Everything begins with the framerails and the cross member that the truck arms will mount
Sometimes you just have to break the mold. Go against the grain. March to the beat of your own boom box…or something like that.
Need proof? If somebody wasn’t willing to break the mold, we’d still be wearing top hats and calling each other "chap” and "old boy!” And going against the grain gave us breakfast foods for supper, which is always better than eating the same stuff for breakfast, even though nobody knows why.
Going against the grain is also often necessary in racing if you hope to find an advantage over your competition. After all, the only thing that going with the status quo will guarantee you is a mid-pack finish.
That was the thinking when Hess Racing Products set out to build a new Super Late Model asphalt race car for Bill Kimmel. Asphalt SLM touring series like the Pro All Star Series (PASS) or the Champion Racing Association (CRA) occupy a unique place in the racing landscape. It is one of the highest levels of racing where the racers are almost all racing for a hobby, not a profession. The touring format means race teams are at a different racetrack each week with very limited practice time. Tripping up and missing the setup one weekend can throw a real monkey wrench into both your night and your chances at a championship.
To lessen the opportunity to screw up the setup, Hess Racing decided to go against the grain with this SLM chassis. Most cars at this level use a three-link rear suspension setup. The short bars make the rearend more reactive on the track, but missing the setup even by a little can really throw off your lap times. Hess has been building top-level touring cars from NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, to the ARCA series to Pro Cup, all of which utilize a truck-arm rear suspension.
SLM rules do not dictate a stamped or stock floorpan, so Cornett can fabricate the interior exactly how he needs it
A truck-arm suspension uses much longer suspension arms. Those longer arms means less rear steer is created when the chassis rolls to the right side through the turns. Overall, the rearend is more forgiving and missing the perfect setup shouldn’t harm the handling as much. On the other hand, a Super Late Model isn’t as tall as a typical truck-arm car and making the geometry work can be difficult.
We wanted to see how it all came together so we spent several days at the Hess Racing Products shops in Mooresville, North Carolina, documenting the progress of this build from a stack of tubing all the way to a completed rolling chassis. Later, we’ll come back around to hang the body. But for now, we’ve got some serious fabrication to do.