I have been a huge fan of yours for more than 10 years when I first picked up your chassis setup book. I ran ASA North Crate series for 6 years and now I find myself as the Business Manager for Madison International Speedway.
I read your Circle Track article on antiquated rules (July '12). I'm so happy to have read what you wrote. A lot of the things I have been talking to my General Manager and Tech Official about since I started here have been in the same directions that you are talking about. The height rule, shock rule, and to me the Engine rule are costing us more money for less power and performance!
I'm really wanting to change some things at my track going forward and feel I have some great ideas that will bring exciting, potently less expense, and fans back in the seats. For example we run a Late Model class that runs off of the same rules as the Big 8 Series. I have guys that I know have put $25,000 into their engines and end up with 460 to 480 hp.
When I know for a fact if the rules were changed I can go out and for $20,000 I can build an engine with 600 to 650 hp. Then maybe we will bring back tire management with a softer tire and if the guy with a big pocket book goes and builds a $60,000 motor with 800 hp he will just burn up the tires and the guy with 650 hp will be a much faster car.
I feel that we have made it more expensive for the guys to race, and with less horsepower and hard tires the show has lost entertainment and hence the low fan count. I'm trying very hard for my guys at my track to feel the same way and maybe you can help me with this subject? Thank you for your time Bob and all the help you have given me over the years,
What the owners, promoters and tech officials of the tracks and sanctions need to be reminded of is that innovation in the areas of chassis setup is what built this sport. Early on, the racers were WWII mechanics who were bored and needed stimulation and racing provided that.
It was the building and tweaking the chassis to gain speed that provided the interest. Without that, the hard work that goes into building, maintaining, and racing a stock car would not be worth it to many of these guys.
And in this day and age, affordability is important, but not to the extent that it takes away the fun. There is a balance, just like in chassis setup and we are doing our part to help people like you find that perfect balance that will grow this sport from this point on.
Stock Appearing Comments
My name is Scott Luck. I race at Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in the Sportsman division. I read the article on Stock Appearing Bodies. I want to say you're right on with needing new looking Street Stock/Sportsman bodies in these types of classes.
I would just like to show you what I have been running for a body on my Chevy metric chassis (Ed. Note—see picture on this page). The body is an '07 Dodge Charger. It has stock rear quarters, stock roof, stock front fenders, stock nose, and stock hood. We took a four-door car and made it into a two-door. I will let the pic speak for itself.
You got it, Scott. I did notice your car when I was at the Dells and you were a short distance behind Dave that night and also having a great run to the front. It would have been cool to see you two battling it out for the win.
Stock Appearing Continued
Please take a look at Delaware Speedway in Ontario, Canada. It has had bodies like you're describing for two years now in its Super Stock division. All three major manufacturers are available. A local race car owner and part-time racer created the fiberglass body program and sells the bodies at a low cost of from $1,000 to $2,000.
I really hope you follow up on this as it is a great program saving that class which up north here has run out of steel bodies.
As evidenced by the huge response we have received, we feel certain that this stock-appearing body crusade is going to build momentum and be something we will see a lot of in the next couple of years.
More Approval for Stock Appearing
You hit the nail right on the head. Change is needed in a hurry. The change you suggested in your CT column has been needed for a long time. Manufacturers go for it!
We got an immediate response from the car manufacturers. They are willing to do what is necessary to support this push. NASCAR is going that route too in its top division. I won't go so far as to say we influenced that, but I will say you racers might well have let them know what the fans want to see. We just delivered the message.