Lower Control Arms The ball joint sockets and the inner mount portions of the lower control arms (or struts) are the most stressed areas of this part, aside from the shock mount. Pay attention to the overall condition of the arm and look for fatigue and cracking around the mounting areas.

Check the arm for straightness as well as fatigue areas. If the car has been in contact with other cars or the walls and the arms have not been replaced, there may be hidden damage. Now would be a great time to order new arms.

Engine Mounts This is another area where there may be hidden damage. Any sudden stops, which may otherwise not cause serious damage, might have bent or cracked the engine mounts. The motor is the heaviest piece bolted onto the car and the mounts are mostly engineered to reduce rotational movement, not fore and aft movement.

Front and rear end hits can cause damage to the motor mounts. A good inspection of these mounts is not possible with the motor in the car, so now is the time to look them over in detail. If you have had to space the motor up a significant distance to avoid having the oil pan scrape, now might be a good time to raise the actual mounts so there is less spacing needed. Doing this secures the engine and causes it to resist fore and aft movement by using fewer spacers.

Driveshaft If the driveshaft is not damaged, then just remove and replace the U-joints. These parts are subject to high stress and are way too cheap to take a chance on failure.

Inspect the yokes and transmission tailshaft. There are high-performance shafts and yokes available now that were not a few years ago. If you are looking for a little more performance, check out some of the new stuff.

Brake System Remove the brake and clutch master cylinders, flush the lines, and rebuild the cylinders. The last thing you need is brake failure, or clutch failure for that matter.

If your brake lines have been banged up or otherwise damaged, you might consider replacement while the car is apart. At least replace the flex lines, which may contain degradable synthetic hose inside the woven stainless steel.

Look over the clutch and brake pedal bushings and replace them if worn where there is excess play. Look over the brake adjuster and clean and lubricate the cable.

Seats, Belts, Window Net For safety purposes, we need to look over the seatbelts and seats. For all the reasons previously given, stress from hard racing might have damaged your seatbelt system.

There should be no fraying or tearing of the material. The mounts must be stress free and not bent from the original location. Check the manufacturer's date on the belts. Each track and/or sanctioning body has rules governing how dated your belts can be.

Inspect your head-and-neck restraint system (you are using an H&N system, aren't you?) and your helmet. We know of one case where a hard hit damaged a helmet because the driver's head moved forward so hard that it dented and cracked the material inside the helmet. Luckily, the driver's HANS Device stopped his head from moving forward to prevent any serious injury, but the helmet was useless afterward.

Don't forget to recheck the fire suppression system to see if it will work properly when needed. The fire bottle is rarely needed, but when it is, things get urgent in a hurry.

Wiring and Switches To ensure your car doesn't stop running at the wrong moment, all wiring and switches must be fresh and free of corrosion. The vibrations that occur during a race can break or loosen the wire connections. Wiring is fairly simple, and it would make good sense to have someone rewire the entire car during the offseason.

Recheck the grommets where the wires pass through the firewall or other panels. Cycle the switches and notice if they feel tight or corroded. Replace the ones that are suspect. Many races have been lost due to a cheap switch or connector.