IS DIRT RACING READY FOR THE LS?
SPRINT CARS ARE LEADING THE WAY
THE DIRT TRACK RACING MAGAZINE
THE LATEST NEWS
AND TECH UPDATES
& KEEP THEM
FROM THE PROS
ISSUE 1, 2014
AND MORE: ONLINE GUIDE * VIDEO REWIND * EVENT PREVIEW
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Shop TALK FROM THE EDITOR
100% Dirt Track Racing
Let the Green Flag Fly!
Welcome to the very first print edition of OneDirt.
Yes, OneDirt.com the website has been around for a
couple of years now, but this issue marks the beginning
of some big changes for us. We are staking our claim
that both OneDirt the magazine and OneDirt.com are
going to become the go-to resources for dirt track racers
nationwide when it comes to finding the info you need
to run better at the track and win more races.
And that’s not just rah rah marketing talk. If you need
proof, just check the contents of this issue. We worked
with Keith Jones of Total Seal to figure out how you
can reliably run modern low-tension rings in standard
pistons to gain an unfair (but very legal) advantage in
your Street Stock or Mini Stock race engine. And speaking of pistons, we know
hypereutectic pistons get a bad rap in racing, but we share a few secrets to get
them to run just as reliably as forged pistons in your claimer engine for half the
cost. Finally, we know every race car burns money just about as fast as it does
gasoline, so we’ve got a great feature story filled with some unique viewpoints on
how to find and keep sponsors that need you just as badly as you need them.
Those are just a few of the great stories in this issue of OneDirt, and we hope
you enjoy them all. We’ve got lots more great stories cooking in the old editorial
pot, so if you want to get a look at those as soon as they are available, make sure
to keep an eye on OneDirt.com. Our website is constantly updated with the latest
news updates, how-to articles, and the best racing videos to be found on the
internet. In fact, we know that racers are mechanically minded people, and mechanical people generally would rather see how to do something than read about
it. So not only are we packing the website with videos of fantastic racing action,
but many of our tech stories also include video clips embedded right in the article
illustrating critical steps. It’s just one way we are taking advantage of the digital
age to help make your racing life a bit easier—and hopefully, more successful.
So please take a look at the magazine in your hands, and don’t forget to visit
OneDirt.com. We’re working awfully hard to stack one great story on top of
another in both the magazine and the website, and we’re pretty happy with the
results so far—but by no means are we finished. We’d love to hear what you think.
No matter if you race a Pure Stock, Modified, Sprint Car, Late Model or a Kart,
we want to know what kinds of stories you are looking for. So give us your two
cents. Where should we keep pushing, and where have we missed the mark?
What types of tech stories are you looking for, and do you have any great tips you
are willing to share with the rest of your dirt racing brothers and sisters?
You can find my personal email address below, and while I can’t reply to every
email I definitely read ‘em all. Don’t be shy.
Keep your foot in the gas,
G reaDy Fo
s aRe Lea
BILLY OGLE, JR.
r The Ls?
dINg The wa
The DirT Trac
MAY 31, 2013
For more on the man behind the lens,
head over to page 22.
OneDirt is published semiannually to
promote the growth of dirt track racing
as well as recognize the parts and
services from participating manufacturers. The magazine consists of dedicated
information from partner companies
with the mission of disseminating
unfiltered editorial on companies, products and services directly to dirt racing
participants and fans.
Editorial and advertisements for each
issue originate from partner companies
participating in the magazine.
OneDirt is a hybrid of content that was
originally published at OneDirt.com as
well as original content that was created for this semiannual print magazine.
Magazine distribution occurs through
selected placement of the publishing
company and the internal distribution
methods chosen by partner companies.
OneDirt is a property of Xceleration
Media. No part of this magazine may
be reproduced without written consent
from Xceleration Media. All rights
reserved. Printed in the USA.
is DirT racin
Photo by Rick Schwallie
The staff of OneDirt would like to
express our sincere gratitude to all the
talented photographers that supplied
the images found in this issue. Without
their talents and willingness to help,
there would not be a OneDirt print
k racinG maGa
aNd Tech News
& Keep The
ISSuE 1, 2014
de * VIdeO
* eVeNT pR
22 JACK OF ALL TRADES
14 UNFAIR (BUT LEGAL) POWER
28 PROFILE OF A CHAMPION
18 A WELCOME ADDITION
34 SHOW ME THE $$$
24 TOP SECRET
48 KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
30 THE WAYS OF THE CARB
50 ALL IN THE FAMILY
38 THE RIGHT STUFF
42 PRACTICE SAFE RACING
71 THE MAN BEHIND THE MIC
60 INTRODUCING THE LS
78 QUARTER OF A CENTURY
64 WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?
86 RETURN OF RACER’S COMPANY
68 CLUTCH AT THE TRACK
92 HELLO AGAIN!
72 THE SHOCK FACTOR
Rick Schwallie gets dirty to get the shots
Rodney Sanders has winning in his blood
Sponsors help cut the cost of racing
The AETC Conference is the place to be
The racing community is one big family
Behind the dirt scene with Bill Schlieper
Meet dirt announcer Ben Shelton
Tracey Clay has the I-30 Speedway buzzing
Lunati returns to its racing roots
A number of closed dirt tracks get another shot
Total Seal’s advantage ring kits
FAST EFI Comes to Saturday night racing
Decoding proper valve train selection
Holley upgrades two popular carb designs
Finding the balance in race pistons
Do you have the right safety gear?
The LS engine finds acceptance in dirt racing
Knowing vehicle’s weight leads to perfect setup
Selecting the best racing clutch
Rebuild your own race shocks
74 MAKING SPARKS FLY
Crane Cams’ trigger ignition systems
82 BEWARE OF THE HYPE
Know the truth about your racing oil
2 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Conical Valve Springs COMP Cams..................... 52
Ultra HP 2 BBL Carburetors Holley...................... 53
Power Ring Filer Total Seal................................... 53
Pull Bar Adapter Kit Intercomp............................. 53
Voodoo Crankshafts Lunati................................... 54
Carburetor Kits Jiffy-Tite....................................... 54
Angled Carb Spacer Pace Performance............... 54
SportMod Helmet RaceQuip.................................. 55
Brake Pedal Assemblies AFCO........................... 56
Driveline Fasteners ARP....................................... 56
SHX Shock Fluid Driven Racing Oil....................... 56
RY45 Aluminum Block Roush Yates Racing......... 57
Sportsman Solid Roller Lifters COMP Cams...... 57
Predator Transmission Brinn................................ 57
SL/14 Modified Shocks JRi Shocks...................... 58
10.4” Street Stock Clutches Quarter Master....... 58
Titanium Hollow Stem Valves Ferrea.................. 58
TMS Traction Control Units Davis Technologies....... 59
23° Alum. Intake Manifolds Racing Head Service... 59
Hi-6RC Digital CD Ignition Crane Cams............... 59
01 SHOP TALK
Letter from the editor
05 SPEED NEWS
All the “dirt” from the
dirt racing world
08 DIGITAL GUIDE
The best sites, apps & social
media centered around dirt
10 VIDEO REWIND
Racing, product &
46 SNAP SHOTS
Dirt track racing defined
52 SPEED SHOP
to hit the dirt
81 PEOPLE FUELED
People that power
dirt track racing
91 SOCIAL MEDIA
Your online comments to
94 FAST FORWARD
Schedule for dirt track racing’s
96 PARTING SHOTS
On to the next race
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 3
- the perfect barrier to the corrosive
properties of ethanol fuels.
100% Holley - Made in the U.S.A.
97% aluminum construction
38% weight savings
20% more fuel bowl capacity
10 new fuel bowl features
10 new base plate features
6 new metering block features
5 new main-body features
1 new carburetor...Ultra HP
E85 specific metering blocks
High Flow primary power valve
.130” stainless needle & seats
50cc secondary accelerator pump
Secondary jet extensions installed
FOR E85 FUEL!
600CFM ULTRA HP E85
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950CFM ULTRA HP E85
NEWS / HEADLINES / HOT TOPICS
Sprint Cup Driver Returns To His Roots
David Reutimann starts his own chassis
Lots of NASCAR’s top drivers learned their craft racing dirt
tracks across America. Many still enjoy occasionally getting
into a Dirt Late Model or Sprint Car for the fun of it, but few
have made the commitment to dirt racing that David Reutimann has.
Reutimann says he’s always been a chassis guy just as much
as he is a driver. When he was driving Dirt Modifieds and Late
Models in Zephyrhills, Florida, as a youth, Reutimann says he
often either built or modified his own chassis. Now, despite
several years in NASCAR’s top touring series (Reutimann
drove the 2013 season for BK Motorsports) the driver has
started his own chassis building business.
BeakBuilt Chassis is Reutimann’s new operation constructing Dirt Modified racing chassis—the name comes from
Reutimann’s nickname referencing his prominent nose. Reutimann is more than the money man allowing others to do all
the work. The chassis is, in fact, Reutimann’s own design, and
New Rankings for
Dirt Late Models
John Blankenship introduces computerized
rankings for Dirt Late Model drivers
Just like fans of other sports, fans of
Dirt Late Model racing—and the racers themselves—love to have friendly
arguments about who is the best.
But it can be hard to find a clear-cut
winner when the best drivers are
split among different series racing
across the country and rarely race
Driver John Blankenship may
have solved that particular dilemma
with his “Wizard” rankings. BlanJohn Blankenship
kenship’s Wizard is a computerized
ranking system that helps determine
which drivers are having a better season based on lots of stats
and some complex computer algorithm that we don’t pretend
We’re told the system takes into account not just how
drivers finished in their races but also the strength of their
racing schedule and the car count in the races that are run.
It penalizes drivers for not taking part in highly competitive
events and forgives events missed because of injury. Blankenship updates the driver rankings each month, and it is interesting to see not only who is sitting in the top spot but also to
compare each driver’s stats. You can check it out yourself at
we’re told the driver even built the jigs used to construct each
new chassis. BeakBuilt is already enjoying success with several
appearances in Victory Lanes at many different race tracks. For
more on BeakBuilt, you can check out their Facebook page at
More Musical Chairs
Rick Eckert slides into driver’s seat
for Rocket Racing House car
Despite being one of the best
rides in dirt racing, Rocket
Chassis is having a little trouble
keeping a driver in its house car.
Fortunately, the changes are
only happening for the most noble of reasons. It all began when
Josh Richards announced before
the season that he would be
stepping away from the ride temporarily for medical reasons. The
reasons weren’t announced, and
we’ve still got our fingers crossed
that Richards will recover and be back in the car soon.
Until then, he’s working in the Rocket shops building cars.
Brandon Sheppard started the season in the Rocket
number 1 and performed quite capably in Richard’s stead.
He was actually second in the World of Outlaws Late Model
standings when he made his own decision to give up the
ride in March. After the birth of his son, Sheppard understandably wanted to spend more time with his family in
Illinois (Rocket’s shops are in West Virginia).
Now veteran Rick Eckert has agreed to fill in indefinitely as Rocket’s lead driver. Eckert is a proven winner
and should be able to guide the familiar blue number 1
back to Victory Lane.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 5
Speed NEWS NEWS / HEADLINES / HOT TOPICS
Mike Huey’s ’65 Mustang
turns heads at the race track
In the world of dirt track racing we are,
by-and-large, a pretty practical lot. Flat
surfaces make for good aerodynamics
and are easier to repair, so slab-sided
bodies have become the norm.
Maybe that’s why we always love
seeing the vintage classes race whenever
we are at the track. And this Mustang
driven by Mike Huey at Lancaster (SC)
Speedway definitely caught our eye.
At first you might think this car is too
beautiful to race, and Huey, in fact, said
he heard that comment a few times
when he first brought it to the track.
After all, 1965 Mustang fastbacks are
pretty collectible pieces. But he says the
truth is the ‘65 Mustang shell he literally
dragged out of the woods to start his
build was a basket case. The floorboards were completely rotted out, and
all he was able to use was the roof, rear
quarters and rear decklid. The hood
comes from another car, and the fenders
6 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
and door skins are repop pieces from
the auto supply store.
The chassis is an old NASCAR
Nationwide chassis that had been
purchased and raced by an ARCA team.
Huey says he thinks it is a 2001 chassis
but isn’t sure. When the ARCA team
decided to move to newer equipment
it sat in storage until Huey picked up
the roller for $700. The motor, he says,
is made up of almost all used pieces
Huey’s dad had laying around the shop
and screwed together.
So even if this isn’t a big-budget
build, we still think this race car looks
like a million bucks. We’re working on
a story complete with video on Huey
and his fantastic race car, so make sure
to keep an eye on www.OneDirt.com
NEWS / HEADLINES / HOT TOPICS
Mountain Creek Added to USMTS Slate
USMTS Mods Make First Visit to Grand Prairie during stops in Texas, Oklahoma
The USMTS (United States Modified Touring Series) has announced that the Mountain Creek Speedway in Grand Prairie,
Texas, has been added to the 2014 schedule for the USMTS
Casey’s Cup powered by Swan Energy.
The USMTS Modifieds’ debut at the high-banked quarter-mile clay oval will take place on Thursday, June 26, as part
of five straight shows in the S&S Fishing & Rental Southern
Region presented by Day Motor Sports. Due to this addition
to the schedule, the event at the Superbowl Speedway in
Greenville, Texas, will now be one day later on Friday, June
27, and replaces Timberline Speedway on the calendar.
The week kicks off on Tuesday, June 24, at the Heart O’
Texas Speedway near Waco, Texas, followed by a visit to the
Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, the next day. The
five-event run wraps up Saturday, June 28, at the Southern
Oklahoma Speedway in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Seventeen shows in 26 days are scheduled for the month of
June for the USMTS before the tour gets a two-week summer
vacation in July.
Sponsor for ROTY Program Announced
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series partners with Dunn-Benson Ford for Rookie Awards
Officials at the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series have announced Dunn-Benson Ford has come on board as the title
sponsor of the 2014 Rookie of the Year program. In addition
to this sponsorship, Dunn-Benson will also be the “Official
Pace Vehicle” for the season.
This year’s Rookie of the Year program will pay $10,000
cash, plus product awards, to the top rookie driver that earns
the most points over the course of the season. The Rookie
of the Year runner-up will receive a $2,500 cash award at the
series year-end banquet.
Additional cash and product awards for the Rookie of the
Year program will come from Midwest Sheet Metal. Chris
Davis, owner of Midwest Sheet
has agreed to post a $50 cash
award and $50 product award
to the highest finishing rookie
driver at each series sanctioned
This year’s group of rookies includes three drivers that are separated by a slim margin in
what is shaping up to be a tight battle for the 2014 Rookie of
the Year title.
No. Ala. Speedway Makes Moves
North Alabama Speedway Joins NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series
North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Alabama, has
joined the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series for the
remainder of the 2014 season.
