Jack Smith of Sandusky, Ohio,...
Jack Smith of Sandusky, Ohio, shown here in his Super, says that 2008 is the best year for the MSA that he can remember.
The front end geometry of the Supers is unique as well. Each car is built as an individual piece, essentially custom built by the racers and his/her team to their own personal specifications, desires and driving styles.
The MSA's tire rule mandates Hoosiers on all four corners with the right rear a 50 compound. Both the left rear and right front have to be a 45 compound tire, while the left front is a 30 compound. The only room for change is on the right front, there you can run a smaller tire so long as it remains a 45 compound. The MSA also has a two tire per night rule. Designed to control costs, you can buy only two new tires per race night, although for first time racers there is a provision allowing you to buy four new tires.
The engines found in the MSA Super are fuel injected methanol burning behemoths. The engine rule requires a cast iron V-8 block with two valves per cylinder and a max displacement of 481 cui. Consequently virtually every MSA competitor runs a 454 Chevrolet big-block bored out to 481. While aluminum blocks and aluminum/titanium internal components are illegal, titanium valves are allowed.
Direct drive means that you...
Direct drive means that you have to push start Supermodifieds, just like a Sprint Car.
You can run any cast iron head but if you choose aluminum it must be a 23 degree head. All Super engines run a dry-sump oil system and the fuel injection is completely mechanical, no electric allowed. The ignition system consists of an external coil or spark box providing the coil or box is not within reach of the driver.
The rules state that the engine must be located within the front 2/3 of the wheel base. Almost every racer has his engine offset to the left of the car to aid in getting the car to turn left. In fact, most drivers can reach out and touch the motor while sitting in the car. Most engines are also tilted over to the left as the driver has a bird's eye view of his power plant in every race he enters. Tilting the engine aids in allowing the driver to see the track.
The MSA takes their safety seriously with rollcages gusseted in all four corners and padding around all bars. You have a choice behind the driver's head with either a V- or X-shaped bar. An engine kill switch and fuel shut off must be within reach of the driver at all times and an onboard fire extinguishing system in the cockpit is mandatory. Along with the mandatory fire suit, shoes, and gloves, MSA requires all drivers to have a nomex hood, arm restraints and, at the minimum, a helmet support.
With the Hoosier Tire removed...
With the Hoosier Tire removed you can really gain an appreciation for how far these cars are offset.
Drivers in the MSA Series have a very positive, realistic attitude. "The interest this year in our division is definitely the highlight of 2008," says Burch, who in addition to being a racer is also the MSA Vice President. "I think we (MSA) have turned the corner, both fans and competitors have expressed a great deal of interest as we have had 53 cars score points this season. We have had multiple winners this season and received some great input from the MSA members, car owners, and drivers."
Despite high fuel prices, MSA is enjoying a banner season in '08. "The officials and the drivers seem to be able to interact together a little better this season, any time you have something new there is some growing pains attached, that is just the way it is," says Burch. "As race drivers we try to share information, but each car is so unique in its own way, that what works for one guy may be totally off for the next. However, it never hurts to give or get some information about spring rates, shock choices, or tire stagger."
Just like Burch racer Jack Smith has the passion for the wild fast paced Super world and is enjoying the '08 MSA season. "This is the best year for the MSA that I can remember. It has been the most competitive year yet. I consider the MSA a local guys traveling series. We venture off a little, but for the most part we stay within a reasonable travel range which really helps with both racer and fan support."