The cars are powered by small-block V-8 engines, usually of 355 to 368 cubic inches displacement, although both larger or smaller engines can be used. Engine components are largely similar to those used in the Sprint Cup Series, but the Mod Tour engines use a small four-barrel carburetor rated at 390 cubic feet per minute, about half the airflow of previous Modified carburetors, which limits their output to 550 to 650 horsepower. On large tracks the engines must have a resrictor plate between the carburetor and intake manifold, reducing engine power and car speed for safety reasons.
The tire brand of choice is Hoosier. These 14-inch-wide massive tires consist of a compound that sticks like glue to the racing surface. For the Bristol event, however, Hoosier developed a special tire with a little harder compound for the concrete surface.
To withstand the g-forces associated with Bristol's high banks NASCAR required the cars to run heavy-duty hubs and heavy-duty upper shock mounts.
SAFETY The modifieds have undergone a number of safety advancements over the years. The 1985 death of racing Champion Ritchie Evans at Martinsville Speedway, along with other fatalities led to questions about the cars' rigidity. As a result, the straight framerails were phased out, and a new chassis design was developed with a step in the rails which could bend in hard impacts rather than passing the force to the driver.
After a severed wheel caused a fatality at an Indy Racing League race, NASCAR, in July 1999, required the Modified Series teams (and eventually all NASCAR teams) to add steel cables as tethers linking each front spindle to the chassis, the steel cables were later replaced with marine rope which weighs less.
The death of Tom Baldwin Sr. in 2004 led to more safety modifications, with HANS devices (or equivalent) and left-side headrests becoming mandatory. For the 2008 season, rear bumpers have been shortened in response to the 2007 death of John Blewett III.
If this drivers' meeting looks as crowded as a Sprint Cup driver's meeting, it was. In fac
The other NASCAR star to strap in was Kasey Kahne. Here the Budweiser-sponsored driver tal
Whelan Tour regulars Woody Pitkat (L) and Ed Flemke Jr. (R) were on hand for the race and
This season a metal plate was added onto the four door bars that run along the whole driver-side compartment. While the steering column is not collapsible, it does feature a scissor like drop down lever.
Many thought that these safety requirements would be put to the test on Bristol's super fast, unforgiving surface.
PRE-RACE DRIVER COMMENTS From Rookie to Veteran and from North to South, racers all seemed to have similar opinions as to how the race would go down.
Seventeen-year-old Erick Rudolph, who became the youngest winner on the NASCAR Whelen Modified tour in July 2009, came into the race with a lot of confidence. "The horsepower-to-weight ratio is really the biggest thing with these cars," stated the youngster. "The really big tires make these cars easy to move around."
The 2008 Featherlite Most Improved driver on the Whelen Modified Tour, Ron Silk, said, "This place is a thrill, it's faster than any other track we have raced on. This is going to be a lot of fun; hopefully we will put on a good show and get invited back."
With 69 career wins and nine total Championships, tying him with the late Ritchie Evans, Mike Stefanik was taking it all in stride during the three practice sessions.
"I have been here on three other occasions with the Nationwide cars and the trucks," said Stefanik. "I think there was a little misunderstanding between Hoosier and NASCAR, from what I understand [NASCAR] originally wanted a tire that would go the complete 150 laps, but they must have changed their mind and threw in a halfway break. We ended up with a really hard tire so the car was loose. We even had some small blisters on the right rear last night, but it was driving pretty well. Hopefully the track will rubber in, it usually does. It always gets easier on race day."