North Alabama Speedway promoter Wayne Burns
wanted to create a separate class of Late Models for the
competitors using the Chevrolet Performance 604 and 602
circle track engines. Burns also wanted his new Late Model
class to be sanctioned by the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly
Racing Series so the drivers could compete for not only a
track point fund, but also for the $20,000 national point
fund that pays $10,000 to the National Champion and pays
back through the Top 10 in the national point standings at
the end of the 27-week season.
In addition to the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series
Late Model Division, Burns also signed up for the NeSmith
Performance Parts Street Stock Division presented by AR
Bodies. NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Late Model
drivers at North Alabama Speedway will compete against drivers at other participating at NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing
Series sanctioned tracks through a points system that counts
their 14 best weekly point totals over the 27-week season that
runs through September 28.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 7
Digital GUIDE WEBSITES / FORUMS / APPS
HELPING RACERS INTO THE
ONE CLICK @ A TIME
Looking for the dirt?
We’ve got you covered
OneDirt.com is your go-to
resource for all things dirt. This
is the dirt racing website that
covers Sprint Cars, Late Models, Modifieds, Street Stocks
and much more. Updated daily
by a staff of dirt racing experts,
OneDirt.com features news
and videos from around the dirt
racing world, along with profiles, opinions, product reviews
and tech tips. The site has the
dirt scene in every corner of
8 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
the country covered, meaning
that it always includes a steady
stream of new and relevant
information. You can also join
over 100,000 dirt enthusiasts
on the OneDirt.com Facebook
page for even more up-to-theminute news and the opportunity to talk with other dirt fans
around the world.
Whether you’re a fan or racer, OneDirt.com is designed to
keep you in the know each and
every day of the year.
Already a fan of OneDirt on
social media? Then check out
the OneDirt Social Media
Sound Off page to see if your
comments made the cut.
See page 91.
With all of today’s technology, the digital world can
be overwhelming. Let’s face
it – with so many websites, forums, apps, social
media and everything else
out there, it can be pretty
tough to navigate through all
of the nonsense (if you even
understand how to use it in
the first place) to find the
information you need. Not
to mention how little time
you have when every spare
minute is spent trying to win
races, right? Here at OneDirt,
we’ve done the dirty work for
you. We’ve waded through
all of that nonsense and extra
stuff for you to find some of
the best sites, apps and other
resources to help you make it
to Victory Lane.
Features great stories, results and images from Sprint Car racing
around the United States.
Includes the latest news for Late Models, Modifieds, Sprints and
Midgets in the Missouri and Illinois area, as well as a forum.
News and stats for World of Outlaws and Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint
Car Dirt Series.
All-inclusive site that gathers all of the dirt on dirt track racing,
including news and videos on demand from a wide variety of
Anything and everything related to Late Model racing across
the United States.
A website for all things racing organized by type so that you can
easily look up your favorite dirt car series to follow all the action.
Late Models across the country broken down by region with a
full schedule for each month.
Website based on popular magazine with editorial features on
engines, chassis and drivetrain, as well as safety and tech tips.
Photo by Rick Schwallie
The official site of one of the premier
national touring sanctioning bodies for
Dirt Super Late Models. This website
highlights nearly 50 events in 19 states,
with the official event and television
schedule as well as highlights of the
tracks and drivers in the series.
As one of the main sanctioning bodies for
Sprint Cars and Late Models, this site has
a separate section for each racing platform.
Each includes up-to-date news, race
results, the official race schedule, points
standings, driver bios, track info, a guide for
first-time dirt trackers and much more!
The site for this popular and rapidly growing Dirt Modified Touring Series features
news, videos of sanctioned events as well
as regional races, a complete schedule
broken down by region, points standings,
driver bios, links to the official USMTS
tracks and more.
Following a similar format for other dirt
track sanctioning bodies, ASCSRacing.com
features 300 c.i. Sprint Car series news,
schedules, results and points on a national
level. You can also search for that information based on the region you are in.
The American Modified Series is a fast-growing Open Wheel Modified tour that holds
events in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and
Tennessee. The series has a stated mission
of generating added exposure for competitors
and sponsors, offering elevated prize money
and providing the best in regional competition.
Everything Big Block Modified, Late Model,
UMP Modified, 358 Modified, Sportsman
Modified, Pro Late Model, Sportsman/NE
Pro Stock, Limited/Pro Modified, Stock Car,
Factory Stock and Sport Compact. Yeah,
that about covers it.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 9
Video REWIND RACING / PRODUCT / ENTERTAINMENT
An in-depth look at the career of legendary Sprint Car pilot Doug Wolfgang. Love
him or hate him, there’s no disputing that
Doug was a throwback driver that did it
his way from start to finish.
Scan QR Code
to watch now!
Dirt Track PROBLEM SOLVING
FRONTSTRETCH FIGHT AT
In this footage from the late 1990s, a massive front straightaway
pileup leads to fisticuffs and hurt feelings between several wellknown Dirt Late Model drivers at the famous Pennsboro Speedway.
10 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
RUMBLE AT THE RACEWAY
This epic race track meltdown filmed at Southern New Mexico
Speedway is highly entertaining and helpful in that it shows how
NOT to handle your emotions at the race track.
ABANDONED TULSA SPEEDWAY
Closed in late 2005, Tulsa Speedway was a hotbed of Open Wheel talent in the Midwest.
This video shows what the facility looks like today in a sight that has become all too familiar
to dirt racing fans.
DIRT TRACK RACING
Some of the oldest dirt track racing video
footage we’ve ever come across online.
It’s really cool to look back at the infancy
of the sport, and you’ll immediately have
more respect for the drivers from that era.
1986 WORLD 100 FROM ELDORA SPEEDWAY
This video from the first ever World 100 night race shows the stars of that era battling for
the prestigious victory. When the dust settles, Jeff Purvis claims his 3rd World 100 title.
AMAZING HOBBY STOCK RACE
This Hobby Stock race from Bakersfield Speedway is full of non-stop action from the drop
of the green flag to the checkered flag. With a full field and hard-nosed racing, this one is
worth your time to watch.
50G TO WIN KART RACE
It might be hard to believe that there really was a Dirt Kart race that paid $50,000 to the
winner, but it happened in Clay City, Kentucky, and we found the video to prove it.
DRIVE: KYLE LARSON
This video produced by Target reviews the
career of NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie and
dirt track hot shot Kyle Larson. It’s a great
look at what it takes to groom a future
DALE JR GOES DIRT RACING
For years his legion of fans have clamored to see Dale Jr. do some dirt racing. Finally the
wait is over. This is one dirt racing video you don’t want to miss.
COMP CAMS 4-PATTERN CAMS
Power AutoMedia explains how COMP Cams has incorporated NASCAR-derived technology in a new series of camshafts that offer better performance
and combustion efficiency.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 11
You can’t help but feel like all is right with the world
when experiencing moments like this.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 13
TOTAL SEAL’S ADVANTAGE RING KITS
MAKE LEGAL POWER IN CLAIMER CLASSES
LET’S BE HONEST, it can be really
tough making power on a budget in the
lower classes in dirt track racing.
For one, the rulebook almost always requires mainly stock or stock-replacement components in the engine.
And besides, if you could afford all
the top-dollar stuff, you’d be racing a
Super Late Model in a touring series,
right? Of course, even if you don’t
mind spending the money, claimer
rules in the lower classes make putting
too much of an investment into your
race engine a dicey proposition.
At OneDirt we’re always on the lookout for ways that you can improve your
racing program without breaking the
bank, and Total Seal’s Advantage Ring
System is a perfect example of how you
can do exactly that.
SMART ENGINE BUILDERS have
known for a while now that an excellent
way to cut the parasitic drag in an engine
is to use thinner rings. Thinner piston
rings create less friction as they move up
and down the cylinder bore, and every
ounce of force not required to overcome
drag is that much more power that can
be put to the rear wheels.
That may not sound like much, but
Keith Jones of piston ring manufacturer Total Seal says in a race engine
those ounces really add up. “Typically,
a 5/64-inch thick piston ring, which
is what is commonly considered a
standard size, makes about seven to
eight pounds of tension against the
cylinder wall per ring,” he explains.
“Our modern 1.2 millimeter thick
14 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
rings make just two-and-a-half pounds
of tension. Generally, that adds up to
about a 10 to 15 horsepower gain in a
running engine. I’ve had one gentleman
that changed just the top ring and saw
a nine horsepower gain. Because when
you reduce friction in the rings, even a
small change gets multiplied by several
thousand RPM, and it really adds up.”
BUT THE THINNER RINGS actu-
ally offer more advantages than simply
just a reduction in friction. Because
there is less mass changing direction
every time the piston reaches TDC
or BDC, thinner rings are less likely
to suffer from compression-robbing
ring flutter. Plus, thinner rings breakin more quickly and actually provide a
better seal to imperfect cylinder walls
TENSION: WHAT A DRAG
Total Seal's engineers did the science behind this chart, but it is
true for any ring. The moral of the story here is thickness equals
tension, and tension equals drag. The key is to find the least
amount of tension your engine combination can get by with. To
find that out, give the tech line for your ring manufacturer a call.
Total Seal’s Advantage Ring Packages ingeniously use a spacer that allows you to
run modern 1.2 millimeter thick low-tension rings in standard pistons made for
standard 5/64 rings. The result is less drag
and more power to the rear wheels.
than larger, stiffer rings. Many racers
and engine builders worry that a thinner piston ring won’t hold up as well,
and the race engine will suffer from
blow-by too soon, but the reverse is actually true. Once the rings are properly
seated, the reduced friction against the
cylinder walls means the rings will actually last as long, or longer, than conventional rings. The only thing a modern,
Axial x Radial
5/64” x .190”
7.3 – 7.5 lbf.
1/16” x .190”
5.5 – 5.7 lbf.
1.5mm x .160”
3.0 – 3.2 lbf.
1.2mm x .155”
2.3 – 2.5 lbf.
.043” x .155”
1.8 – 2.0 lbf.
.0325” x .135”
0.8 – 1.0 lbf.
.0274” x .110”
0.5 – 0.7 lbf.
thin ring doesn’t handle as well as a
thicker and heavier ring is detonation,
and if you are trying to race with a detonating engine you’ve got bigger problems than ring seal.
This is old news for upper level touring classes, but the advantage
of racing with thinner rings has seen
slower acceptance in the Street Stock
and claimer classes because many
Axial x Radial
3/16” x .187”
20 – 25 lbf.
3.0mm x .145”
9 – 11 lbf.
2.0mm x .125”
7 – 8 lbf.
times the rule book requires a “stocktype” or “stock-replacement” piston
— and those simply aren’t available
with narrow ring grooves. Plus, highend pistons with narrow ring grooves
are simply out of the budget for these
race engines, and when there is a $500
or even $1,500 claimer rule, it doesn’t
make sense to invest too much into the
Lower or entry-level racing classes often
have a claim rule or a requirement for stock or
stock-replacement engine parts. Being able
to use modern, low-tension oil rings in these
engines can free up significant horsepower.
When you reduce friction in the rings, even a small change
gets multiplied by several thousand RPM and it really adds up.
– Keith Johnson
TOTAL SEAL’S ADVANTAGE RING PACKAGES are de-
signed to allow the Street Stock level racer to take advantage
of modern piston ring designs without breaking the bank.
They actually allow you to install a 1.2 millimeter first and
second ring into a conventional piston with a larger groove
for a 5/64-inch ring by utilizing a hardened steel spacer that
takes up the extra clearance and allows the thinner ring to
The best part is this is a significant power upgrade that is
totally legal in most racing classes. Jones points out that while
rulebooks will often require a stock-type piston, they never say
what size ring package you have to put in them. So for a street
stock engine you can go out and purchase a set of hypereutectic
flat top pistons for a couple hundred bucks, install a set of Total
Seal Advantage Rings with the spacer and get the performance
advantage of low-tension rings without having to purchase an
expensive set of custom pistons.
INSTALLING AN ADVANTAGE RING PACKAGE really
isn’t any different than a standard ring set with the exception of
the spacer. The spacer hides totally within the ring groove so it
should never touch the cylinder wall and shouldn’t have to be
gapped. And because the bottom ring land in the piston is the
16 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
most critical for helping the ring to seal, the spacer rides on top
of the ring so it stays out of the way.
You can purchase an Advantage Ring Kit with either Total Seal’s signature gapless ring technology or with a standard
gapped top ring. Either way, Total Seal offers steel rings with diamond-finished edges that will provide excellent sealing. Pair that
with a thinner, napier-style second ring and one of Total Seal’s
low-drag oil-ring packages, and we’re talking about a horsepower difference you can actually feel from the driver’s seat.
This is an engine building option that we love here at
OneDirt because there really isn’t a drawback for the racer. Yes, the modern rings are slightly more expensive than
previous-generation cast iron rings, but they provide better
sealing, lower rotating weight and less parasitic engine drag
without a penalty in usable lifespan. And now you can install
them in a wide range of affordable piston packages that are
legal for your racing class. So the question becomes: What
can you do with an additional 10-15 totally legal horsepower in your race car? Source
“N HEAD” Flat Top
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Tech Support: [email protected]
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When the sanctioning bodies didn’t move fast enough for his liking, racer and engine builder Dave Arce worked with FAST to put fuel injection
on a refreshed stock engine and is testing it in his race car to prove it
can be done economically.
18 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
IT SEEMS THAT SOME THINGS
we’ve been told are coming never seem
to get here. Flying cars for example, or
dishwashers that unload themselves. It
seems we’ve also been told that electronic fuel injection will inevitably be making
its way to racing, but by and large, we’re
NASCAR made waves a couple of
years ago when it finally introduced
EFI to its Cup Series engines, but their
package turned out to be astronomically
expensive and it isn’t even close to being used in the Nationwide or Camping
World Truck Series yet. Obviously, when
we talk about keeping costs down in racing so that more people can get involved,
the Cup solution really isn’t viable for
the rest of us.
In the dirt racing world, with the exception of mechanical fuel injection systems utilized by Sprint Car racers, we’re
still depending on carburetors to get the
job done. Now don’t get us wrong, we
aren’t saying carburetors should be outlawed—quite the opposite, in fact. We
believe that racing should be all about
innovation, and if there is a way to improve the life of the average dirt track
racer, then we should at least look into it.
We recently learned of a racer and
engine builder that has taken the bull
by the horns and is forcing innovation
into the series he’s racing by making the benefits impossible to ignore.
Dave Arce of Arce Engines has built
and plans to campaign a fuel injected, LS-based race engine that powers
a Modified race car in the Lucas Oil
Modified Series (LOMS). Yes, the
Lucas Oil Modifieds race on asphalt,
but we think Arce’s innovative engine
package will work equally well in a dirt
racing environment—and in a variety
of different classes. (If you know of a
dirt racer or engine builder doing similar things, please let us here at OneDirt
know about it.)
We know Arce is truthful about his
intentions to help Saturday night racers
be able to enjoy their sport more affordably. As an engine builder it is easy to see
how his best interest would be served by
continuing with the status quo and sell-
ing expensive custom engines for racing.
Instead, he used himself as a guinea pig
and campaigned last season with a rebuilt street engine.
