Auto magazines build project cars all of the time. You could say it's a crtical part of putting out a quality product. Yet many of these magazine projects wallow in some unidentified warehouse waiting for the next supercharger install, the latest bolt on component, or just plain gathering dust. But here at Circle Track we have taken the approach that a magazine project means little if it doesn't hit the track and actually compete. That said, as I write this, Senior Tech Editor Bob Bolles and Tech Editor John Gibson are testing our USAR ProCup car at Concord Motorsports Park, the 1/2-mile tri-oval outside of Charlotte, NC.
Bob and John are spending two days there in anticipation of the first race of the USAR season when the latest aphalt project car from CT makes its track debut. You'll get to read about this test, our chosen setup, and more in the next issue of the magazine. And like all of our projects we'll tell you you exactly what we did and if it worked. The ultimate goal for John and this project car is not only to win races but also legitimately compete for the 2009 USAR ProCup Championship.
Of course, that's our pavement project and but only one half of the oval track racing world that we cover. Over the past year you've followed along as we rebuilt and then raced our Project Dirt Late Model with Tampa racer Bobby Clark. At tracks across the southeast, good ol' Project DLM performed well despite its worn out 7-year-old chassis. But we all knew that chassis wasn't going to cut the mustard for some of our 2009 plans. So, we began the search for a new Project DLM chassis whose design and construction would mesh well with our chosen setups. That's a polite way of saying that we wanted a car whose builders embraced Bob's roll center ideology so that we didn't have to cut anything up. We settled on a MasterSbilt from the 25-plus-year-old Indiana-based family owned business of the same name.
Just as the checkered flag was falling on the final night of Speedweeks, Bobby and I hooked up an open trailer and headed north to MasterSbilt dealer Kip Cockerham at Carolina Performance in Franklin, NC. Twelve hundred miles and two blowouts later, we had our new MasterSbilt chassis safely sitting in our race shop. You can read all about that trip on www.circletrack.com.
As you can see from the picture below, our new MasterSbilt is pretty bare, in fact, it's down right naked! Sure, we could have gotten a roller but that wouldn't have been nearly as fun for us or informative for you.
First order of business is to identify just where we are going to race the car. Naturally, we'll be running the United Dirt Late Model Challenge as we did this past year. But we also have our eye on several other possible events.
Maybe something further north of our sunny Florida home. Maybe something a little bigger and faster than the tracks we usually run. Maybe something a little Dreamy. Whatever the case, we'll figure that out in the coming weeks and I'll let you know exactly what crazy plan we've got in store for Project DLM '09 next month.
In the mean time, we've got an issue chock-full of great technical articles, but I want to draw particular attention to Jim McFarland's Enginology column this month. He spent some time talking with motorsports pioneer Herb Fishel about future trends in our industry. The column is interesting, revealing, and really makes you think. Both Jim and I are anxious to hear your thoughts, so don't be shy with those emails!
In addition to Jim's column, Bob Bolles penned a must-read pair of articles regarding rear steer; one is for you dirt racers while the other focuses on asphalt. The last time we did a dirt/asphalt story split, we received a lot of positive response, so we brought the format back for a second go. We also take an in-depth look at ARCA's Truck Series, install a new rack-and-pinion in Project DLM, plus much more. And yes, we're keeping the Rayburn, you could see it again as a Limited Late Model, perhaps! Maybe yours truly will even hop behind the wheel for a race or two . . . you never know! So, enjoy and remember . . .