Walk through any pit area of any racetrack in the country and you can find them, in fact you can always find them. Nestled among the Kenworth trailed stackers with pop-out living quarters are open home-built trailers with a pickup truck for a tow vehicle. The tool boxes are small, the spare tires few. They run on dirt or asphalt and sometimes on both.
Call them Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pro Stocks, Bomber, Gladiator, or any of the other number of designations given by the track/series promoter, but they're the backbone of short track racing. There are roughly 110,000 subscribers to this magazine and a recent reader survey conducted over our website showed that 35 percent of you climb behind the wheel of what, for the purposes of this article, we'll call a Street Stock.
A typical Street Stock pit area; lots of cars and plenty of open trailers. This one is at
They are, by many accounts, one of the most affordable and readily available forms of racing to jump into. After all, most Street Stock rules start with "any American OEM full body rear-wheel drive passenger car, 1964 or newer, full frame or unibody," plus they allow for any American-made engine so long as it has steel heads, steel block, and a stock oil pan. Sure, there are rules such as no independent rear suspensions that restrict the later year models but the wide range of years available means that it's fairly easy to find those cars in salvage yards and in used car dealerships.
With a minimum wheelbase of 107.5 inches in most rule books, the GM Metric Chassis, a.k.a. the Monte Carlo, Regal, Cutlass cars, are extremely popular. However, those cars' high roll center makes them a challenge to set up correctly. That can be a blessing in disguise for a young racer who wants to further his or her career. What better way to learn than on a challenging chassis? Young racers can learn valuable problem solving skills on these cars.
Street Stock racing can be wild and wooly as evidenced by the bumper bars on No. 20 in thi
A typical Saturday night Street Stock race includes everything from an '88 Monte Carlo to a '76 Thunderbird and more, making it one of the purest form of "stock" car racing today, albeit the cars running these classes don't resemble anything coming out of Detroit today.
The people who race Street Stocks are almost as varied as the cars themselves; from bank presidents to local mechanics to up-and-coming 15-year-old girls. The diversity of the Street Stock racer is one of the traits that make the class so interesting.
At one point just over a year ago, we ran a "Turn Five" column titled "Your Story Here" asking the readership to tell us about low-buck racers who have impressed them. The only rule, if I recall, was that the racers in question had to be true low-buck guys and gals, no stacker toter homes or fancy sponsors, just average racers. We got a tremendous response.
Not surprisingly, the large majority of the racers run in the Street Stock ranks. In a bit of a departure from the traditional magazine Q&A type of interview format, we compiled a sampling of the letters we received about these different racers to include in this article. What we realized was that all Street Stock racers seem to have one common trait--a very strong work ethic on a very limited budget. While that argument can be made for a lot of racers, the guys and gals of the Street Stock ranks seem to epitomize the budget racer best of all.
Take the case of Bruce Stanley, who races at Marshfield Motor Speedway, a half-mile blacktop track located outside of Marshfield, Wisconsin, in the Super Stock class. Bruce is usually one of the first ones to get to the track when the gates open. He doesn't have a crew or fancy trailer but is always one of the first ones out for hot laps and time trials. Bruce doesn't time in the fastest and usually ends up in the middle of the pack, but he has the respect of the other drivers and races just to have a good time. How do we know about Bruce? Mark and Donna Freirer who operate a parts trailer and sell fuel at Marshfield told us.