“I really believe we have to have
something more affordable for the Saturday night racer,” he explains. “It has to
be more efficient, and it has to be readily
available for the average guy. So I started out with an LQ series motor. Everybody talks about the LS engine. Well,
the LQ series is in the LS family, except
it is a cast iron block version that came
in trucks and other heavy vehicles. The
LQ9 was the top performing engine in
the family, and it came in the Escalade
and some other stuff.
“So I bought a 5.3 from a wrecking
yard, bored it oversized to make the displacement 5.7 liters (350 cubic inches)
and put it all back together. It’s a 5.7
now, so I call it an LQ9. I kept the original block and heads, and it was very easy
and inexpensive to do.
“I put it in my Modified that I race
in the Lucas Oil Modified Series. We
use a rule book that is a lot like the
IMCA except we don’t have a claim
rule. If you have a thousand dollar
claim rule you wind up with a lot of
people building junk, and I don’t think
that leads to good racing. You achieve
the same thing with the eight-inch tire
rule and shock package that we have,
which really limits how much power
you can put to the ground.
“And I have to give the racing series
a lot of credit. To run the LQ9 I needed
them to change the rules so that you can
run an engine with more than one coil
and also allow a crank trigger instead of
a distributor, and they were willing to
work with me on that.”
Arce said his LQ9 ran very well
all last season. One thing he did find
is that the up-and-over design of the
headers put a lot of heat into the coil
packs which are normally mounted on
the valve covers, and coil failure became a problem. The location for the
coils also created issues in finding a
way to run the spark plug wires from
the coil packs to the plugs without contacting the hot headers. So he designed
a mounting plate that moved the coil
packs to the back of the engine and
underneath the headers where they do
not see nearly as much heat. In this location the plug wires can also be routed underneath the header tubes, curing
the second issue.
For the 2014 season he wanted to
push the envelope even further. Now
We think the innovation
on this Asphalt Modified
is worth investigating.
The engine runs mostly
stock parts and burns
pump gas, but it is already
approximately as fast
as the more expensive
custom-built race engines
in the series.
that he felt he had a solid foundation
with the motor, he wanted to add fuel
injection to the mix.
“I went to the SEMA show last year
and someone I trust recommended the
FAST EZ-EFI system to me,” Arce says.
“So I went to the FAST booth and told
them what I was trying to do. That’s
when I met Brian Reese (the Vice President of Product Development at the
tem before bringing it to the race track.
He says he answered only the baseline
questions in the EZ-EFI’s removable
Arce wasn’t allowed to compete with
the EZ-EFI system in the first race of the
season at Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake
Havasu City, Arizona, but he was allowed
to test with it before switching to a carburetor for qualifying and the race itself.
I really believe we have to have something
more affordable for the Saturday night racer.
– Dave Arce
COMP Performance Group, which includes FAST). He was very interested
in what I was trying to do and said he
would commit to helping me any way he
could. He told me he really wanted to see
this thing work, and I could tell he really believed his EZ-EFI system could do
what I needed.”
Arce says he installed FAST’s EZEFI system on the race car exactly according to the instructions with no
modifications to any of the components.
During the off-season, he had gotten the
LOMS to agree to look into the viability
of electronic fuel injection but no more,
so Arce wanted to prove the FAST system not only to himself but also the racing series and other racers, as well.
To do that he installed the EZ-EFI
system in his LQ9 powered Modified
and confirmed that everything was in
working order but didn’t run the engine on the dyno or even tune the sys-
“The system surprised me with how
well it did,” he says. “We practiced with it
so that the people running the series and
the other racers can see what it is all about.
Like I said, we didn’t dyno it or even try to
tune it before we got to the track. But on the
track within a couple of laps it started tuning itself to the engine and the conditions,
and you could really see the difference.”
Threatening rain meant Arce had
to switch over to a carburetor before
he would have liked, but he says he is
excited about the possibilities of bringing fuel injection to racing. “Some guys
may think, ‘Hey, you’re trying to get an
advantage here. But so what? What we
are trying to do is make these engines
more efficient and easier to maintain.
Guys won’t be melting pistons because
they are trying to lean out the fuel too
much. The system tunes itself, so it
eliminates a lot of the costly mistakes
we make. It isn’t expensive, the FAST
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 19
What racers don’t need is any unnecessary complexity. With the air cleaner in place, the EZ-EFI
fuel injection system is barely noticeable.
system will bolt up to any engine that uses the same 4150 intake manifold flange that the Holley four barrel bolts to, and
anyone can use it. I want it to be open to everybody, because I
believe we all can benefit from it.”
From the driver’s seat, Arce says the FAST EZ-EFI system
felt more “pure.” The computer eliminated the stumbles and
hesitation so common with a carburetor when you first get back
on the throttle coming out of the turns, and the engine pulled
hard all the way down the straight. Even with just a minimum
amount of track time, Arce–who qualified third for the race using his carbureted setup–believes he could have sat on the pole
with the fuel injected setup.
“But the speed isn’t the best part to me,” he says. “It is how it
can benefit the racers. When I had to switch back to the carburetor for the race, I realized I really don’t want to do this anymore. I
had to tear the carburetor apart twice to make jet changes with the
changing weather, and both times I was trying not to spill fuel all
over the engine, and we all have the cups of race gas that we end
up throwing onto the ground. There is none of that with the fuel
injection. I could spend all day tuning on a carburetor and not get
it as close as the EZ-EFI because it is sniffing on a wide-band O2
This small ECU
controls the EFI
mounted it in the
driver’s compartment not only for
protection, but this
also makes it easy
to inspect. If a tech
foul play, removing
and replacing the
ECU is simple.
20 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Arce mounted the in-line fuel pump on the left
side of the car where it is protected between
the driver’s compartment and the battery. In the
event of a wreck, when the engine shuts off,
a switch monitoring engine oil pressure activates and cuts all power–killing the fuel pump.
sensor in real time and making adjustments to the amount of fuel
it is giving the engine right there on the race track.”
Arce hopes to actually run his fuel injected setup in real
competition in a few weeks to see how it holds up under fire.
His next goal is to come up with an affordable fuel cell setup
that moves the fuel pump into the cell, but as far as the actual
fuel injection system goes, his development is done.
“I think this system from FAST will work great for racing,” he
says. “We already know that you can’t reprogram the ECU to give
you some sort of traction control because it doesn’t even have the
hardware to do it in the box. In fact, the control unit only requires
one plug. If we are all racing the FAST system and you think I’ve
cheated up my system, then fine, I undo the four bolts securing
the ECU, unplug the harness and swap it out for a control unit
provided by the series in just a few minutes. It’s that simple.”
At this point, we don’t know if or when the LOMS will allow
fuel injection officially, but we think Arce makes so much sense that
a fuel injection system like this is worth considering. For example,
his 11.5:1 compression LQ9 with stock cylinder heads and the
FAST EZ-EFI is running comparable lap times to the custom-built
race engines, but Arce is fueling his LQ9 with the same four-dollar 91 octane fuel he puts into his hauler! Inexpensive stock engine
parts, cheap gas and less tuning in the pits – what’s not to like?
If you are interested in learning more, or want to approach
your sanctioning body about using a fuel injected racing engine,
Arce has founded the Fuel Injection Racing Association (FIRA)
to help the cause. You can check it out at www.FuelInjectionRacing.com. And make sure to let us know here at OneDirt if
you’re looking for a fuel injection solution near you. Sources
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GET TO KNOW
ASSISTANT SERIES DIRECTOR & PHOTOGRAPHER
LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES
Dirt racing is filled with tons of interesting people beyond the
drivers who get all the attention. You may have seen one of
Rick Schwallie's photos in any number of publications or websites
and never realized who was behind the lens. Besides working
the glass, Schwallie is also the Assistant Series Director for the
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. We hit Schwallie up with a few
questions during his down time between races. And if you want to see more of his great
shots, or even purchase one of your favorite driver, you can check out his website at
1. How did you first get into
photography? How long have you
been working professionally?
I was a pretty young person when I first
got into racing photography. I guess I
was in my late teens in 1992, the first
time that I took pictures out at Pennsboro Speedway and that was with a 110
camera. That was obviously film back
in those days, and a 110 isn’t even what
a 35mm camera was. I was doing it as
a hobby because my dad and I were
attending races, and I started taking
pictures just as keepsakes. I still have all
those pictures I took way back then, and
they are some of my fondest memories.
Around 1998 I started shooting
professionally for some area newspapers. They gave me media credentials to
get into the race track for free, which I
thought was just fabulous. I was shooting
for three or four newspapers back then
and although I absolutely loved it, I remember it being a huge pain having to get
rolls of 35mm film developed, write your
captions on the back of the prints and then
get the stuff FedEx’ed out to the publications right away. I wasn’t actually making
any money, but that never mattered. I was
getting to do what I loved to do.
Now my full time job is working for
the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
I’ve been with the series since it started
22 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
4. Do you have any interesting stories about the drivers you shoot?
in 2005, and while I’m at the race track
I am afforded the luxury to take photos
when I can. But if I’m needed anywhere
else at the track, then that is my priority.
The coolest thing to me is that I grew
up a fan just like everybody else. As a
teenager I liked Scott Bloomquist and
Donnie Moran, and I considered them
idols in my youth.
Now in my travels, because of my
job duties with the series as well as my
photography, I’ve gotten to know them
pretty well. I see fans idolize the drivers,
and to me now they are just the people I
go to work with. So I really enjoy having
gotten to know all of these drivers that I
used to look up to as idols.
2. Have you had any formal
training as a photographer?
5. Of all the photos you have
taken, do you have a favorite?
No, I am totally self taught. I’ve never
done any courses or classes.
Sure. In 2007 I was at K-C Speedway
in Chillicothe, Ohio, which is now
known as Atomic Speedway, and Steve
Shaver’s kid, whose name is Dylan, was
still pretty young at the time. He went
up to Steve’s car and gave his dad a fist
bump. I just happened to be at the right
place at the right time, and in the photo
you don’t see anything but Steve’s arm
coming out of the car to give this little
kid a fist bump. I’m a parent now, so
things like that mean more to me than
any single photo of just a car ever will.
3. What is your favorite
race track to shoot?
My favorite race track to shoot pictures
at is Lucas Oil Speedway. I know that’s
going to sound like I’m a big homer but
it’s true. The reason is because in dirt
racing there are very few tracks that are
as picturesque as Lucas Oil Speedway.
It’s cleaned up, it’s got pavement, there
is signage around it and there are good
shooting locations. Our shows are usually the closest thing to what you might
call “NASCAR-style” photographic
opportunities when it comes to dirt
track racing. Plus, the racing is always
6. What’s the behind-the-scenes
life of a traveling motorsports
8. Any tips for aspiring
motorsports photographers on
getting great, dynamic photos?
A lot of hours! If there’s one thing
that I dislike about it, it’s the photo
editing. Working a typical race weekend for the Lucas Oil Series is pretty
grueling and exhausting. Plus, I’m a
truck driver for the series, so when I
get home—usually on a Sunday—after
the race all the equipment has to be
unloaded. I usually spend Sunday
night and most of Monday editing
and uploading pictures. That part of
it I could really lose. I love taking the
photos, but going back through and
editing and uploading them to different websites isn’t my favorite.
I’m not one that likes to sit in the infield
and shoot from the same spot all night
long. To me, that’s the key to it all:
You’ve got to have variety. Try different locations with different lenses and
experiment to see what works for you.
Always try to find something unique.
So be patient. Be willing to learn and
experiment. And don’t just shoot from
one spot in the infield all evening.
7. Do you shoot anything
No, I do not. I don’t shoot anything
besides racing and my family.
9. What is a typical race
A lot of stress! Usually, we’re some of
the first people at the track and one of
the last to leave. I like to get to the track
the night before each race. We usually
have roll call for all of our staff and officials around noon the day of the race.
I’m there to manage the staff, and I also
manage our promoter relations down to
every nut and bolt with the race track.
So I am usually working very closely
with the track promoter.
Usually, the most relaxing point is
when we get to racing. Once everything
has started, that means everyone is in
position to do what they need to do,
and I am freed up to where I can start
10. Can you give us an up-andcoming driver to keep an eye on?
Oh, that’s no problem. A very talented
young driver racing with us right now
is Bobby Pierce. He just captured his
second series win with us this year. I
don’t think he’s even 18 years old yet,
and he’s already winning races. I have
no doubt he’s a star on the rise. To see more of Rick’s work check out
Photo by Rick Schwallie
Photos by Woody Hampton
SETTING UP A VALVE TRAIN PACKAGE for dirt racing
is never an easy task, even for the most experienced racer or
crew chief. The cam is often considered the brain of the engine,
meaning that it is the control center for all of the valve train
functions. The patterns and position of the lobes on the camshaft determine the timing and lift applied to the valves, which
in turn move air through the system and create horsepower.
However, all valve train components need to work together—as
well as with other engine parts—to create the optimum power
and torque needed for the track on any given day. Budget, the
rulebook, driving style and engine upkeep all are significant areas to consider in the selection of a camshaft and related valve
We got the thoughts from some of the leading minds at a few
of the world’s top valve train companies on the best way to select a dirt valve train package.
ALLAN BECHTLOFF OF CRANE CAMS is a circle track
specialist for the Daytona Beach-based company. He says that
the first two major considerations in selecting valve train parts
are the rules and the budget. Each racer must be aware of what
the rules will allow him or her to do and not do. Some race sanctioning bodies have strict rules on what type of cam can be run
and what its specifications must be, other sanctions are wide
open with a “run what you brung” attitude.
“First, know your rules,” Bechtloff says. “Secondly, be aware
of the old adage that speed costs money. We all want to go fast, but
what is realistic for your budget? All cam companies have catalog
cams at reasonable prices that may be fine for your application.
These cam selections are based on past experience and are designed to fit the most likely engine combinations.”
He goes on to say though that if you are trying to take full
advantage of the rules and/or to finely tune your engine combination, a little more expensive custom ground cam that is deIssue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 25
signed exactly for you may be the key to success. He believes
these custom options are well worth the time and investment.
Bechtloff also gives a great overview of the various types of
dirt racing and the rules associated.
The entry level Bomber and Street Stock classes are designed so that the dollar investment is easier on the pocket
book. These classes usually have rules packages that limit what
you can do with the engine with the sole intent of keeping
the dollar investment at a minimum. Here is where you find
rules that limit the type of cam you can use to a flat tappet
design (either hydraulic or mechanical/solid). The valve lift
may be specified and in some cases even the vacuum the
engine can generate.
As you move up to the mid-level classes the rules become
less restrictive, the horsepower output increases and the cars go
faster. These classes are where the Modifieds and Late Models
compete. Here the use of a roller tappet camshaft might be legal.
If you continue up the ranks, you find at the top of the list the
Unlimited Late Models and open wheel, winged Outlaw Sprint
Cars. At these levels the engine cubic inch and compression ratio are allowed to increase. Roller tappet camshafts with needle
bearing journals and high ratio shaft-mounted rocker arms become the norm.
