From the Circle Track Archives
Smokey's Chevelle and Open Road Racing
Great article on Smokey's '66 Chevelle in the Oct. '10 issue. Of course, it's a '66 not a '67 as the article title states. But it does state further in the article that it's a '66. I still have a '66 Malibu that I bought new in 1966. It currently has a 383 and a Tremec five-speed. I think it's time for a suspension and brake upgrade.
Although I'm not a circle track racer, Circle Track magazine is among the many automotive magazines that I receive because of the great tech content. There's always something new to learn.
I'm involved in Open Road Racing (ORR). My ride is a '65 Corvair (yes, Corvair) that I have "slightly modified." I have made some aero improvements (chopped top, laid back windshield, air dam, rear spoiler, add-on front sheetmetal) to help the top end. I've used a Porsche 930 transaxle and the front and rear suspension, brakes, and steering parts are from a '94 Vette.
The engine is a mid-mounted, all aluminum 404ci small-block Chevy. It also has a Dart block, Brodix heads, an Eagle forged rotating assembly, 12:1 compression, a Comp solid roller, an 850 Holley, a Victor Jr. manifold, fabricated headers from a Hedman kit, and an MSD ignition using a crank trigger.
The car has all of the required safety improvements for the ORR Unlimited class: a full 'cage, a Kirkey seat, a Simpson five-point harness and a head-and-neck restraint, a Fuel Safe fuel cell, a fire suppression system, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires, and so on. The car weighs 2,700 pounds and is pretty fast. I top out at more than 200 mph on the straights.
I think our reference in the title was more to the year he raced the car rather than the year of the car itself. Most of the cars of that day were aged as to the year the frame was built as much as the body parts, but substitutions did take place. Anyway, if you noticed he didn't run a stock frame, he built a special Smokey 1967 frame.
I have some knowledge of Open Road Racing and I think you guys are insane! For those of you who don't know, it's the sport of legally racing (as opposed to street racing) on public roads that have been closed for the event. These races are run over a measured course where in some classes, the speeds reach as fast as the car will go.
Most of the classes will try to hit a preset average speed over a measured course so that going too fast or too slow will not meet the goal. The winner is the one whose average speed matches the set goal for the class which could be from as low as 80 up to 150 mph.
In the upper classes, purpose-built race cars are used, and with a few modifications, a circle track car built and/or set up for road racing would do well. Most of these races are held in the Southwest portion of the country and involve curved roads with steep drop-offs. It's not for the faint of heart, or those with a wife and kids maybe. It can get quite crazy going down a two-lane county road at 200-plus mph.