Chad Wood goes to work on...
Chad Wood goes to work on a suspension part. The 27-year-old Wisconsin racer has parlayed his short track record into a touring series stop. ASA was a logical choice for this racer.
The series announced an extension of the existing engine program that will carry the ASA 5700 V-8 engine through 2005. A freshening program through Lingenfelter Performance was put into place. Competitors can spend less than $4,000 to spruce up their powerplant, essentially $10,000 less than buying a new engine. For those already in possession of the engine, the idea of continuing its use is a relief.
"It definitely gives all of the full-time competitors a little bit of comfort in knowing what we have to look forward to-where a guy doesn't mind buying another engine or two, understanding they won't be obsolete at the end of the year," said competitor Rick Beebe.
"They are good engines and they're good for racing," said competitor Todd Kluever. "The program for repairs with Lingenfelter (Performance Engineering) is only a bigger bonus for the series. I have an engine here I would like rebuilt. Last year, I had to go ahead and buy a new one. If I could spend $3,800 and get my motor rebuilt and have it be as strong as a new one, that saves me a lot more money."
Few of the innovations offered up by the ASA in the recent past have been solely at the discretion of the sanction. The leadership has always addressed the importance of partners, known in some circles as "sponsors." The difference is that sponsors pay their money for exposure and often have a lower level of interaction. ASA takes the partnership approach and draws strength from the relationship.
"The product manufacturers are extremely important and luckily, ASA has a long history with various manufacturers," offered Dale. "Most of the products we use are from many of the same manufacturers that the (NASCAR) truck series, Busch, and Winston Cup teams use as well. They are very high quality, proven products that are constantly looking to improve. Again, those that we look at are from a safety and cost standpoint. We monitor that regularly."
"We have some unique relationships with some of our product manufacturers," added Balash. "They bring us specific products for the applicable specifications of our cars. That allows us to have certain safety controls over the ASA car. Many of our suppliers do their own testing and offer the next generation of things to make our cars even better and safer."
The series maintains an owners' committee to provide input for series officials. "Because I'm on the other side and I've been on the owner committee, I know it is an important role for the owners to play," Dale said. "They can give input from themselves and their own experiences or hopefully from other competitors that have come to them and made suggestions to pass along to us. Also, it allows us to give them a heads-up on possible changes that are being contemplated. They, in turn, give input and reaction. As an example, we are exploring the possibility of running events on larger tracks and at larger venues. The feedback was largely positive and therefore we've put forward a test at a larger facility in determining feasibility and practicality of running there."
The series didn't wait for the off-season in moving on this subject. In the middle of an 18-race season, a pair of drivers was sent to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The test was labeled a success, but the next step is in the hands of series and track organizers.
"I think there are a lot of things you really need to investigate and again, that's where you bring in the experts of the industry and those who have been involved with us for some time," said Balash. "Howe Racing, Five Star, BFGoodrich Tires, Tex Racing, and others-really everybody getting together, looking at those areas, doing the proper testing first, getting the data back, analyzing it, and then making the right changes based on the proper testing."