Discussion About Class Structure
In response to Bob Bolles' editorial in the Apr. '11 issue, I would challenge the theory of moving from the four-cylinder junkyard car into the multi-thousand-dollar Late Model. This would leave a chasm that low-dollar operations would never attempt to span. Many of those who try will fail and never return to racing.
The metric "Sportsman" platform has provided a bridge to allow teams to learn how to move up while they build their teams. It often ends up as a home for many.
The metric platform properly policed with a conservative set of rules is excellent for preparing a driver for the Late Model. Without dispute, the metric car is a handful to drive. Those who have crossed back and forth between higher end metric and Late Model racing will tell you, metric racing tutors driver talent by driving a race car that inherently doesn't like to turn. This learned talent enhances their skills in the better handling Late Model.
The spec, clone, metric fab frame could keep this transition class of cars on the racetrack for years to come. Spec the DCA or Johnson frame and with everything else being the same, it won't obsolete the current OEM metric cars.
If frame specs are metric clone and suspension component costs kept at the Sportsman level, this option is far more economical than the Late Model route. Compare "crash" parts costs between the two classes and the metric Sportsman looks good. Then compare restubbing the OEM metric to the fab metric and the season starts looking even better.
Tracks and series that allow the spec fab frame effectively enable teams upgrading to a new car to "recycle" their OEM frame car back into the system at a more affordable cost to others coming up. Sounds like a winner to me. Thanks for listening.
- Doug Strasburg
President/Owner Mid-American Stock Car Series celebrating 19 years
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you. I don't think having a large cost gap in class structure is a good thing. My concern is that the cost of spec fab frame replacement parts will be equal to the cost of Late Model parts. I frankly don't see how they could be much different.
If I were to fab build a lower control arm out of tubular steel, I would spend as much time on a Late Model lower arm as I'd spend on a metric fab frame lower control arm. So, the cost to the racer would necessarily be the same. This is true for spindles, and so on.
It's the same comparison for the front clips. My hope is that there will be a difference with the metric fab parts being less expensive, but, only time will tell. For sure the engine and drivetrain for the metric fab cars are much more affordable than the Late Model, so overall the cost to race this class is more attractive to a race team with less cash flow.