In the past, some areas of the body such as the front overhang and rear overhang proved difficult to measure. Some inspectors made their own devices, but it was inconsistent from track to track.

To make the program work effectively, the rules must be universally interpreted. An ABC body program advisory committee will monitor the progress. This group provides the approval for participating manufacturers.

The Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Ford Taurus, Dodge Intrepid, and Pontiac Grand Prix bodies are approved for 2004 use. The entire body must be from one manufacturer.

A sampling of the rules is provided on these pages. For complete rules, contact the manufacturer or sanctioning body.

The nose cannot be intentionally altered in any way and must be centered on the front tread width of the car. The new rules call for a minimum ground clearance along the bottom edge of the nose to be 4 inches.

The front of the car must fit three templates. Measurements will be taken along the left and right fenders as well as over the hood.

The hood will need to be adequately braced and fit tight to the fenders and windshield at all times. Hoods will have a minimum of five locking pins across the leading edge.

Metal fenders are not allowed under the new program. Approved fenders will carry ABC-approved labels. Wheel openings will be no larger than 7 inches from the edge of the wheel (not the tire). Each fender must pass the template test in order to get the car into the event.

Roof panels will face the same stringent inspection as the rest of the car. Likewise, doors will be closely scrutinized to make sure competitors are keeping within the rules. Quarters must be cut out with polycarbonate windows in both sides. A side-to-side template will be handy to help officials check the car.

The decklid and filler panel will be another area where the templates will be put to work. The decklid cannot distort under racing conditions and should be properly mounted.

The rear bumper cover is well addressed in the rules for 2004. It must be supported by a tubular support to the chassis. Those tubes must be behind the bumper cover and cannot extend through or past the bumper. Correct rear overhang dimensions and vertical conformity will come with proper mounting.

The rule book also addresses spoilers, windshields, and remaining windows. Participating manufacturers and sanctions will have the rule books for competitors in need.

To help get the job done, an inspection station called the Referee has been developed. Tech inspectors will be able to check seven critical areas on a body in just a few minutes:

1. Front overhang
2. Tread width-front
3. Roof height
4. Wheelbase
5. Tread width-rear
6. Quarter-panel height
7. Rear overhang

When used in conjunction with the ABC templates, the Referee becomes a great time-saving device, which will be important in getting competitors on the track in a timely fashion. The car is simply rolled through the device much like a passenger car in an automatic car wash. Tech inspectors handle a certain area and note the compliance. An ABC body inspection checklist includes areas covered by templates and the Referee in a pass/fail format to inform a crew chief of any deficiencies.

The days of the high downforce body are numbered. After the '04 season, these bodies will not be allowed to compete in an ABC event. Bodies made in 2002 or earlier will carry a weight penalty. Many organizers had already outlawed the '03 body. Some expect to see the ABC body proliferate shortly after its first win.

Unified body rules have been a part of the dirt Late Model racing scene for some time. The move to standardize the asphalt Late Model body will provide traveling opportunities that may open the door for aspiring drivers. As time rolls along, more tracks, sanctions, and manufacturers are expected to step up and take part. It's setting a trend for tomorrow's racing.

SOURCE
FASCAR/Sunbelt Series O'Reilly Southern All-Stars
Sunoco Super Series Aluminum Racing Products
Five Star Stock Car Bodies Florida Pro Series