“With each class the engines become more powerful, the
complexity of the racing increases, the cars go faster and of
course the dollar investment increases,” Bechtloff explains.
“But no matter the level of competition, if you are trying to find
an edge in a Bomber Class or an Outlaw Sprint Car, the camshaft selection is still a very important part of the process. “
MEANWHILE, DAVID CHAMBERLAIN OF LUNATI
in Olive Branch, Mississippi, is a tech support and sales representative. Like Bechtloff, Chamberlain explains that before getting too
far,racers in any discipline of dirt racing should check the rulebooks.
He goes on to say that the size of the track, engine size, type of fuel
and compression ratio are some other major factors to consider.
Chamberlain also says that RPM is usually key—especially the
RPM out of the turn since it is important to not over-cam the
engine. “For most circle track applications we keep in mind that
the engine is only running within a certain RPM range and not a
broader operating range,” he says.
The internal combustion engine is a giant air pump. The camshaft is the metering device that opens and closes the valves,
and the more efficiently the air moves through the system, the
more horsepower is created. Camshafts differ in designs for
several reasons but the three main factors are: duration, valve
lift and lobe separation angle.
DURATION determines the RPM potential of the engine and its
power band. It is how long the valve is open, measured in degrees of crankshaft rotation. Small duration numbers mean the
engine operates best at lower RPM, concentrating the power,
building it quickly and then peaking. Larger duration numbers
hold the valve open longer, allowing more air to enter and
exit, thereby enabling the engine to reach higher RPM. Larger
duration cams have less bottom-end power but more mid-range
to top-end power.
VALVE LIFT is the distance the valve travels. This determines
how much of the air/fuel mixture can enter and exit the engine,
thereby producing more torque. It is created by the lobe lift of
the camshaft and is increased by the rocker ratio to arrive at
total valve lift. Lift is measured in the thousandths of an inch in
travel. Increased lobe lift and/or increased rocker arm ratio will
lift the valve farther.
LOBE SEPARATION ANGLE (LSA) On a given cylinder, this is
the angular distance by which the centerline of the intake and
exhaust lobes are separated, measured in camshaft degrees.
If we consider duration to determine RPM potential and valve
lift to determine torque, then consider lobe separation as a
modifier of these two things. Lobe separation is important
in determining the shape of the torque curve and where
horsepower is made across the overall powerband. Tight lobe
separation angles bring the torque on earlier in the RPM range
and concentrate it for more power off the turn. Wider lobe
separation angles soften the launch and build more power past
the flagman. If your car has lots of tire with good grip you can
run tighter lobe separation angles. If you have a tire limitation
(with a narrow or hard compound tire) the tight separation
angle would tend to spin the tires and lead to loss of traction. A
wider lobe separation angle would lessen the shock to the tire,
helping to prevent spinning and traction loss.
– Courtesy of Crane Cams
Lots of people just think bigger
is better, but when you figure
the whole power curve you
need to find the cam that is
best for your program.
– James Fry
This piece of information plays a major part in how the cam
profile is designed. Most circle track cams have a tight Lobe
separation angle. The tighter LSA will narrow the powerband
but make it peak higher and pull harder within the given RPM
range. This will be a benefit because most of the time the engine
is only working within a narrow RPM scope. This LSA design
is common practice for most circle track cams, but that does not
mean there aren’t cases where a variation is necessary.
“If a driver tells us he or she has a heavy foot, we may put a
wider LSA and a little more duration to make the hit on the tires
a little softer off the turn,” Chamberlain explains. Lunati also
tries to not make the cam too application-specific for one track
because the driver often takes care of the change by switching
rear gears from one track to another as needed. As for a racer on a
budget, Chamberlain says that there are a couple of areas Lunati
will focus on to be sure he remains competitive. “The first would
be style of cam. In most budget scenarios we try to go with a solid flat tappet. Solids will make good power because of the solid
design and will be easy on the car owner’s purse strings. The
second area to save money is to use less-aggressive lobe designs.
This will be easier on related parts, such as lifters and springs,
and require less maintenance throughout the season.”
COMP CAMS’ JAMES FRY is a specialist in circle track
power plants and has worked with some of the top names in dirt.
He says that one of the first things a racer should explore when
selecting valve train parts is the team’s maintenance program.
A race team that performs regular maintenance in the form of
frequent valve lash, normal spring pressure checks and overall
visual awareness can probably run a stouter cam than those who
don’t have the time or resources to go through these rigorous
tasks each week. However, the type of abuse the engine faces on
the track plays just as much of a role in cam selection as does how
it’s treated in the garage. Race lengths are vital in the type of valve
train setup a racer uses. For instance, a 20-lap Street Stock race
may lend itself to a harder-hitting valve train than a 75- or 100-lap
Modified or Late Model race. The way the driver treats the car in
those races also is an important factor in choosing precisely the
right cam. “A camshaft is just an extension of a person’s driving
style,” Fry states. “It is very important to match the cam selection
to his or her type of driving. A driver who likes a smooth power
curve would use a camshaft that is less torque-y than someone
who requires a snappier throttle response.” Racers who lack this
knowledge often make critical errors in camshaft selection because they simply want the biggest cam possible.
“Lots of people just think bigger is better, but when you figure the whole power curve you need to find the cam that is best
for your program,” Fry says.It is also important to consider the
relationship of the entire valve train package when buying components. If a racer buys the latest trick cam or rocker arms, but
has the idea to use them with stock parts in other areas, there
actually is a greater chance for engine failure. It’s crucial to work
within a budget to select compatible components.
After taking all of these ideas into account, Fry sums up the basics of valve train selection this way. “The first thing to remember
is that you always have to finish a race. It doesn’t matter how you
start, you have to finish well. Choose a valve train package that is
friendly and durable but aggressive enough to make horsepower.
Consider your whole package and think about compatible components within your budget. And be sure that your maintenance
program is in order. Those are the keys to success.” Sources
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 27
PROFILE OF A CHAMPION
Just to go and root
for my dad each week
was about the most
fun thing I remember
as a kid. Well, until
I got my hand on a
steering wheel the
– Rodney Sanders
Photos by Rick Schwallie
IT TAKES ALL KINDS of personalities to make the sport
of auto racing go round. Some racers are loud and boisterous,
while others are quiet and reserved. Happy, Texas, native Rodney Sanders definitely fits the latter mold as the soft-spoken
driver who does almost all of his talking on the race track.
Sanders grew up watching his dad, Marcus Sanders, race
divisions ranging from Stock Cars to Late Models and always
looked forward to heading to the track each week.
“Just to go and root for my dad each week at the track
was about the most fun thing I remember doing as a kid,” the
younger Sanders says. Then after a pause and with a smile
he continues, “Well, it was the most fun thing, until I got my
hand on a steering wheel the first time. That’s when I found
the real fun.”
Rodney’s introduction to driving came in 1998 at the age
of eight when his dad bought him his first Kart. He was instantly hooked and won his very first race. Sanders spent the
next five years enjoying his wildest dreams of being a winning
race car driver. But soon he had the desire to dive even deeper
into the world of motorsports. By the age of 14 he found
himself as the driver of a B-Modified at Route 66 Speedway in
28 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
“It was quite the jump from the Kart to the B-Mod,”
Sanders remembers. “I was really nervous early, and it took me
a while to get a handle on my new surroundings. It definitely
wasn’t easy, but I really enjoyed the challenge.”
Rodney and his dad spent the next few years racing together
before the elder Sanders parked his own race car to focus on
his son’s career. With the focus solely on Rodney, the team
began to enjoy success around the local scene as he progressed
into the Open Wheel Modified class. The 2006 season found
Sanders claiming the track championship at Route 66 Speedway as well as a $5,000 triumph late in the year in Kansas. Soon
thereafter he began branching out to more tracks in the region.
“I really enjoyed traveling, and I especially liked the challenge of trying to learn new tracks,” he says. “I knew that to get
better behind the wheel, I had to take on new challenges.”
Being a lower budget team with limited replacement parts
presented one of those challenges during the team’s early days
of traveling. However, they would progressively begin to gain
sponsors as their runs continued to improve.
By 2009 Sanders had become a frequent flyer on the
ultra-competitive United States Modified Touring Series
(USMTS), and on June 26th of that year at LA Raceway in La
Monte, Missouri, he solidified his spot on the national scene
by racing to his first career feature win on the tour.
“To be 19 years old and get a win against guys like (Kelly)
Shryock, (Jason) Krohn and (Jason) Hughes, it was just an
amazing feeling that I’ll never forget,” he reminisces.
With confidence in his corner Sanders made serious noise
across the nation in 2010 with several big wins including a
$12,000 payday in the USRA Fall Nationals at Mississippi
Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wisconsin, as well as a
$10,000 triumph in the Fall Nationals at Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The 2011 and 2012 seasons found Sanders continuing to
amass wins nationwide, and those strong seasons set the stage for
a career year in 2013 in his number 20 Open Wheel Modified.
He began the season with three wins during the annual
Winter Extreme at Tucson International Raceway in Tucson,
Arizona. From there he went on an absolute tear in the Open
Wheel Modified division with 17 total wins for the year with
various sanctions. The icing on the cake came in the form of
the 2013 USMTS National Championship.
“Those wins meant a lot, but that USMTS Championship was something that I wanted more than anything else,”
Sanders says. “We came so close to reaching the goal in 2012,
and that made me that much hungrier to get the job done for
2013. To stand on that champion’s podium at the end of the
year at Deer Creek Speedway (in Spring Valley, Minnesota) is
a feeling I will never forget.”
Not only did Sanders wreak havoc in the Open Wheel
Modified class in 2013, but he also got his first taste of Super
Late Model racing courtesy of good friend, Jason Krohn. Sanders’ debut in Krohn’s new car at Casa Grande’s Central Arizona Raceway, nearly became a dream outing. He started his
night by winning his heat race, and then ran at the front of the
pack in front of some of the nation’s best drivers for the first
half of the feature event before a mechanical failure brought his
night to a disappointing end.
Sanders remembers, “I was about as nervous to drive the
Super Late Model as I was the first time I got in the B-Mod. It
was all so new, but I fell in love with it immediately.”
Not only did Jason Krohn give Sanders his first shot at driving a Super Late Model, but Sanders is also quick to note he’s
also been a major factor in his success over the years.
“In my early years on the road I can remember breaking
a motor one night with no back-up engine in the trailer,” he
remembers. “Jason heard about my problems and invited me to
his shop to put one of his in my car. I mean this guy barely knew
me, and yet he stuck his neck out for me. I’ll never forget that.”
Rodney Sanders powers
through a turn in at the I-80
Speedway in Greenwood,
Sanders also lists Krohn as a catalyst in his charge to the
2013 USMTS championship.
“Jason has so much knowledge in this sport, and he was
constantly helping me with notes from his own MB Customs
car last year,” Sanders explains. “There were many a night I
was at a total loss, and he got me pointed in the right direction.
Without Jason’s help I don’t know that I would have won that
championship last year.”
Sanders is also quick to note that the support from sponsor
Swan Energy’s Brandon Davis has been priceless in his pursuit
of progressing through the national scene.
“Brandon came on board to help us in 2011 as a major
supporter, and that allowed me to take my program to the
next level,” Sanders says. “He gives me everything that I
need to perform against the best drivers in the nation. Before
he started helping us we were literally a night-to-night team
that was one engine failure away from being headed to the
house at any point. He’s brought a great deal of stability to
this team. I have so many amazing sponsors that allow me to
do what I do, but Brandon really has led the way. I’m beyond
grateful for all he has done for me.”
After the banner year that he had in 2013, Sanders knows
that it will be quite the challenge to have a repeat performance
in 2014, but he’s confident that his team is up to the task.
“With the opportunity and equipment that Swan Energy
Racing gives me, it’s really up to me to get the job done again,”
he says. “All of the pieces are definitely in place for another
championship run with the USMTS.”
While Sanders has his sights set on another USMTS title
he also hopes to do more Super Late Model racing at various
events across the nation.
“We are going to do our best to run some of the early season
USMTS regions to lock into The Hunt for the end of the year,”
he says regarding this year’s plans. “That’s definitely our primary
focus. If we can do that I really want to spend a decent amount of
time racing the Super Late Model. I really love the feel of those
cars, and again I always love the challenge of a new division.”
Looking at long-term goals in his career, Sanders, much like
any other driver, has aspirations of reaching the NASCAR ranks.
“Sure I would love to be running in one of the NASCAR divisions, but it takes so much sponsorship to make that happen,”
he notes. “Being realistic I know it would take a lot of things to
come together to make that happen. If it never does and I stay
in the dirt world for the rest of my career I will be happy, too.
“I’ve really had a ton of blessings in my career to get to race
for a living, and there’s a lot of things I still want to accomplish
in this sport.” PUSHING
DESPITE DOMINATING MOST
DIRT RACING CLASSES,
HOLLEY UPGRADES TWO OF THEIR
CARB DESIGNS TO WIN MORE RACES
THERE’S THAT OLD SAYING in
racing that if you aren’t improving, then
you are getting passed.
And although there are a few other
carburetor manufacturers in racing, Holley is far and away the dominant brand
in dirt track and practically every other
form of racing that utilizes carburetors.
Still, the company recently overhauled
their legendary carburetor design with
several upgrades in their Ultra HP series
to make sure it won’t be getting passed
any time soon.
Photo by Rick Schwallie
When Holley reworked
the 4412 two barrel
carburetor they didn’t
just slap on their Ultra
HP upgrades, they also
made several changes
to help racers deal with
the challenges unique
to two barrel carbs.
the choke tower, the
Ultra HP 2BBL has also
moved the air cleaner
flange so that it is now
centered over the venturis to move as much
air through the carb as
efficiently as possible.
A new feature on both carbs that dirt trackers will
appreciate is this cap that seals the housing bore
for the throttle shaft. Its purpose is to keep out dirt
and grit so that you have a nice, smooth throttle all
Holley’s Ultra HP Four Barrel Carburetors include as standard equipment
many features that dirt track racers have
benefited from to tune their carburetors
more easily, run quicker, have more consistent laps, and even win more races.
The list of upgrades is pretty long, but
the notables include lighter all-aluminum construction, clear sight windows,
larger fuel bowls that utilize cast-in baffles to minimize fuel slosh upsetting the
floats, relocated air bleeds, contoured
squirter screws that don’t impede the
flow of air, tunable billet aluminum metering blocks and an integrated bypass
valve that eliminates drilling holes into
the throttle blades and helps maintain a
steady idle even with the most aggressive race cams.
Now Holley’s engineers have expanded the lineup of Ultra HP Carburetors to include two specialized units that
caught our attention here at OneDirt,
because both look like they can potentially be a very big deal for dirt track racers. We took a closer look at both, and
we think you are going to be very interested in what we found.
While running E85 versus gasoline you are
going to use approximately 40 percent more
fuel at wide-open throttle.
