Crate motors may not be for everyone, but for some racers there is no doubt that the ability to drop a crate motor into their race car has made competition fun and affordable once again. General Motors has certainly been the leader when it comes to crate motor racing, and its Chevrolet 602 and 604 circle track racing engine packages are appearing at tracks all across America.
Now, Richard Childress Racing has also joined the scene to make going racing just a little bit easier. While the 602 and 604 are complete long-blocks, there are still several components that must be added before you are ready to go racing. These include the water pump, fuel pump, distributor, ignition and wires, starter, air filter, and power steering pump, if you choose to run one. Although none of these components are difficult to install on the engine, too often we've heard stories of racers scrambling at the last minute trying to find that last little thing they need. Finding the correct drive pulleys, brackets and belts to run the water pump, alternator, and power steering pump can sometimes be a maddening experience. If the brackets aren't designed to work in unison, the pulleys won't line up and the engine will throw belts faster then you can say "did not finish." And we all know a good night of racing ruined over something as silly as a power steering belt can make a nun cuss.
Richard Childress Racing's...
Richard Childress Racing's new Chevy dress kit includes just about everything you need to get a crate motor up and running, and all the components are designed to work together effectively.
That's why we think this new offering from Richard Childress Racing is such a good idea. In conjunction with GM Performance Parts, RCR is now offering a complete accessories package design to work with Chevy stock car racing engines-and especially Chevy's circle track crate motor lineup. The package includes just about everything you need to get a crate motor up and running, minus the carburetor, headers, and spark plugs. Possibly best of all, the extras you will need-every gasket, nut, bolt, and spacer-is already included. This means no more rummaging around in your spare-bolts bucket at midnight because you need one more 31/48-inch bolt to finish the job. All the correct spacers are included to ensure proper belt alignment so that the water and power steering pumps, as well as the alternator, not only work dependably, but also with minimal drag on the engine.
"This kit was born out of a relationship we built with GM Performance Parts over several years, which obviously came through our GM Goodwrench connections," explains RCR's Chuck Spicer. "We are trying to get the RCR Performance name out on the market, and this is the first step in that process. We felt that we could bring something to the circle track racers by delivering an engine dress kit that is readily available, uses really good components, and meets our validation that comes from our own racing experience. These are parts racers will want to use."
To test the quality of this...
To test the quality of this new kit, we stripped our Circle Track dyno mule 350. It has been heavily modified since arriving in crate-motor trim, but RCR says that this kit will work with most aftermarket block and heads as long as they are based on traditional 350 designs.
Spicer says that when putting together this accessories package, RCR went with component manufacturers that it had a relationship with and knew produced quality racing components, such as CV Products, MSD, and Stewart Water Pumps. RCR then chose every component to ensure that they would work together optimally. By the time you read this, it will be available through all participating Chevrolet dealerships as the RCR Performance Package. Spicer says that RCR also understands not all racers will require the complete package. For example, some may already have an ignition but wish to scrap their current pulley system, which may be worn or giving them trouble, and start over. Others may not run power steering and do not wish to use the power steering pump. Because of this, the package has been split into 13 different part numbers, which Spicer says will allow racers to purchase only the components they need.
To see how well this system worked together, we installed it on Circle Track's own dyno mule. The mule began life as a Chevrolet crate 350 but has been modified extensively since. That's OK because this accessories package is designed to work with any traditional Chevy small-block 350, not just the crate motors. For more information, Spicer says you can contact your local Chevy dealer.