They may look like slab-sided wedges that are all about brute power with no grace. But that really couldn't be further from the truth.

The modern Dirt Late Model race car is, by practically anyone's standards, an impressive piece of machinery. Lightweight with lots of tuning options, precise handling, and the ability to handle tons of horsepower, the Dirt Late Model design has been refined for the big-money touring Super teams over the decades.

That refinement includes the "Maximum Downforce" line of dirt noses. The second generation MD2 nose has been around for a few years. However, two leading body manufacturers (Performance Bodies and Five Star Race Car bodies) have released the MD3 with further refinements designed to both improve aerodynamic downforce over the nose and be easier to install.

The good news is that while the MD3 design has been engineered to help the big-money Super DLM teams win at the big races, the MD3 nose works just as well in the crate and spec motor classes. This month we show you how to properly mount up the nose, lower valance, and fenders (also known as "elephant ears") on an '07 Rocket chassis owned by Crate Late Model racer Matt Long. And next month we'll follow up by showing you the tricks to mounting up the MD3 hood and roof—along with fabricating new A and C pillars.