– Laura Shehan
E85 FUEL IS A BLEND containing
as much as 85 percent plant-based ethanol and at least 15 percent gasoline. It is
problematic as a street fuel, but it can be
an incredible tool for racers. That’s because E85 is rated 105 octane and burns
cooler than straight gasoline. And while
110 octane race fuel can sell for $10 a gallon or more, E85 is sold right out of the
pump at a price that is equivalent to—or
even less than—87 octane gasoline.
As a result, many smart racers are looking to run E85 in their race cars because
they realize that they can get the benefits of
race fuel at gas station prices. But running
E85 involves a little bit more than simply
emptying your fuel cell and refilling it
with the ethanol-blended fuel. While the
optimal air/fuel mixture (also known as
stoichometric ratio) for gasoline is 14.7
parts air to one part fuel, E85 burns most
efficiently at a much richer 9.76:1 ratio
of air to fuel. That means the engine will
need a lot more fuel than if it were burning
straight gas, so besides installing a larger
fuel cell, you will have to adjust your carburetor to be able to properly deliver the
increased fuel load required.
Unfortunately, building a race-quality
E85 carburetor requires a bit more than
opening up the jets. “While running E85
versus gasoline you are going to use approximately 40 percent more fuel at wideopen throttle, and there is more that goes
into converting a carburetor to E85 than
increasing the jet size,” explains Holley’s
Laura Shehan. “In developing the calibrations for the E85 Ultra HP series, a
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 31
Making a carburetor work with E85
requires more than
simply opening up
the jets. The E85
Ultra HP carb has
a host of tweaks to
make optimal power
with good throttle
response on the
A large drain plug was
added to the bowls to
make jet changes at
the track much easier
without spilling fuel all
over the hot engine.
significant amount of time and development went into determining the correct
main-well sizes and booster configurations as well as the actual restrictor sizes
in the metering block and main body. In
addition, the emulsion stack had to be
tuned properly to the main well to lift the
fuel without separating it and causing fuel
distribution and performance issues.”
If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it
is. The Ultra HP E85 Carb may look like
one of Holley’s standard four barrel gasoline carbs on the outside, but it has been
significantly reworked to make best use of
the new fuel. What that means is racers can
bolt up an E85 carb and hit the race track
without suffering through the usual tuning
difficulties that come from switching fuels.
THE TWO BARREL CARBURETOR
is still the standard in the Mini Stock and
a few other classes. Your track may have a
variation on the name, but Mini Stock usually refers to the entry-level class requiring
rear drive cars with carbureted four cylinder engines. The class is dominated by
Mustangs powered by Ford’s 2.3 liter four
and Toyota Corollas with that automaker’s
semi-hemi four. But regardless, the carburetor is practically always some variation of
Holley’s venerable 4412 two barrel carb.
We spoke with engine builder Keith
Dorton, who has tuned more carbure32 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
In oval track racing high
g-forces can cause problems when fuel sloshes
inside the bowl. A larger
bowl with a “shelf” about
midway up keeps fuel
from sloshing on top of the
floats for more consistent
operation. Also notice the
“trough” in the bottom of
the bowl that routes fuel directly to the jets and keeps
them covered in fuel.
tors for racing than we can count, and he
mentioned that the two barrel carb always
seems to be harder to keep tuned and
operating smoothly. He thinks it may be
because the two barrel lacks the second
fuel bowl and the extra pair of squirters
and venturis to even out spikes or dips in
the fuel delivery, but he hasn’t done the
testing to determine exactly why.
Holley’s new Ultra HP 2BBL Carbs
attempt to cure all that by not only adding
the previous improvements from the Ultra
HP designs, but also by making many new
changes specifically designed to overcome
the two barrel’s unique drawbacks.
“The most unique challenge to tuning
a two barrel, specifically the 4412 HP (a
popular choice among racers and sanctioning bodies), is that this carburetor is
undersized for most of the applications it
is mandated for,” Shehan explains of the
difficulties working with the typical two
barrel carb. “So while on the typical four
barrel calibrations are for the most part
(correctly) sized for the application, the
engine will be pulling a lot harder on the
fuel circuits of the two barrel carburetor.
“This was taken into consideration
when the main well and booster configuration were developed. In addition, the
power valve selection comes into play
because of the amount of manifold vacuum that may be present when the engine
This is the billet aluminum base plate on the
four barrel. Not only is
it much stronger than
the cast piece it replaces, it also includes
an idle bypass system
for a smooth, dependable idle—even
is running at higher RPM; the power
valve can be tuned, or selected, such that
the manifold vacuum causes it to close
off and lean out the fuel mixture.”
Unlike the Ultra HP E85 Carb that
visually looks quite similar to other
4BBL carbs, this new 2BBL looks quite
different from its predecessors. That’s
mainly because all pretense at being a
street carburetor used for racing has
been dropped. The choke tower has
been completely done away with in order to improve air flow into the venturis,
and the throttle lever is a dedicated race
piece with all unnecessary street attachment points and tangs removed. Holley
even moved the air cleaner flange so
that it is now centered over the venturis
to give the carburetor every advantage
when it comes to maximizing airflow.
With the Ultra HP design platform
plus the purpose-specific upgrades
Holley’s engineers built into these two
new carburetors, both definitely hold
a ton of potential for dirt track racing.
We’ll keep an eye out for racers running these new carburetors and report
back on how well they are performing
in real-world racing. Source
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An Engineered Driveline System That Offers
Greater Durability & Reduced Rotating Weight
Bellhousing Kits For
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Quarter Master® now offers a turn-key driveline kit in either magnesium or aluminum for dirt racers running the popular Bert/Brinn
transmissions and rear-mount oil pumps. These CNC-machined,
“system engineered” kits include all the critical components required for maximum driveline durability and reduced rotating weight
to increase throttle response and improve corner braking.
Fits Bert/Brinn Two-Speed Transmissions
Kits Available For Chevy & Ford Engines
Side Or Top Mount Oil Pump Bracket/Provisions
91-Tooth Aluminum Flywheel (Steel Ring Gear)
CAD-Designed “Crack Resistant” Bellhousing
Choice Of Top Late Model & Modified Racers
• Aluminum/Magnesium Bellhousing • Reverse Mount
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These American-built, fully blueprinted gear reduction starters feature 1.4 kW of power to handle the cranking needs of
high compression race engines. Don’t cut corners with inferior
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Tech & Sales: 1.888.258.8241
Your car may run on race fuel, but we
all know your racing program runs on
money—either yours or a sponsor’s.
LET’S FACE IT, RACING IS AN EXPENSIVE SPORT. EVEN IF YOU ARE
RACING IN THE HOBBY STOCK CLASSES, THE BILLS CAN ADD UP QUICKLY.
THAT’S WHY, UNLESS you’ve already earned yourself a sizeable fortune,
securing a quality sponsor or two (or
more, if we’re honest) is nearly as important as skill behind the wheel. After
all, nobody doubts there are plenty of
super-talented drivers out there that never got the chance to win championships.
They were certainly capable but they
lacked the finances to put a competitive
race car on the track.
To that end, we hope to provide you
with some quality tips on finding—and
keeping—the sponsorship you need
to help your racing operation succeed.
And the first rule is simple: Start now.
If you wait until you need sponsorship
from a company to start building a relationship, it’s too late. Sponsorship is
all about relationships, and building relationships takes time.
The key with relationships is they are
always a two-way street. Simply expecting
a company to write you a check in return
for a decal somewhere on the car isn’t going to cut it. Even the most popular driv34 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
ers in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series make
appearances and shoot commercials to
help boost their value to sponsors. So if
they have to go to those lengths, just imagine what you will need to do.
You must also consider that even if a
company is large enough to have a marketing department, they aren’t going to spend
a lot of time thinking about your racing
program—all their energies are focused on
their products. So before you even try to
secure a meeting with a potential sponsor,
make sure you are prepared to explain to
them how you can specifically and measurably increase their business.
Securing and keeping a sponsor is a
tough business. You must over-deliver at
every opportunity, both before you get the
sponsorship and certainly after they have
agreed to support your racing efforts.
BEFORE YOU CAN properly pitch a
potential sponsor, you have to know who
they are marketing to. Generally, you can
break down their ideal market into two
areas, “the pits” and “the stands.”
Pit-area-focused marketing includes
companies whose products or services
are used by racers. This includes parts
manufacturers, tire companies, racing
fuel distributors and others. These companies don’t usually care how many fans
are in the grandstands, they just want to
know how you can get other racers to
purchase their products.
includes companies with products
that are purchased and consumed
by everybody. These include restaurants, casinos, service companies, and
companies with products that have a
wide consumer base (everything from
ice cream to dishwashing detergent).
Companies with a grandstand-focused
marketing program market to the general public and will want to know how
you will drive fans from the race track
to their business.
At first it may seem like working with a
pit-area-focused company will be the easier choice. But you have to be aware that
it does have a few very specific require-
No matter what class you race, there are ways
you can be beneficial to a potential sponsor.
ments. First of all, you have to be a good
racer. No one will want to purchase any
products you endorse if you are consistently finishing in the back of the pack. But
just as important, you have to be helpful
and actually willing to assist your competition. To be effective, you can’t just win,
you have to be willing to prove to your
competition that your sponsors played a
role in gaining that victory. A perfect example is the Rocket house car team of Josh
Richards now being driven by Rick Eckert. Although they are definitely at the race
track to win, both the drivers and their
crews are constantly approached by other
Rocket drivers at the track with questions
about setups and how to make their own
cars faster. And as far as we’ve seen, no one
approaching respectfully (when the team
isn’t thrashing on the car or about to leave
for staging) and with legitimate questions
has ever been turned away.
YOUR RACING SCHEDULE will
play a big role in the type of companies
you are most likely to be able to benefit
through sponsorship. Take, for example,
McDonald’s. McDonald’s has restaurants nationwide and will be looking to
any marketing program to be able to cast
a net as wide as possible. Meanwhile, the
owner of a muffler shop with only one
location cannot benefit from sponsoring
a racing operation that follows a touring
series that spans several states.
If you race a home track each week,
search out potential sponsors that also
market in that area. If this describes you,
the owner of a single muffler shop (or
restaurant, or carpet cleaning service,
etc.) will most likely be your ideal marketing partner. You can benefit each other the best. On the other hand, if you are
a touring operation racing at a different
track each week, the local business owner may not be as good a match for what
you can offer versus a company that is
trying to sell a product nationwide.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES of sponsor-
ship you can target. The first, and probably most common, is a product sponsorship. A product sponsorship—where the
manufacturer actually provides you with
its products versus cash—is much easier
to attain compared to a financial sponsorship. It is also the most logical place
to start when searching for sponsorship.
Your goal with this type of sponsorship
should be to over-deliver and grow it into
financial backing. If handled correctly,
most product sponsors will continue to
offer support for many years and in many
cases, your entire racing career.
$100 for a billboard on the backstretch
and be done with it.
As racer though you can offer much
more—you can build a relationship and
actively market that company to their benefit. But that requires you to make a commitment to that company. Ben Shelton
not only works as an announcer on the
World of Outlaws Late Model series, he
also works with many race teams, tracks
and even sanctioning bodies to help
match them up with potential sponsors.
“The hard part isn’t getting a sponsor, the hard part is keeping a sponsor,”
he says. “The reality is the hard part is
getting a sponsor to stick around once
you get them. Because I’ve seen so many
times that once a racer or a team gets
that money they forget about the sponsor’s needs and quit taking care of them.
One of the best ways to gain a new sponsor’s
attention is to give them a plan they’ve never
Financial sponsorship, on the other
hand, is normally extremely tough to
find and virtually impossible to secure
without some sort of existing relationship. To gain a financial sponsor you
must be innovative and able to prove to
the potential sponsor that you can bring
in a significant return on his investment.
If you can help a company make money
they will happily support your racing
program, but proving it will be tough.
IF ALL A POTENTIAL sponsor wanted was for people to see its logo at the
race track, instead of paying you to put
its logo on your hood, it could spend
That’s why I always say the real work begins once you get the sponsor.
“A lot of times you are going to want
$10,000 from them and they are only
going to give you a hundred bucks,” he
continues. “But don’t give up on them. If
you are able to make that hundred dollar
sponsor feel like a $10,000 sponsor, then
down the road they are more likely to up
their commitment to you.
“The perfect example is the COMP
Cams Super Dirt Series. When I first got
involved with it, they wanted COMP to be
involved with the series in a big time way.
But when COMP Cams first got involved
it didn’t come in with a ton of money but a
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 35
SO WHAT CAN YOU
DO TO KEEP & GROW
There are lots of things you can
do, but here are a few options:
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
and build an online fan base. Send out
regular updates—not only on race results
and where you will be racing next, but
also any promotions your sponsor may be
having. This point used to be about building
a website, but these days social media like
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest
are the heavyweights and not to be ignored.
If you have a team website, make sure you
use it to promote your sponsor as well.
GET TO KNOW & BE FRIENDS with the
track announcers and photographers. You
will need their help and all the publicity
they can offer. Always make sure the track
announcer has a one-page bio on yourself
and your sponsor listing.
ATTEND TRADE & RACING SHOWS—
both national events like PRI and
local—and make an effort to meet future
sponsors and career influencers. Never
solicit sponsorships at these events. It’s all
about forming and building relationships.
If you benefit from a product sponsorship, that means you will have to help other racers understand how that product can help them. Drivers of house cars for chassis manufacturers even
have to be willing to share setup tips with their competition.
jacket. They gave a jacket to the driver that had the most feature wins during the season. In
one pocket was $500 and in the other pocket was a $500 product certificate.
“At the time the series was called the Mid South Racing Association, and they
were kind of bummed about it. But I told them to make COMP feel like a big time
sponsor and give them a reason to stick around. You’ve got to prove yourself. And
they went above and beyond and now COMP Cams is the title sponsor of the series.
“The moral of the story is you’ve got to be in it for the long haul, and you’ve got
to grow your sponsors.”
SEND PHOTOS & REGULAR UPDATES
both to existing and potential sponsors.
Photos are always needed for marketing
and advertising materials. Highlight your
successes. Now that we live in a digital
age this is easier than ever.
MAKE YOUR CAR AVAILABLE to the
sponsor to draw fans. Maybe you can park
it in front of his facility to draw a crowd
or take it to community events. Getting
people to see that big logo on the hood
doesn’t always have to take place at the
race track. Does your community have a
local fair? Even if you have to put it on a
trailer, see if you can be a part of the local
Christmas parade. You get the idea. Of
course, this means you have to keep your
car clean and in good shape. A race car
that looks like its next lap will be to the
crusher doesn’t impress anybody.
BE APPROACHABLE & FRIENDLY.
Sometimes it’s fun to play the villain on the
race track but if other racers and fans in the
stands have the urge to spit every time they
say your name, your usefulness to existing
and potential sponsors will be severely limited. The same thing holds for your personal
life—don’t show up on the police blotter.
36 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Instead of asking for money, this team worked a deal with a restaurant, Buddy’s Point, to occasionally feed their hardworking volunteer crew a good meal.
ONE OF THE BEST ways to gain a new sponsor’s attention is to give them a plan
they’ve never heard before. Try to find ways that can benefit your racing program
while minimizing the cost to the sponsor.
