The rearend is a true Sprint...
The rearend is a true Sprint Car-style live axle. It's made by Winters specifically for this car.
He also points out that the car arrives completely assembled and practically ready to race. Many of Circle Track's readers enjoy building a car from the ground up, but for those who would rather jump right into the driver seat and start racing, and maybe lack the mechanical and fabrication skills to build their own race car, this is an attractive option. "We think this is a great way for a father and his son or daughter to go racing and just have fun," Evernham says.
Marcus Smith is Speedway Motorsports' President (which controls U.S. Legends Cars) and says that the new car isn't just a business opportunity, it's also a way to help make sure the sport of stock car racing remains healthy and vibrant.
"Legends racing is NASCAR's version of backyard basketball or football," he says. "Too many other areas of the sport are just too expensive for a family to get into. We're excited that we've got a way to keep racing inexpensive and fun. If you go to Legends races, you will see that it's a family atmosphere, and we expect it will be the same way at the dirt tracks where people will be racing the Modified."
Hawk pointed out that while...
Hawk pointed out that while the window and roof openings were made large in order to allow a fully-grown adult to get out quickly even if the car is on its side, careful considerations were made to the design of the car so that the wheels, bumpers, and nerf bars are all too large to fit through the openings. Although this car doesn't have it, future versions will have some type of screen in front of the driver.
Although there were no firm prices as this story went to press, Hawk said a complete car was shaping up to be more expensive than a current Legends Car, which sells for approximately $13,000, but still well under $20,000. All cars will be built out of the U.S. Legends Cars facilities in Harrisburg, North Carolina, and once production begins there are no plans to make any changes to the design that will affect performance for the next four to five years, at least. That way, he says, racers who purchase one of the first cars out of the facility won't have to worry about a new design coming down the pike that makes them uncompetitive.
One of the things we didn't get a chance to do-but hope to soon-is actually drive the new car. But Evern-ham says that he is very pleased with the feel behind the wheel. "The goal was to create a car that somebody could use and easily advance into a Modified or a Sprint Car, so it's not exactly easy to drive. It's a challenge, and we made it that way on purpose. To go fast you are going to have to slide the rear end out, and you are going to have to learn car control. Of course, it's not scary or unpredictable, but it does require you to learn the driving skills that are going to help a driver if he advances into other classes, on either dirt or asphalt."
The motor is the same 1,250cc...
The motor is the same 1,250cc Yamaha that is used in Legends Cars, but now it's water cooled for greater durability. It has also been outfitted with a more aggressive cam and puts out more than 140 horsepower. Evernham says the motor choice is one of the key considerations for the success of this new car. It's fast enough to make the racing challenging and fun, yet can burn pump gas and should last for several seasons with only minimal maintenance. And, of course, it's sealed so that everyone (theoretically) should be racing with the same power.
Beginning with the 2011 racing season, we know there will be at least one place to race the Modified Legends. Evernham will be hosting the cars at his track, East Lincoln Speedway, for a full series, and U.S. Legends is hoping to grow it from there.
"We're planning to stick with this car and grow it slowly," Hawk says. "Nobody wants to buy a race car and then have nowhere to race it, so we're working with tracks to build up a community of Modified racers who can race together and get the most out of these cars. We're putting packages together for the tech officials so that these cars will be easy to tech. Everything will be go/no-go gauges so teching a car will be quick and easy and there's nothing for the racer to argue over.
"I really think that this car has a great future," he adds. "A strong grassroots movement helps develop the top level stars of tomorrow. After all, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and a lot of other fantastic racers grew up on dirt. And we want to provide a way that practically anyone can enjoy the thrill of driving a race car if they want to-even if they have no intention of doing it as anything more than a hobby. It's a bit of an investment up front if you are buying a new car, but we believe the reduced costs of maintaining this car and racing it week after week make it very affordable compared not only to other forms of racing, but also lots of other activities that parents and their kids may want to get involved in as a family."
The wheels are good-looking...
The wheels are good-looking units. The rears feature beadlocks, and the right rear is 10.5 inches wide while the left rear is 8 inches. The spec tires are dirt-specific and made by American Racer. Evernham says that siping the tires might be allowed, but grooving definitely will not.
One of the advantages of this...
One of the advantages of this new design is that the cockpit will fit a fullsize racing seat and also has plenty of headroom. You can purchase a car without a seat and install your own, or you can get a car with one of several seating options installed. Hawk points out that as the largest manufacturer of race cars in the world, U.S. Legend Cars can usually purchase a racing seat and sell it to you already installed in the race car significantly cheaper than you can buy your own.
Evernham says the Modified...
Evernham says the Modified Legends car has undergone "significant" testing by professionals at multiple dirt tracks in order to develop a car he feels will provide a great learning environment for younger drivers while also be challenging to more experienced racers. In the right hands, he says this car is within 0.2-second of the lap times posted by the fullsize IMCA-style Modifieds.