When you think about race engine builders utilizing dry-sump oiling systems, it's only natural to consider the Nextel Cup guys or maybe the touring Dirt Late Model cars. After all, that's where the ultimate in power is made and the most money is being spent.

The advantages that big-budget teams derive from dry-sump oiling systems-where excess engine oil is stored in a tank away from the engine instead of in the oil pan like in a wet-sump system-are also advantages that many teams in lower racing series can use (if the rules allow). Now, manufacturers are producing systems aimed at the more budget-conscious racers. Fast Times Fabrication is one of those companies. By using readily available components and producing everything else he needs in house, owner Phil Stefanelli produces complete oiling systems designed to be both efficient and affordable.

Fast Times Fabrication isn't the only company in the racing industry that realizes cost is a factor for most of us, but the rules are pretty much the same for everyone: Precision costs money. For a Nextel Cup team trying to get every last bit of power out of an engine, the costs skyrocket. If you aren't trying to push your oiling system to the absolute limits with tolerances held to the ten-thousandths, the costs of production are significantly reduced without sacrificing reliability.

This is the first in a two-part series on selecting components for and building a dry-sump engine. The first part will focus on the characteristics of a dry-sump system, options for the engine builder, and the features you should look for in a quality product. Part two will move from fabrication to the engine builder's shop where we will discuss integrating the system into a complete engine package.

The Pan Removing the responsibility for oil storage from the pan allows it to be much more effective at reducing the power-robbing effects of windage. No matter the type of oiling system, a good circle track oil pan should include baffles to keep oil trapped near the pickup(s), adequate volume to keep oil in the pan below the reach of the crankshaft, some type of wiper, and a kick-out on the right side. The kick-out performs two roles. It increases the pan's volume without increasing depth, and allows oil to move out from directly underneath the crank. The extra area also reduces bounce-back. Bounce-back occurs when oil slings off the crank, hits the side of the pan, and bounces back onto the crank. Because of the direction the crank spins, this is only a problem on the right side of the pan. Moving the wall of the pan away from the crank with a kick-out helps reduce the problem and the windage that it creates.

A pan built specifically for a dry-sump application can include an extra set of tricks. Most importantly, by removing the pump from the interior of the pan, it creates room and allows for greater flexibility in the pickup points. Now, instead of a single pickup point in the rear of the pan, multiple pickup points can be employed in conjunction with multistage oil pumps (more on that later). Also, instead of trying to collect all the oil in one area, dry-sump pans can be sectioned so that the oil cannot slosh around in the pan or pile up in one area-in circle track racing, the rear corner at the back of the pan-and possibly come in contact with the spinning crank. Each section is drained individually by its own pickup from the oil pump.