For example, we know of one team that has worked out sponsorship from a nearby restaurant and entertainment venue. No money changes hands, but the restaurant
feeds the crew weekly. Since most of the race crew are volunteers, being able to treat
them to a nice meal is a great way to thank them for their hard work. The restaurant,
meanwhile, doesn’t mind feeding a few extra mouths once a week, and the race team
actually draws a crowd.
Another idea is to help show other racers how to make the most of their product. If
your sponsor manufactures a racing component, make a YouTube video showing how
that part is installed and used to its best advantage. You are racing with the part anyway,
so shooting the video can simply be added to your normal maintenance routine. More Power & Throttle Response
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38 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
IF YOU RACE IN A CLASS that has an engine claim rule,
you have to find a delicate balance between finding the best performance possible and keeping costs down so you aren’t out to
lunch in case somebody puts in a claim for your engine.
Maximizing your horsepower-per-dollar ratio is key here.
And not only must you find components that give you the most
bang for your buck in terms of producing power, but you also
need race parts that are well-made and durable because a blown
engine can be a worse drain on the bank account than a claim.
One area where you can sometimes get good performance
and durability at a discount is with your pistons. Stock or
stock-replacement pistons are usually cast slugs with full skirts
which increase parasitic drag and are often heavy and use a
pressed-in wrist pin—which also causes greater drag and can
create wear issues in high-RPM applications. On the plus side,
they are cheap.
At the other end of the spectrum is the high-performance
forged piston. Forged piston designs cover the spectrum from
mild to wild, but for racers the benefit is greater strength to be
able to withstand lots of horsepower, more modern low-friction
United Engine Machine produces cast,
hypereutectic and forged pistons through the
different brands it owns (Silvolite, KB and
Icon, respectively). One of the more interesting offerings is their KB Claimer Series
pistons which pack a lot of features into a set
of pistons that sell for around $250 a set.
Notice the small grooves just above the top ring land. These are anti-detonation grooves that
disrupt any pressure waves caused by detonation before they can reach the top ring. Between the
first and second rings is the accumulator groove which provides a zone for gasses that get past the
top ring to accumulate so they won't cause the second ring to flutter.
designs, a floating wrist pin for better durability and less parasitic drag in high-RPM applications, and machined valve pockets
with minimal wasted area to help increase compression ratio.
Of course, a high-quality set of forged pistons also comes with
a high-quality price tag and can often eat up the entire claimer
budget all by itself.
The middle ground is to go with a set of hypereutectic pistons which offer greater performance than stock but without the
cost of forged. Tech specialist Marko Glush of piston manufacturer United Engine Machine (UEM) explains that hypereutectic pistons are essentially cast pistons using a special aluminum
alloy with extra silicon. “With cast pistons the aluminum usually absorbs around 12 percent silicon and when they are hypereutectic we add a few more ingredients to help the aluminum
absorbs a higher content of silicon, usually around 16 percent,”
Glush says. “That makes it a very hard piston which reflects
heat better and controls expansion.”
Glush is an interesting resource for OneDirt and dirt track
racers in general because he essentially doesn’t have a dog in the
fight. His company, UEM, manufactures standard cast pistons
through its Silvolite brand, hypereutectic pistons through its
KB Pistons arm, and forged under its Icon line of performance
pistons. Because of this, Glush regularly works with racers and
engine builders to spec out the right pistons for their needs.
Even though hypereutectic pistons have gotten a bit of a bad
rap in racing circles, Glush says that he has seen many engine
builders have great success with them. The problem arises, he
says, when engine builders treat a set of hypereutectic pistons the
same as forged. Because of the difference in material, hypereutectic pistons require a few special steps when building the engine.
“With a hypereutectic piston, they will last a tremendous
amount of time if you are good to them,” he says. “They are not
flexible like a forged piston, so if you make them flex by allowing
With a hypereutectic piston, they
will last a tremendous amount of
time if you are good to them.
– Marko Glush
United Engine Machine
the engine to go into detonation, they can crack. But if you’re
good on your tune-up they can do a great job in a race engine
and last a long time.
“One of the characteristics of the hypereutectic aluminum is
that it reflects heat better than a forged piston will. A hypereutectic piston will run cooler than a forged piston because it reflects
heat back into the chamber. It also moves a lot of heat into the
cylinder bore through the top ring, so it requires a larger ring
gap than a forged piston does. If you treat a hypereutectic piston
like you would a forged piston and run the standard 0.020 of an
inch ring gap on a four inch bore, that can cause you problems.
In a race you are really loading the engine, and when all that heat
gets into the top ring with the smaller end gap, the ends can butt.
That is when you wind up breaking the top ring lands off.
“Hypereutectic pistons have a bad reputation with some
people for breaking the ring lands, but really it is a preparation
issue. With a hypereutectic piston you need to run the gap on
that top ring quite a bit bigger, usually between 0.028 and 0.032
on a four-inch piston.”
A hypereutectic piston also requires special consideration
when machining the engine block. Because the hypereutectic aluminum has a lower expansion rate than the material used in forged
aluminum pistons, the clearance between the piston and the cylinder bore should be reduced. Glush usually recommends a bore
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 39
Another nice feature for such inexpensive
pistons is an anti-friction coating on the skirts
that helps protect the cylinder bores on startup
or if the oil pressure dips.
A slipper skirt design helps cut parasitic friction
loss by cutting away the skirt from the sides
where it isn’t as useful. The slipper skirt also allows the pin bores to be moved inboard so that
lighter weight 2.5-inch wrist pins can be used.
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clearance between 0.0025 and 0.0035 of
an inch for hypereutectic pistons in a dirt
track racing application compared to the
standard 0.0035 to 0.0065 of an inch of
clearance for forged pistons.
Running a bore clearance that tight
can make some old-school engine builders nervous, but it really isn’t as much of
an issue with hypereutectic pistons. First,
as we’ve already mentioned, they simply
do not expand as much as a typical forged
piston. Plus, the material is extremely hard
and doesn’t tend to gall against the cylinder bore like a softer forged piston will.
Still, there are applications where a
forged piston is better suited than a hypereutectic. The general consensus is
that a forged piston should be used in
any engine producing 550 horsepower or more or whenever the rpm level
exceeds 7,500. “The reason why is the
higher-revving race engine is more likely
to have a valvetrain failure,” Glush says.
“If something goes wrong, say you break
a valve spring, and a valve hits the top of
the piston, the forged piston is more ductile and more likely to be able to take the
impact without coming apart. The cast
or hypereutectic piston, when they experience something like that they are more
likely to break apart. So for motors that
are going to see a lot of RPM, the forged
piston is probably the better option.”
But in the right application, Glush says
a quality hypereutectic piston isn’t only
a good value up front (typically cheaper
than a mid-priced set of forged pistons
by $150 or more) but they are also quite
durable. “When you do your teardown at
the end of the season, do a quick check of
the pistons,” he adds. “If the pin bores are
This is UEM’s Icon FHR piston. FHR stands for
“formed head relief” which means the valve
pockets are pressed during the forging process
and not cut after the fact. This is one of the reasons UEM is able to offer these forged pistons
for less than $400 (street price) which is significantly less than most forged piston options.
in good shape and aren’t starting to gall
up, and the skirts measure to their spec,
then you can probably go four seasons
with them. The main thing is don’t let the
engine go lean or get into detonation.”
Most teams racing in claimer classes
don’t have the luxury of a dedicated engine tuner, so to avoid detonation issues
shortening the life of your race engine,
you may want to consider backing off on
your timing a couple degrees. No, your
engine won’t be running on the ragged
edge, but it will still make very close to
its maximum horsepower and you will
have a race engine that’s affordable and
dependable for seasons at a time.
So if you are racing in a class with an
engine-claim rule and can’t work a setforged pistons into the budget, there
definitely is a better option for you than
cast stock replacement pistons. Source
United Engine Machine
TCI® TORQUE CONVERTERS DELIVER WINNING
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FastLap Circle Track Torque Converters
Looks aren’t everything…but with regards to torque converters, they can hide the secret to winning races. For sanctioning
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requirements while delivering a distinct performance advantage. TCI® Circle Track Torque Converters are specially designed with a lower “positive lock-up” stall speed, eliminating
approximately 10% of the power robbing slippage found in
OEM and lesser quality converters. On the track, this results
in huge off-the-corner acceleration improvements and the ultimate in “green ﬂag” starting speed.
Built with a heavy-duty stator, furnace-brazed ﬁns and precision-certiﬁed stall speed to maximize efﬁciency, these stock
appearing converters usually reduce lap times by one to twotenths of a second. In addition, these converters feature reduced rotational weight to improve engine braking in corners
and lower transmission operating temperatures.
• Satisfy requirements of “stock appearing” converter
• Only 4 Fins Hastily Tack Weld- • All Fins 100% Furnace-Brazed
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• Designed with positive lock-up stall speed to eliminate
approximately 10% of power robbing slippage
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ings For Increased Durability
• Feature heavy-duty stator, furnace-brazed fins and precision-certified stall speed
• Unmachined Bearing Surfaces • Fully Machined Bearing SurCause Unneccesary Loading
faces Ensure Trueness
• Can reduce lap times by up to two-tenths of a second
• Improperly Balanced
• Reduced rotational weight improves engine braking in
corners to lower transmission operating temperatures
Flexplate Safety Shields
Flexplate Safety Shields are mandatory in many classes to protect
both drivers and spectators from ﬂexplate or starter ring gear failure.
All TCI® Flexplate Shields are manufactured from high-strength steel,
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• Every Unit Digitally Balanced
TCI® stamped ﬂexplates are .035" thicker than stock, and the starter
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42 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
DO YOU HAVE
JUST USING THE MINIMUM
SAFETY EQUIPMENT TO GET YOU ON
THE TRACK MAY NOT PROVIDE THE
PROTECTION YOU EXPECT IN THE
EVENT OF A WRECK OR FIRE
IN THE LAST DECADE there has been an increased emphasis
Photo by Rick Schwallie
on driver safety in the big league racing series’ of NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One and the NHRA. And thankfully, much of that new
awareness has also trickled down to the Saturday night dirt track
No, we aren’t seeing custom-fitted carbon fiber seats and $3,000
carbon fiber helmets in the Street Stock classes too often, but we are
definitely seeing an increased use of quality safety gear, head-andneck restraints, and higher-quality racing seats practically everywhere we go. And that is much more important than the lightweight
carbon fiber seat.
But the trap with the personal protective safety equipment is that
it can be tempting to simply turn your gear into a checklist. Helmet?
Check. Driver’s suit? Check. Gloves? Check. You get the idea.
Quite often, that checklist mentality for most of us simply comes
from reading the rulebook. The thinking goes, if the rulebook says
you have to have at least a single layer suit to race, well then by
gosh, that’s what I’m going to buy. If that’s what the rulebook requires, then it must be good enough to protect me. And besides, the
multi-layer fire suit is more expensive, and I can spend that extra
money on tires!
So you buy one of everything the rulebook requires you to have,
check them off your list and go to the race track thinking you are all
set. But the truth of the matter is the rulebook sets a minimum standard, and every racer should be aware of just how much safety they
are getting with their hard-earned dollar.
To help you determine what safety gear is best for your needs,
we’ve put together a few tips with the help of safety products manufacturer RaceQuip on the major areas where personal safety equipment is concerned. We aren’t necessarily saying you have to go out
and purchase the most expensive of everything—in fact, some companies like RaceQuip specialize in providing Saturday night racers
top-level safety gear at very reasonable prices—but you should be
aware that not all personal safety equipment is created the same.
We’re all racing on a budget, so here’s how to get the best bang for
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 43
THE DRIVER’S SUIT, or fire suit, is probably
the single biggest area where racers will try to
get by with less than they truly need. In the
spring and summer it can get awfully hot, so
we understand the desire to use the lightest
weight suit possible. Plus, often the only requirement in the rulebook is that the fire suit
be SFI certified.
A current SFI certification is critical for any driver’s suit, but that isn’t a
one-size-fits-all stamp of approval. The
SFI designation for a driver’s auto racing suit is 3.2A, but there are additional levels for that designation. For example, an SFI
3.2A/1 suit is a single layer suit that is rated
for protection against second degree burns
in a gasoline-fueled fire for three seconds.
That definitely isn’t very long, but it is better
than nothing. An SFI 3.2A/5 rated suit is a
multi-layer suit capable of preventing second
degree burns in that same fire for at least ten
seconds. There isn’t a set number of layers for
a 3.2A/5 suit, and sometimes manufacturers
can achieve this level of protection with
one or two layers but it requires space-age
(read, expensive) materials.
If you think the difference between three and
ten seconds isn’t very much, do a quick test. With your helmet
on, buckle yourself into your race car and then have someone
time you as you try to get out and see just how many seconds
you need. Now imagine the car is on fire, and try it again.
The major difference between suits costing $100 and those
costing $1,000 are the materials used and the number of layers
the suit is made from. The two main materials used to build
racing suits are Fire Retardant Cotton (FRC) and Nomex. FRC
can go by many trade names, like Banox, Proban, Pyrovatex,
and others. All of these FRC products are created by treating
the cotton fibers at the molecular level to be fire retardant. Nomex, on the other hand, is an inherently fire retardant, manmade fiber that can be woven into cloth.
Since an FRC suit and a Nomex suit will carry the same SFI
rating, you can make an apples-to-apples comparison. Typically a Nomex suit will be built with a lighter-weight fabric than a
comparable FRC suit. However, since cotton is a natural fiber,
it is hypoallergenic and also wicks away moisture so it provides
added comfort. The biggest difference between the two fabric
choices is cost—a Nomex suit at the same SFI-rated protection level will cost you around twice as much as an FRC suit.
Regardless of which type of suit you buy, the experts always
recommend a multi-layer SFI-5 suit for oval track racing—even
if your series, sanction or track will allow you to wear an SFI-1
single layer suit.
YOUR HELMET, like the driver’s suit, should also meet a minimum safety criteria. Every quality auto racing helmet has an
“SA” certification which comes from the Snell Foundation. You
will find the certification printed on a sticker underneath the
liner of the helmet. The SA testing specifications are updated
every five years, and the current certification is SA2010.
Even if your track allows you to race with a Snell “M” rated
motorcycle helmet you absolutely should use a full face helmet
with a Snell “SA” rating. A motorcycle helmet does not provide
the same level of protection as an SA helmet.
44 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
The Snell foundation updates its SA requirements for helmets every five
years. So even though this new SportMod helmet from RaceQuip retails
for less than $200, because it is SA2010 compliant, you can be confident
that it offers better protection than an SA2005 helmet that sold for several hundred dollars when new.
Just think about the differences crashing a motorcycle versus
crashing a race car—namely sliding down the road vs. multiple
hard impacts against a roll cage. A motorcycle helmet is designed
to meet a different set of criteria and does not have to meet the same
level of protection when it comes to being flame retardant and
strong enough to protect your head after multiple impacts against
a roll bar. It’s also important to note that an M rated helmet will
not have TearOff posts or provisions for a head-and-neck restraint.
