7. Carburetor Maintenance - Remove your carburetor and disassemble it. Do a thorough cleaning at the very least. Inspect all of the moving parts. Order a new gasket kit and consider replacement of all of the parts that can and do go wrong at some point in time. These include the power valves, the accelerator pump, seals, etc.

Look outside the carb and inspect the linkage from the gas pedal to the carb. Replace the return springs no matter what they look like and also the ball sockets if they appear to be worn. Now might be a good time to send it off to an expert to "tune" it for more performance.

8. Rearend Maintenance - When disassembling your rearend, make sure you note the condition of all of the parts. When first draining the rear-end grease, run it through a filter to see if there are any tell-tale metal bits or pieces that may indicate a part failure.

Look over the gear wear pattern as well as the bearing play and any obvious cracks in the housing that may only be seen from the inside. Now is the time to decide whether to replace the center section, a right- or left-bell side or one of the axle tubes.

If you are running a Detroit Locker-type of rear differential, note the age of the springs. These must be replaced periodically. Ask your manufacturer how long you could expect yours to last under your racing conditions.

Other aftermarket differentials designed for traction enhancement should be looked over closely. There are lots of moving parts, some of them built out of aluminum that need close inspection. It would be a good idea, since you now have the time, to send these types of units back to the manufacturer for rebuilding and/or repair.

The same goes for the transmission. The bushings and bearings in the tranny will wear out. Don't expect a transmission to last a life time. Be sure to match that tailshaft bearing to the proper yoke. Roller bearings require a special hardened slip yoke.

9. Shocks - Shocks are one of those items that can make your setup ideal or when they fail, ruin an otherwise great package. You must check every shock you use on a regular basis to make sure it is not leaking and that the internal parts are functioning properly.

At the end of the season, either return them to a repair facility or rebuild them yourself. The oil will need to be changed and the seals will need to be replaced. These parts are not intended to last for very long. The heat and force the shock is subjected to is extreme.

Once the shocks have been rebuilt, make sure they are run on a shock dyno and keep a record of the rates. You will be referring to these many times in the future when you are deciding which shock should go on which corner of the car.

10. Shop Layout and Requirements - One of the ingredients for a successful racing operation is the space in which you will work on your car. The tools and layout of this area will contribute to how efficiently you setup and maintain your racecar all year long.

Every shop should have enough space available for all of the functions needed throughout the season. A surface plate or an area level enough for setups is a must. All of the tools as well as a pneumatic source and electrical source should be within easy reach.

You might consider setting up a separate engine room if you build your own motors. This clean room could serve as your shock dyno and computer room too. Here, you can clean carburetors, rebuild shocks, store sensitive electronic equipment and keep notes stored away for future use.

The key point to remember is that we need to find any structural or mechanical problems with the chassis or other components that are bolted onto the chassis. We need to correct any driver safety related problems that involve wear or age of the seatbelts, restraints, fire suppression system, helmet or seat. And we need to consult the manufacturer partners we have established so they can help us keep everything up and running.

At the end of each season, we need to thoroughly go over our racecar during the winter months so that when we hit the track again in the spring, it will be just like a new car. That way, you can avoid failures that could prevent you from having the success you desire. And I know most teams really enjoy the working on the car part of racing. It's what being a gearhead/racer is all about.