but he is spot on when there is a problem and has no problem taking away wins, money or races if your car don't pass. Racers will stay if they feel they have a relativly level playing field. Before we had good techs we had a hobby class that was dominated by cars that didn't pass any of the supposed rules in the class, once the techs started policing no one wanted to play any more. So we lost a class in our program but gained respect in our other classes. Every one talks about how we need another class but we can barely keep enough cars in the classes we have. Any way Topic is great and good luck.
  19. BinderRod
    Joined: Jul 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,736


    Ryan, our crew has raced with you for a few years. I now live in Holts Summit and where the track used to be is now a sub division. With all of the oil and other fluids that were drained onto the ground the people wil have kids with 3 arms and stuff. After we won 3 track championships in a row we all kind of lost intrest. With all of the cost going up and admission to get in the pits you could drop a 100 bucks a person on fuel, tires and beer.

    Most of the time the better cheater won and we did bend the rules and look for gray areas in the rule book. It got to where it just didn't make sense to spend 7 of 8 grand on a motor and race for 300 bucks. One of our car owners even lost his house to support his racing habbit.
  20. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    That's true to a point, unless you take wildly overpowered cars like outlaw sprints or UMP modifieds and run them on a teeny tiny track. Then it's like fighter jets inside a gymnasium, and a meat grinder ensues.

    I crewed on a 410 sprint that ran a few times on the 1/5th mile at Godfrey IL, when the sprints were there, they had UMP mods as a support class (maybe every week, I don't know). Those cars went in looking like modifieds, and came out looking like used up figure eight cars. It was brutal.

    Bead lock wheels are like buzz saws that just chew up sheetmetal and nerf bars, and on a track that small with a field of 24 cars, there is simply no place to go. You are on someone from green to checkered.

    The racing was great, but I bet a new body doesn't last a month there.
  21. 1/5 is a little small for winged Sprint Cars on dirt.
    But a slower class would be fine.
  22. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    Everyone was going broke running those A modifieds for $500 to win (or $300 when they didn't get 20 cars, which was most nights) and $50 to start.

    Hell, $50 to start don't even pay for the fuel, much less the pit passes and tires, to say nothing of broken shit.

    I loved the racing, but we just couldn't hack it money wise. It got to be very demoralizing too, because we'd run good most of the time, and real good sometimes, but my luck was shit and I never got to capitalize on those real good runs and turn them into wins. Well, I say that, and sometimes it really was bad luck, however other times it was just plain getting run over by some fool, but I digress.

    We didn't cheat and it was a bitch to keep up, so we knew it was happening, but we didn't have the money to cheat if we'd wanted to anyway. It's easy to be honest when you can't afford to cheat properly. lol :D
  23. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    Yeah, that's what I was saying.

    I tell you though, they had a bunch of little Yamaha powered mini-sprints running there that night. All kids of say 11-13 yrs. They were animals. Best racing of the night. Those little cars were a real hoot on that track. Plenty fast, and the kids flat got after it. I was very impressed. They wadded a few of them up though too. lol Even the little tracks can make some speed.

  24. For a winged car, yeah probably. But a non winged car! Ventura Speedway is about the funnest, most challenging place I've ever dreamed of running. It's somewhere between a 1/5 and 1/6 mile depending how you drive it. It has turns that you can go four wide in, but you better pull it in quick because you can barely go two wide in the straights. This is a place where a lot of usac regulars like Rip William, Corey Kruseman, Danny Sheridan, Josh Ford, etc. cut their teeth, and the national guys are happy when they make the main when they race there.
    It's kinda like when the outlaw guys roll into Pa. and have to run against the Posse guys.

    Ventura 410 show
  25. while I'm playing dirt track show and tell here's how my season ended this year, go to the 28 second mark, I drive the red car. A sprint car that is set up too tight can be your worst enemy....

    (the crash at the start of the video is a buddy, Norm Johns who's been running sprints in northern ca for as long as I can remember, they called off the start, he didn't catch it and and the driver in front of him checked up at the start finish. Totaled the car but he was okay)

  26. Have you looked at Mod Lites, or Dwarf Cars ?
    Legends Cars are too fragile, therefore too expensive.
  27. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    Ventura is so famous, even I know about it out here in BFE Missouri. :D

    It sure looks like a real hoot to drive.

    Those non-wing 410 sprints are cool as hell too, I love watching them run, but you don't see them around here much. I don't think I've ever watched the 360's run without wings (which is weird, you'd think they'd be cheaper to run without the wings, and maybe more prone to stay on the ground with the smaller motors).

    That guy I crewed for took the wing off his 410 to run a race down at either Farmington or I-55 (I can't remember which, I wasn't there, only saw the video) and took one hell of a tumble in his heat race. Tore the hell out of the car, and gave him a concussion.

    He doesn't care much for sprint cars without wings on them. :D
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  28. Ok. Lets go lb/cid. Make it 7 since we're talking open wheel. I'll take a 302. 400 block with a VERY short stroke crank and 6 1/2" rods with Honda journals. Great for a dry slick track :rolleyes:. I've raced against these things turning 7600 with iron heads and a 2bbl, and it's a BAD FAST combo that takes a gazillion dollars to get right. Now I get the priveledge of a 371 pound weight break over a 355 cause I have the money to build one... You say my engine's illegal? Well, now we gotta tear it down to find out...and we're back where we started.

    Sorry guys, just my opinion, but I've seen it too many times to agree. Racers writing rules will always say "Oh, we've gotta have that, because...". This has all been done a hundred(thousand?) times before...
  29. CoolHand
    Joined: Aug 31, 2007
    Posts: 1,926

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    No, you write the weight rule to read:

    Then there is only so much weight break you get by going down to the smaller displacement fast revving engines.

    My choice would be a 406, 'cause that's what I have the most of. My car would have to weigh 2842 LBS.

    The smallest motor you could run and not be at a disadvantage would be 355 CID.

    Anything smaller and your LB per Cube starts going over 7, so you're at a weight disadvantage.

    I'm not writing rules to keep people from ever spending money.

    I'm trying to write rules that keep the money being spent from automatically equaling an advantage over the competition.

    That 305 with the tiny stroke would be great on a dry slick track, but if the track is heavy, it'll be a pig 'cause it's way down on torque compared to a 400. Conversely, on the slick, the 400 is harder to drive because that torque makes it wheelspin and skate like a bitch.

    That's an even split, 'cause no track goes dry slick every single night.

    What I don't want is to allow things like super trick shocks or the four bar rear suspensions. Those things make you faster no matter what the track conditions are. They are a simple "spend money, go faster" kind of deal, and that's what I'm trying to root out.

    I think it can be done. It'll never be perfect, but I'm gonna try to hit the high spots and see what it looks like when I'm done.

    I'll post them up when I'm finished, and we can argue and tear them apart all winter long. :D
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  30. If you were limited to stock bore/stroke COMBINATIONS,
    with a maximum overbore, that simplifies things.

    No 3" crank in a 400 block, no 400 crank in a 4" block, etc.
    Then you don't need 4 completely different engine combos.

    Not that hard to pull a head to check bore and stroke,
    when some one protests. Better pull both heads, just in case. :eek: :D
    RPM costs money, right ? How about a gear rule ?

    I know it has been done, in the DIRT Sportsman class,
    but I don't know how well it worked for them.

    I don't know how much a typical IMCA car would weigh.
    But no minimum weight is crazy.

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