Also, if you are currently racing with an SA2005 or older helmet, we strongly urge you to consider upgrading to an SA2010
model. First, your helmet is at least eight years old, the liner is
starting to break down, and the shell may be fatigued. And second, the Snell Foundation seriously upgraded the requirements
with the 2010 testing specification, so all SA2010-spec helmets
will provide a much greater level of protection than older models.
When shopping, be careful not get too fixated on the weight
of the helmet. While lighter weight means less strain on your
neck in longer races, it also means more expensive construction.
All Snell SA2010 helmets have to pass the same tests, regardless of overall weight or shell materials used. In other words, a
fiberglass helmet offers the same level of impact protection as a
carbon fiber helmet.
HEAD-AND-NECK RESTRAINTS still aren’t mandatory at
some tracks, but given what we know now, no one should even
consider racing without one. Even Hobby Stock cars attain
enough speed to cause serious neck and back trauma or death if
you hit the wall at the right angle.
Currently, there are four head-and-neck restraint systems
that have passed the rigorous testing and received the SFI
38.1 designation. They are the HANS and Hybrid (both
owned by Simpson), NecksGen Rev and the new kid on the
block, the Leatt MRX.
All four systems use the same basic layout to keep the head
from moving too far forward in a frontal impact, but each has
its own features and design. If you possibly can, try on different
models on to see which you are most comfortable with. It really
doesn’t matter which style you choose, as long as you get one
and wear it every time you get in a race car.
DRIVER’S GLOVES AND SHOES have the same ratings
WITHOUT A GOOD SET OF BELTS even the very best racing seat is practically useless. We once had a conversation with
Brian Butler, owner of premier racing seat manufacturer ButlerBuilt, about racing safety and were surprised that he spent as
much time talking about belts as he did racing seat design.
It is the belt system that holds you in place so that your racing
seat can keep you cocooned and protected within its confines.
Unlike every other piece of safety equipment mentioned
so far, the belts are unique because they stay in the car after
you get out. That means they are subjected to an extra level
of wear the rest of your protective safety gear is not. When
you wash the car they get wet, and when your car is sitting
in the sun they are exposed to damaging UV rays while your
driver’s suit and helmet are safely tucked away inside the
hauler. That exposure to the elements will cause the materials to break down faster.
As a result, your seatbelts must be changed regularly. SFI
recommends replacing racing seat belts every two years. The
science behind this is based on the tremendous drop in tensile
strength of both nylon and polyester webbing after 24 months
of exposure to UV rays.
Wait, you keep your car in the shop so they should last longer, right? Well, your shop lights also put out UV rays, so just
plan to replace them every two years or any time your car has
to be brought off the track on a wrecker. If you hit the wall hard
enough to have to be towed in, you probably stretched the belt
webbing and/or bent the harness hardware. Racing seat belts
are consumable, they only stretch one time. Once they have
done their job they need to be discarded.
When we spoke to Patrick Utt, RaceQuip’s President, he
summed up grassroots racing safety this way: “If I made the
rules for oval track racing, every racer would be required to
wear an SFI-5 multi-layer suit, SFI-5 gloves, SFI-3.3 shoes,
an SFI 38.1 head-and-neck restraint system, and a Snell
Head-and-neck restraint systems are a vital part of the safety equation,
and manufacturers are working to make adding them as comfortable
as possible. For example, this belt system from RaceQuip is fully SFI
compliant and has narrower two-inch wide shoulder belts for less
binding—and thus, better protection—when combined with a head and
Breaking Strength Retained, %
as fire suits when it comes to protection from heat and flame.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can get by with wearing
tennis shoes and no gloves at all, even if your track doesn’t
check. After all, how good are you going to be at getting out
of a burning car if you can’t unbuckle your harness because
your fingers are too badly burned? SFI-rated fire retardant
gloves are typically made using Nomex backing and a leather
palm. Lately, more racers report that they prefer the feel of
soft suede on the palm of their racing gloves. They say that
it improves their grip on the wheel. Racing gloves are easy to
get used to, and before long you will wonder how you ever
raced without them.
Likewise, a good pair of racing shoes is also an important
piece of safety equipment. Aside from the safety aspect, a racing
shoe is designed to work within the narrow confines of a race
car’s foot box, typically on very small pedals.
When they do happen, most fires originate in the engine
compartment from spilled fuel, and your feet are the part of
your body closest to that point of origin. They are also the
last part to get out of the car when you are diving out of the
window to get away from a car fire. That image alone should
be enough to get you to consider a quality pair of fire retardant racing shoes.
NYLON 6.6 WEBBING –OUTDOOR EXPOSURE
Exposure Period, Months
This chart explains why you need to replace your seat belts every two
years. As the nylon webbing is exposed to UV rays, the belt’s strength is
drastically reduced over time. Only 12 months of UV exposure it has just
50 percent of the breaking strength it did when new.
SA2010 auto racing helmet as the minimum standard—regardless of the class you race in.” That’s pretty good advice
in our book. Following that advice may cost you a bit more
up front, but there are safety companies like RaceQuip that
specialize in providing top-level gear at a reasonable cost.
And if it can keep you out of the hospital after a crash, then
we all know it’s money well spent. Sources
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 45
MOMENTS IN TIME THAT WE BELIEVE CAPTURE
THE TRUE ESSENCE OF DIRT TRACK RACING.
46 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
THE ADVANCED ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
CONFERENCE CELEBRATES ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY
BY HELPING YOU GO FASTER
Advanced Engineering Technology Conference
AETC IS THE LEADING
EVENT OF ENGINE
IN THE HORSEPOWER
48 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
EVERY YEAR THE Advanced Engineering Technology Conference (AETC) draws
the best and brightest minds when it comes to making horsepower and building
engines capable of winning races—and lots of ‘em.
There’s no doubt the AETC is a big deal among engine builders every year, but
this year it’s definitely going to be something special. The 2014 edition of the AETC
will be the 25th anniversary of the conference, and we hear that planners are working
to make it one of the best yet.
Each year the AETC lines up several speakers that are the leaders in their
respective area of expertise. For example, last year engine builder Lee Carducci
of Arrow Racing Engines spoke on the secrets he found to help make power
when using stock components in race engines. Chris Paulsen of C&R Racing
revealed what he’s learned about how racers can use pressurized cooling systems
to increase engine performance. And Keith Jones of Total Seal presented the
company’s latest findings on how to improve cylinder sealing for better engine
efficiency. And that's just three of the nearly 20 topics of discussion.
2014 AETC PREVIEW
The benefit of getting a vast amount of knowledge in a
few days is great. Most of the presentations aren’t about
motorcycles specifically, but there are things we can apply
to do performance work.
– Greg Rodriguez
The 2014 lineup of speakers was still being finalized as this went to press, but it
already includes several great speakers who plan to present on some very interesting
topics. Fred Husher of Crane Ignition will offer ways not only to improve ignition
timing accuracy but also how to diagnose your own ignition’s weaknesses. Chris
Brown of ARP Fasteners will explain how to choose the right fasteners to match
both power and durability.
Joe Rogers of Xceldyne Technologies has chosen to share what the company has
discovered when it comes to recently developed coating technologies to benefit the
valve train as well as the rest of the engine. Loannis Andrianakis of Plex Tuning will
lead a presentation on how to better understand the process of combustion in order
to win “the battle against knock.” And Arrow Racing Engines will be back, this time
with Bill Hancock, to lead the presentation we’re most looking forward to. Its working title is “An Engineering Guide to Creative Rules Interpretation,” and we can’t
wait to hear his stories on how to outwit the rulebook writers.
Free stuff you say? Besides lining up great speakers, the AETC has also lined up
sponsoring companies that will be giving away an incredible 30 grand in giveaways
to attendees. With that much being given away in product and gift certificates, every
attendee is practically guaranteed to win something at least once.
When is it? As usual, the AETC will be held directly before the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in the Indianapolis Convention Center, but instead of
the three-day schedule that’s been the norm for the last several years, this time around
the conference will be packed into two days to minimize downtime and lodging costs
for attendees. The 2014 AETC will be December 9th and 10th, and all attendees will
also receive passes to the PRI show (also in the same location) December 11-13. For
more information you can visit the AETC website at www.AETCOnline.com. The AETC is popular among engine builders and racers besides simply sitting and listening to presentations, priority is also given to allowing plenty of time for attendees to ask questions.
Photo by Rick Schwallie
Earl Pearson, Jr. with son Trey Pearson share a moment on Feb. 7 at the
Golden Isle Speedway for the Georgia Boot Super Bowl of Racing.
WE ALL LIVE LIVES that are filled
By Ben Shelton
When the chips
that we are
all just family
50 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
with uncertainty. Most of us spend much
of our time trying to find the best possible path that we think will get us where
we want to be.
In our personal lives, in our professional lives, and in the faith-based sector
of our lives, it’s a constant battle to try
and look over the next hill to see what
waits for us. Sometimes what waits is
exactly what we hoped would be there,
while other times our worst possible
fears eagerly anticipate our arrival. All
that we can do is hope for the best and
keep moving forward.
While there are infinite unknowns
in our time on this planet, there is one
thing that is undeniable, and that is the
fact that one day our time on this spinning rock will come to an end. We have
no way of ever knowing when that time
will be. It could be today, tomorrow, or
80 years from now. We live the best that
we can, knowing that this fate ultimately
awaits us all. I think most of us put it out
of sight and out of mind and just assume
that when the time comes we will be prepared to deal not only with our own end
of days but also that of our loved ones.
The reality though, as I’ve experienced
a few times already in my young life, is
that you never can be truly prepared to
lose a loved one. It’s incredibly hard,
but the support from your family and
friends can make all the difference when
it comes to enduring the pain.
Already this year I’ve observed from
afar as our racing world has suffered
two tragic losses. 15-year-old Niokoa
Johnson from Florida lost her life from
injuries sustained in a racing accident in
her first time ever in a racecar at Ocala,
Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park on Saturday, March 22nd, while 36-year-old
devoted race fan Thomas Childress Jr.
from Delta, Ohio, passed away unexpectedly that Saturday as well.
The use of social media and internet
forums in regards to the racing world
can at times be total hell on earth with
relentless bickering, finger pointing, etc.
However, it seems like when the going
gets really tough people put their petty
issues aside and support those who
need it the most, when they need it the
most. This has definitely been the case
that I’ve seen over the past weeks as I’ve
watched my brethren from the racing
community band together to help their
friends in dark times.
I never met Niokoa and to my best
knowledge I never had the privilege
of meeting Thomas, but I knew many
of their friends and families through
racing, and because of this my heart has
absolutely been hurting for everyone
affected by these untimely passings.
Thomas was a proud member of the
Turn 3 Gang (T3G), which is an avid
group of race fans from the Ohio area,
and he was paid homage to pretty much
the entire week after his passing by his
non-biological brethren. I kept tabs on
Dan Rice, who was one of Thomas’ best
friends, throughout the week, and I was
more than touched to see how the guys
who might seem rough on the exterior
were pouring their hearts and souls out
in public as they mourned the painful
loss of their brother. I’ve only talked to
Dan a handful of times, but again, despite
his rugged exterior, he has a huge heart
with a giant passion for racing and time
spent with his friends. I consider him
part of my racing family for sure, and my
heart aches for the loss that he and his
friends are being forced to endure.
Similarly, friends immediately began
an outpouring of support for Niokoa’s
family in the form of moral support, as
well as charities. It’s hard to lose a loved
one at any point, but to see a 15-yearold young lady pass away is a loss that is
just unimaginable to have to bear.
Viewing all of these happenings
made some of my own feelings and
thoughts come rushing back to me from
my own recent loss. Three years ago
my mom passed away unexpectedly
in her sleep. I don’t come from a big
family. Just an aunt, an uncle, and my
grandmother. I always thought I had no
brothers and sisters until this tragedy
Niokoa Johnson always wanted to get to race
more than anything else.
Thomas Childress, Jr. was a proud member of
the Turn 3 Gang.
Photo by Rick Schwallie
Darrell Lanigan and “crew” in Victory Lane at the Florence Speedway in Kentucky.
befell me. I quickly learned my assumption was wrong.
In the blink of an eye, my friends
from the racing world embraced me and
surrounded me with love and support,
and I quickly learned just how big my
family truly is. That allowed me to work
through the pain and keep moving
forward. Many of these people had
never met my mom, but it didn’t matter.
All that they knew was that a member
of their racing family was hurting and
in need, and they came forward to
make sure that those needs were met.
I can honestly say each and every one
of those people hold a special place in
my heart and always will. One day they
too will unfortunately endure that same
situation, and I can promise that I’ll be
there for them.
We all use the term “racing family”
from time to time, but I’m not sure that
any of us really appreciate just what it
means until we encounter tragedies like
this. The racing family is a passionate
and feisty bunch, and for the most part
we don’t pull any punches. When we
disagree with someone we make sure
they know, and sometimes we let our
emotions get the best of us as we say
and do things we shouldn’t in the heat
of the moment. However, for all of the
forgettable moments that we experience together there are so many more
times that together we are one amazing
group. Love, support, and caring –
there’s no shortage of these characteristics in this family. We take care of our
own. It doesn’t matter if the guy or lady
you sit next to at the track every week
is your blood relative or not, because
at the end of the day we are all truly
brothers and sisters.
I dedicate this article to the memory of Niokoa Johnson and Thomas
Childress Jr., as well as the friends and
families who are going through these
terrible losses. I know there’s not much
that anyone can say or do to completely
erase the pain. But, hopefully there’s
comfort in knowing that while we may
not see these two beautiful people with
us at the race track anymore, there is no
doubt in my mind that they will still be
present each and every night. Be safe
my friends. Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 51
OneDirt has compiled a list of some of the hottest products to hit the dirt track market recently. On the following pages of our Speed Shop, be sure to check out the
variety of racing products offered. Product and company contact information is provided should you see something you wish to purchase – and we know you will!
Less Is Actually More
COMP Cams, Conical Valve Springs
Looking for a revolutionary advancement in high performance
valve spring technology? If the answer is yes, then you'll be happy
to learn that COMP Cams now offers a new line of conical valve
springs to meet all of your race application needs. The focus of
this new product is the ability to provide longer spring life, which
in turn leads to the ability to run more aggressive camshafts.
Obviously the more aggressive the camshaft design the better the
performance, which is something that every racer desires. Even
better, the new design of the valve springs includes a reduced
mass, which translates into an increased lifespan for all valve train
components. You can grab the popular COMP Cams Conical Valve
Springs individually or in sets of 16.
