Anyone who has been a part of racing for a while has likely noticed a sort of ebb-and-flow of technology and wisdom that moves between the racing strata. For example, expensive technology developed in the professional racing classes gradually becomes cheaper as it evolves and usually gets adopted by Saturday night racers. Or it can go the other way. Every year, great new crew chiefs, chassis specialists, and drivers make a splash on the Sprint Cup tour, or other professional series, after cutting their teeth and winning races at the local level. A lot of that is planned, but some happens more naturally.

Take, for example, Leavitt Racing Components out of Mooresville, NC. The chassis shop has always built cars for all levels, but for the last several years it had been quite busy designing and fabricating chassis for NASCAR's top-level racing series, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Series. Building cars on that level requires a lot of expertise as well as technology. To that end, owner Steve Leavitt added a complete CNC-machining center to be able to fabricate custom components for the chassis, installed computing centers to completely design a chassis to determine strengths and weaknesses before bending the first piece of tubing, and many other tricks.

Despite Leavitt Racing Components' success as a chassis builder, the vogue trend in the Cup series is for teams to build all their cars in-house. It makes sense for the multi-car teams to invest in the capabilities to build their own chassis, but even single-car teams feel the need to emulate that trend in order to "keep up." So despite the organization's success, Leavitt slowly found its high-end Cup chassis business drying up through no fault of its own.

That ebb from the Cup end of the business winds up "flowing" to the benefit of the Saturday night racer. Leavitt Racing Components is already a major player on the USAR Pro Cup Series and has several winning NASCAR Late Model Stock teams running its chassis. And now the company is designing a new straight-rail asphalt car.

"The NASCAR Late Model Stock is really only dominant in the Southeast," Steve Leavitt explains. "But the straight-rail car is raced all over the country. We used to build a lot of straight-rail cars but haven't in years. Now that most of the Cup teams are doing their own thing we have the ability and the time to start building them again, and I think we can put a really good race car on the track."

Following is a close look at Leavitt Racing Components' new straight-rail chassis. As this went to press Leavitt says he can't give an idea of the final cost. "There's still too much left to be finalized," he says. "This is the very first chassis, so we're developing jigs and new ideas as we go along. When we get the second one built we'll have a better idea of what we will need to charge. I do know we'll have at least a few on the track by the end of the 2009 racing season and, hopefully, this chassis will have wins to its credit before the start of the 2010 season."

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