There was a time in racing when almost everything that hit the track was home built or sourced from a junkyard. It was a time before turnkey race cars could be bought from a company that built them exclusively. Race cars began life as pieces of tubing scattered on the shop floor. Parts and pieces were fabricated by hand. Creativity in the name of speed was king.
In the '60s, as Sprint Cars were being hand-assembled in the middle of the country, NASCAR race cars where nothing more than gutted production cars with rollcages. For both types of racing machines, production engines were many times modified with the likes of multiple carbs, hotter cams, and headers. Often, race cars were one-of-kind-creations. Many of the ideas born then have given way to innovation and progress, but some remain today.
As we enter a time of change for the oval track racing industry, Circle Track is taking a look back at innovations from the past, this article will be the first in a series of stories on technology from days gone by.
The first race car to be examined is this beautiful home-built 1963 Sprint Car owned by Kenneth Keiholz and crewed by Joshua Shaw. It carries the typical rounded body lines of the period, lines that old-timers will tell you are, "The shape an Open Wheel race car should have." The sheetmetal is held in place by about five-dozen Dzus fittings. It weighs about 300-400 pounds more than its modern brethren. History of the car and parts is a little vague because it was found completely in pieces.