6. OIL Like the quality of your fuel and fuel system, the same holds true for your oil. Fresh oil and filters are cheap compared to motor rebuilds. Don't forget to inspect the oil system lines as thoroughly as you did the fuel lines. Remember to use only a racing oil filter. Stock oil filters should never be used since they can't handle the pressure and flow of a racing pump. If you're using an O-berg-type inspection screen, it should be no smaller than 115 micron.

7. DRY SUMP Do you run a dry sump system? If you do, make sure you know the proper way to check the oil level. The oil level should be 65 percent of your tank's capacity with the engine running. Just because your buddy's car takes 15 quarts doesn't mean yours does. There's no required amount, every system is different.

8. CONNECT IT All of the connections need to be checked. This goes for all of the lines, fuel, oil, water, and so on. If any of the fittings look worn or damaged, replace them. Don't take any chances.

9. CARBURETOR Assuming you won't do a complete rebuild, you should drain any fuel and clean it out front to back. You want to start fresh. Replace the power valves, make sure the gaskets are in good shape, and recheck your float level. The float level on belt drive pumps should be set with the maximum fuel pressure the carb will see at max rpm. Also, thoroughly inspect the throttle linkage and the springs. There should be no binding, kinks, or other damage. If there's any sign, replace the component immediately. During the season, remove the carb and check the base plate screws every 100 laps.

10. INTAKE BOLTS The intake bolt length should not be changed as this can cause pushrod interference.

11. VALVESRPINGS As part of the winterizing process some guys will back off the valvesprings and clear out the cylinders. If you did this, check your springs and lash to be sure they are at the recommended setting. You should plan on firing the motor a week or two before your first race/practice to make sure it's running smoothly.

12. FRESH PLUGS As obvious as it seems you should start the season with a fresh set of spark plugs. This is another one of those "too inexpensive not to" tips.

13. DISTRIBUTOR Inspect the inside of your distributor for corrosion in the rotor and cap. Some guys and gals will run the distributor for two or three years without checking it. Over that long time period they can canker up pretty good and will need to be cleaned and serviced before they cause a problem at the track.

14. ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS Check the ignition and all electrical connections, make sure everything is clean and tight.

15. I LOVE MSD BUT ... MSD is a wiring deal that can cause you problems if you don't read the instructions. Its distributors are color coded along with the ignition boxes. The distributor has a purple/black wire coming out of it while the box has a solid purple one. Most people think that because there's purple on both you need to connect them. However if you put those two wires together you will add 30 degrees of timing to your engine, and that will melt your pistons 100 percent of the time. The purple/black wire needs to be connected to the solid green wire. That solid purple wire gets connected to the orange/black wire. If you put a new MSD system in your car be sure to read and follow the instructions to the letter.

16. TIMING BELTS Speaking of timing, your timing belt, as well as all of the belts on your car, should be nice and tight. You should also inspect them closely to be sure they are free of cracks or nicks. Replace them if necessary, remember a belt is another one of those items that is inexpensive enough to replace every season. Don't take any chances on a cheap part ruining your Saturday night. By the way, if you have a dyno session in the off season and find that you have to move the ignition timing after that session, then something is wrong. Go back and start digging.