Typically, the ground clearance on a MERS car hovers just around 3 inches. By MERS rules the left side weight can go up to 60 percent while pre-race weight is a minimum of 2,700 pounds with the driver. The body configurations alone make the 102-inch wheelbase MERS car an animal that looks wickedly fast just sitting still.
Engines Not just the look but the sound also makes the Super Late Model Outlaw-bodied car stand out from the crowd. Sounding more like an Indy car than a traditional stock car the MERS Outlaw Super Late does not have a cubic inch rule. In fact, the engine rule reads "any V-8 steel block engine with one four-barrel carb." Talk about Outlaw! With that type of open rule, engines do get exotic. Some cars are running a 9:1 ratio engine while others will utilize the high compression engine.
Regardless of the type of engine, racers must have working mufflers to stay within compliance of the decibel rating mandated by the tracks. Running the traditional Sunoco Racing gas (a Series sponsor), and an occasional alcohol car, these rockets of speed all have 22-gallon fuel cells. The larger fuel cells insure enough gas to reach the finish of the 75- to 100-lap contests, especially important when you consider that MERS does not count caution laps.
Tires The Mers sanction evens out the competition with a very tight tire rule. The rubber that meets the pavement is of the Hoosier type. More precisely a compound of 3035 left sides and 3045 on the right side. Using a 10-inch steel wheel, the tires must be purchased and mounted at the racetrack, after which they are stamped. Each race has a separate stamp as some teams may run a set of tires from an event from earlier in the season. Most top teams will get qualifying and 100 laps of racing out of a set of new tires as well as hot laps at the next event. After each race, the top three finishers will have their tires broken down by the officials to ensure that no altering of the tires has occurred.
What The Racer's Say
"Sandusky (OH) was the very first time I actually did anything other than sit in a Super Late Model since I was a kid," stated winning Supermodified racer Charlie Shultz. "Until we went out for practice that day I had never turned a wheel in a full-bodied car. It was a completely different feel compared with the Supermodified. The car felt heavier and the steering inputs, throttle, and braking felt different. But, the car was surprisingly easy to drive."
Shultz went on to say the big difference was in the corners. "You could feel the difference in the downforce in your seat as well. When you run a Supermodified off in the corner you can feel the car being pushed into the track, with the Super Late Model it's almost like running on ice. I loved it! It was something new and challenging, which I really enjoyed. I'm looking forward to racing the division some more in 2009."
Ryan Tedesco has raced just about every type of Late Model around at one time or another. "I love the Super Lates, they are a lot of fun," stated the Ohio native. "The power is just indescribable, and the flat-sided bodies, simple, four sheets of aluminum, bend it and hang it, build it yourself!"
Along with the great speed...
Along with the great speed that the Outlaw Super Late Models carry comes the school of hard knocks when things get out of hand.
Tedesco also likes the motors. "The horsepower is just amazing and when prepared properly these things stick like glue to the racetrack. In this area the purse for the Outlaw-bodied car just started declining. Not that any one track's purse went down, but the cost of the car vs. purse just got out of hand for weekly racing. I wish some of the track promoters would put as much effort in the front gate and the fans as they do the back gate."