It started innocently enough just a simple conversation with my old buddy Nick Ramey last September at the ARCA race at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Nick, who runs the ARCA engine program for Roush Yates Engines, told me that the company was planning some big things for 2009 and that I should keep an eye on them. Fast forward to PRI 2008, while walking the trade show floor, I heard my name called out. I turned around to see a guy in a Roush Yates shirt. "I'm Jeremy Anderson, Nick told me to find you," he said.

We sat down in the Roush Yates booth and Jeremy clued me in on those plans that Nick talked about back in Jersey. Roush Yates Engines was going short-track racing. My initial reaction was probably the same one you're having right now . . . a NASCAR engine builder going short-track racing?

Truth be known that's Doug Yates' biggest problem. "Everybody sees us as a NASCAR builder, but in reality we're an engine builder. We've built Sprint Car motors, Late Model Motors. We're the builder of record for the Ford Focus Midget engines. We're even building a marine engine for an offshore powerboat," says Yates.

So Roush Yates is making a legit push into short-track racing. I wondered, not so quietly, in what arena of the short-track world, besides the Focus, Yates' engine building prowess would wind up. Anderson told me there were two areas that had their attention, 360 Sprint motors and Late Models, that would be Dirt Late Models. "We've already got one team out of Jacksonville who is going to be running our engine this season," said Anderson.

To understand the motivation behind Yates' push into the world of short-track racing you have to know that Ford's newly introduced NASCAR motor has left Doug with a problem. "Within the next several years we're going to have about 300 D3 headed engines become obsolete in NASCAR," explains Yates. The D3 head was the standard bearer for NASCAR motors wearing the blue oval, but the new design meant those heads would no longer be used in NASCAR competition.

"We had to find a home for these engines and the related parts," says Yates. But rather than just dump them on the open market, Yates decided to find a way to expand his business. "We really sat back and looked at this inventory and said we could use this product as a platform to grow our company." But it doesn't stop there. Yates says that his short-track vision includes supplying parts to the independent engine builder as well.

Needless to say, a Roush Yates late-model engine peaked our interest. We knew that Roush Yates built some wickedly potent powerplants. But could they be an effective short-track engine? We aimed to find out. Our original plan was to take one of these fire-breathing monsters and slide it into the new chassis for Project DLM, but parts availability issues related to that chassis threw a monkey wrench into that idea. So when Jeremy called up and told us that our Roush Yates DLM motor was ready, we made the decision to give our 2002 Rayburn a heart transplant.

Out with the Old The motor that was in Project DLM was a 362ci Chevy. It had older style, but effective Brodix heads with domed pistons and a Holley 4150 sitting atop an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake. It made 550 on the dyno-a bit less than expected when we originally dyno'd it, but serviceable for many of the shorter tracks that we would run. Future plans for this engine are still in the talking stages, but a limited motor or a spec head National Late Model Series legal motor are possibilities.re.