PROGRESSIVE FREQUENCY increases RPM limit & creates ability
to run more aggressive camshafts
CONSTANTLY DECREASING DIAMETER from bottom to top
reduces active mass and decreases applied forces—result is longer
valve train component life and less parasitic HP loss
BEST NATURAL FREQUENCY damping setup—dampens without
wear, heat/friction or risk from interference contact
52 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
COMPLETE VALVE SPRING KITS ALSO AVAILABLE
Include: Conical Valve Springs, Steel or Tool
Steel Retainers, 7º Steel Valve Locks, Valve
Seals, Spring Seats
Two Barrels That
Think They Are Four
Holley, Ultra HP 2BBL Carburetor
Close your eyes and imagine experiencing the power of a four barrel
carburetor from just a two barrel. That’s a pretty trick thought. The
folks at Holley have raided our dreams and made our fantasies a
reality with their Ultra HP 2BBL Carburetor. With almost 50% weight
savings due to an aluminum build, the Ultra HP 2BBL Carb delivers
proven results of the Ultra HP HBBL but now in a 500CFM 2BBL.
NASCAR has already jumped on board to approve the product for
use in some of their divisions with more sanctions expected to join
the party soon. With more power, while simultaneously meeting rule
requirements, the Ultra HP 2BBL provides two barrels of fun.
Intercomp, Pull Bar
You can have the best equipment in
the world, but if you can’t get your
chassis dialed into a well-handling
setup you will never visit Victory Lane.
Intercomp is lending us a helping hand
in the setup world with their latest
innovation, the Pull Bar Adapter Kit.
Offering the ability to accommodate
various suspension links and travel
lengths, this new kit allows racers
to test the resistence and travel of
their pull bar setup. Flexibility and
the ability to adjust on the fly are
priceless in the world of motorsports,
and this technology goes a long way
to maximize your options.
Ring Filing &
Total Seal, Power Ring Filer
In a sport where winning and losing is separated by thousandths
of an inch, it only makes sense that the tools that fine tune your
engine’s components be precise. With this in mind, Total Seal brings
their new Power Ring Filer to the party. Not all of us are experts
when it comes to operating machines, but this tool makes life easy
and produces a highly-accurate finished product. Operating at 3,000
RPM and including a grinding wheel, deburring wheel and a diamond wheel dresser, the Total Seal Power Ring Filer is a must-have
addition to the shop for anyone that builds engines.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 53
Speed SHOP PARTS / TOOLS / ACCESSORIES
Torture The Competition
(Not Your Wallet)
Lunati, Voodoo Crankshafts
Not only does the very name strike apprehension and fear, but the
performance of the Voodoo Crankshafts from Lunati will force competitors to take notice. Long known for their durability and strength in
high-performance applications, Voodoo Crankshafts are back again to
set the track ablaze with a new design. Strategic lightening, dynamic
balancing and windage profiling to increase horsepower all culminate into a crankshaft that separates the men from the boys. Voodoo
Crankshafts are available for both Chevy and Ford Small Blocks. It’s
not “black magic” or “witchcraft,” rather the secret formula is better
material, better design and better craftsmanship.
Pace Performance, Accelerator 1
Angled Carb Spacer
It’s a terrible, terrible feeling. You absolutely drive away from the
competition down the front stretch, but as you exit the corner you can
begin to feel the engine stumble. If this is a problem that plagues your
team, Pace Performance is now standing in your corner with their new
Accelerator 1 Angled Carb Spacer. This product keeps the carburetor level as the car is rocked over to the side in the corner. The end
result is a proper float angle/level, which allows for quicker throttle
response. Fastrak and NeSmith have already approved the design in
their crate engines, and it conforms to IMCA Modified and Late Model
rules. Most importantly, you don’t have to watch your advantage get
erased in every corner by a stumbling engine.
54 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Come Clean, Quickly
Jiffy-Tite, Carburetor Kits
It’s race night, and shortly after practice, to your dismay, you
discover that you’ve got terminal carburetor issues. You have
limited time to change the carburetor, and you need all the
help you can get to complete this difficult process. Jiffy-Tite
Motorsports introduces their Jiffy-Tite Carburetor Kits to save
the day. Not only do these kits allow for a quick change, but
they’re also virtually drip proof. Anybody that’s been covered in
fuel when changing a carburetor can appreciate this priceless
feature. Compatibility is no issue either as this unique design
works with most of the popular high-performance carburetor
applications available on the market today.
RaceQuip, SportMod Helmet
Racers cut corners in a lot of areas in their racing program, but one
place you can’t afford to take a shortcut is in the safety department. RaceQuip has long provided top-notch safety equipment at
an affordable price, and they are back with their SportMod helmet.
Exceeding Snell SA2010 testing and certification requirements, this
is the perfect product to protect your noggin while you are unleashing
your inner speed demon on the track. The SportMod offers both safety
and functionality for the racer. HNR/HANS anchors make installation
a snap, and sizes are offered in XS–2XL in gloss white and flat black.
And please remember…while you might be able to risk running that
set of tires a little too long, a compromise in the safety department
just doesn’t add up.
call for Details
Winning RaceRs DemanD aDvanceD
Technology. They geT iT fRom comP cams ®.
Whether they’re competing in the top levels of dirt racing, or on local tracks across the nation, champions know to trust COMP
Cams®. COMP® has nearly limitless camshaft options available. From off-the-shelf options to application-specific custom grinds,
each cam is designed and built by the industry’s largest team of engineers – then tested and retested on the dyno and at the track.
Every part is backed by a knowledgeable technical support staff.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional racer or a weekend warrior, choose COMP Cams® for the most power when you need an edge
on the competition. Don’t believe us? Ask a champion racer – COMP Cams® has powered more of them than any other cam company.
CAM HELP ® 1.800.999.0853
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 55
Speed SHOP PARTS / TOOLS / ACCESSORIES
Pedal Pushing Performance
AFCO, Brake Pedal Assemblies
Even though nothing feels better than pushing the gas pedal all
the way to the floor, sometimes we have to pump the brakes to
avoid the other guy. With this in mind, AFCO brings us cutting-edge
technology in the brake system market with their latest innovations.
From forward and reverse mount master cylinder positioning to an
aluminum H-beam design, AFCO has it all with their latest product
that targets the brake needs of the circle track racing market. None
of us want to have to consider slowing down, but sometimes it
happens. It’s nice to know that with this new product from AFCO we
can at least make it happen our way.
Driven Racing Oil,
SHX Shock Fluid
Don’t Have To Suck
ARP, Driveline Fasteners
The performance of your transmission is only as good as the stability of its installation, and we all know that securing the driveline
into your race car can be anything but easy. Luckily for us, ARP
has developed a set of studs that includes a special rounded “nut
starter” nose that guides the transmission into place, while also
aligning the input shaft with the clutch disc hub. Best of all, this
configuration works on pretty much any GM car through the 1980s.
If you aren’t a GM lover, and you need help with your mountings,
fear not. They’ve also developed case bolts for Muncie 4-speeds as
well as bellhousing bolt kits for post 1961 Mopar Big Blocks plus
1965 and later Ford Small Blocks. These innovations from ARP give
us one less piece of installation stress.
56 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Shocks aren’t cheap. Of
course, this isn’t anything
that you didn’t already know.
As a result, it’s more important than ever to use products
that not only maximize shock
performance, but also provide
unwavering consistency. The
new SHX Shock Fluid from
Driven Racing Oil achieves
this very goal via the use of
next generation synthetic oil
technology. The end result is
consistent, fade-free shock
performance. As you hammer
through the corners on your
favorite race track, your
faithful shocks cushion the
blow and keep you glued to the track. Viscosity loss is the
enemy and SHX Shock Fluid has been proven to show no
loss under grueling conditions. It’s likely time to give your
shocks a much needed drink of SHX Shock Fluid.
Big Time Tech Goes Local
Roush Yates Racing, RY45 Aluminum Block
You’ve seen products from Roush Yates Racing fill Victory Lanes
across the world as you watched along on television. Many of us have
wondered what it’s like to run their championship products in our race
cars. Wonder no more. Roush Yates Racing is introducing their all aluminum RY45 engine block to the grassroots market as it looks to take
the dirt track world by storm. With this product, NASCAR knowledge
meets the local track. The revolutionary, purpose-built blocks target
the Dirt Late Model and market with state-of-the-art technology, as
well as the top-notch quality that Roush Yates Racing has built its
reputation upon for decades.
Solid Lift, Small Price
Sportsman Solid Roller Lifters
You want your race car to perform at its peak, but at the same time
you don’t want to break the bank in reaching your top-speed goals.
With this in mind, COMP Cams presents the Sportsman Solid Roller
Lifters, where winning meets affordability. The great thing about this
premium product is that it offers both a bronze bushing roller bearing
option as well as a value alternative over pricier options. The pursuit
of compatibility seems like a never-ending battle for most racers,
but with this product there are several options to meet your exact
needs. A more reliable oil feed combined with decreased weight and
increased strength makes this product a no-brainer addition.
Put More Power To The Track
With Less Maintenance
Brinn, Predator Transmission
You’re coming side by side through the turn. You nose ahead and
know you can get clear down the straightaway. But you’ve got to be
able to put your engine’s power down. Brinn has you covered with
their Predator transmission, which incorporates a lightweight design
with low inertia to transfer every single ounce of horsepower to
your rear wheels. The design that couples input and output shafts
together and ignores all other internal features to allow you to
enjoy true power. Best of all, if you don’t like having to do constant
maintenance, Brinn has got you covered on this design with minimal
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 57
Speed SHOP PARTS / TOOLS / ACCESSORIES
Less Pressure, More Potential
JRi Shocks, SL/14 Modified Shocks
It’s no big secret that racing technology is an ever-evolving field, and the folks at JRi are doing their part to
lead the developmental charge with the new JRi SL/14 Modified Shocks. With this latest product, JRi is
focusing on reduced gas pressure within the shock itself, as well as adding even more functionality, while
also ensuring the proper range of ride height with an improved coil-over kit. Lower internal pressures result
in better performance and less fatigue on the equipment. The ability to quickly adjust ride heights and bump
stops only makes your life easier as you make adjustments on the fly during the course of a race night. With
these advancements from JRi your chances at Victory Lane continue to grow.
10.4” Street Stock Clutches
Not all of us compete in racing divisions where the rules have
allowances for countless variations in every aspect of our powertrain.
Sometimes there are specific requirements that must be met. With
this in mind, Quarter Master now offers the 10.4” Street Stock Clutches, which are designed for circle track applications that require stocktype components. Knowing that the weekend warrior has to both be
legal and competitive, this product offers the maximum performance
advantage. Equally important for the budget racer, dependability and
longevity are also built into the design. Keeping the tech man happy
is important, but let’s be honest, so is winning. Meet both needs with
the Quarter Master 10.4” Street Stock Clutch.
Weight of the World
Ferrea, Titanium Hollow Stem Valves
Weight is the name of the game in the racing world. The lighter the
better, and Ferrea is doing their part to slim us all down with the
Titanium Hollow Stem Valves. Utilizing a newly developed manufacturing process Ferrea now provides us with valve stems that are
gun-drilled and micro-polished. While you might not understand the
fabrication process, there is no denying the end result. Stronger and
lighter is what every power enthusiast wants to hear. Best of all, this
ground-breaking product can be custom manufactured to individual
specifications with the fastest turnaround times in the industry.
58 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Small Block Chevy
RHS, 23°Aluminum Intake Manifold
Pumping out power and producing strong torque curves are ways of
life for the RHS 23°Aluminum Intake Manifolds. As if these traits
weren’t enough, it’s the only manifold designed to make your life
easier with a 4150 flange and bolt machining to fit all versions of SBC
heads. It’s no secret that when it comes to circle track applications the
difference in winning and losing is the power and strong torque curve
throughout the mid-RPM range. With the RHS 23°Aluminum Intake
Manifold installed in your dirt car, you’ll no longer have to worry if you
have what it takes to reach the finish line first. Variations to meet your
specific needs are available upon request.
Fire It Up For More
HP And Durability
Crane Cams, Hi-6RC Digital CD Ignition
The functionality and flexibility of the ignition in your race car can be
the difference in crossing the finish line first or a distant second. With
this in mind, Crane Cams has developed the Crane Hi-6RC Digital CD
Ignition. Imagine making easy, rev-limit adjustments at the track in
100 RPM increments with no chips required. Crane has now made this
a reality. Utilizing state-of-the-art, digital components this product is
the most reliable CD ignition available. With a durable design that
includes protection against heat, dirt and moisture we now can enjoy
fewer worries in the wear and tear department. As an added bonus,
this technology allows for longer engine life, which is something we
all want and need.
Maximized Dirt “Track-tion”
TMS Traction Control Units
It really doesn’t matter how many horses are living under the hood of your race car if you can’t unleash all of
them on the dirt. Wheel spin is bad, but losing is far worse. Davis Technologies is doing their part to make
losing a thing of the past for your team with their latest innovations in their TMS line of traction control
products. Boasting features like easier tuning, smarter processing and more functionality, the latest edition
of the TMS has been shown to reduce lap times by 2-3 tenths, while also easing tire and engine wear. If you
can’t figure out where the other guy has a performance advantage on you, then this very well could be the
product to solve the mystery.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 59
IS DIRT TRACK RACING
After nearly two decades
in production, it seems
the LS engine family
is starting to find
acceptance in dirt racing
60 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
FOR OLD-SCHOOL RACERS and engine builders, General Motors’ LS engine family is still considered a “new” engine.
That is until you realize that Chevrolet first put out the LS1 in
the Corvette all the way back in 1997. That means the engine
has almost made it through its second decade of production.
And nearly two decades of production also means that we
have nearly two decades of engine cores sitting in boneyards
and garages nationwide. In fact, these days it is much easier
to find an LS engine than it is an unmolested first-generation
So if that’s the case, then why haven’t we seen more LS engines in dirt track racing? After all, racing is as much about innovation as it is driving, and we have always known dirt racers
will flock to practically anything that offers better performance
for less cost.
Currently the best performing LS heads are
the LS7 design. RHS has improved on the
performance of the stock LS7 head by raising
the ports and CNC porting everything.
For years, the answer was pretty simple: Sanctioning bodies and track owners were afraid the engine would bring
excessive costs as well as excessive cheating—in the form of traction control—and
simply wrote them right out of the rulebook. The acronym “LS” is never mentioned, just some sneaky language that
says the engine must have a carburetor, a
distributor and a single coil. Besides the
LS, that language manages to rule out almost all modern engine designs.
But we’ve seen a change in thinking
lately as Chevrolet’s crate motor program has gained traction in both asphalt
and dirt racing. They began with the
“602” and “604” crate engines which
were based on the venerable first-generation small block. But with the success
of those options Chevrolet Performance
also quickly made available the CT 525,
a 525-horsepower carbureted crate engine based on the LS3. While the CT
525 ditched the fuel injection system
for a carburetor and single-plane intake, it did keep the multiple coil packs
and crank trigger ignition. Meanwhile,
NASCAR also unveiled its “spec” motor, an LS complete with carburetor,
distributor, mechanical fuel pump and
even a single coil.
NASCAR’S SPEC MOTOR isn’t
found in dirt racing as far as we know, but
there are several Dirt Late Model sanctions that currently allow the CT 525.
Still, what’s gotten our attention is a short
track Modified racer that has taken the
bull by the horns and is working with his
sanctioning body not only to make the LS
engine family legal but also bring in fuel
injection. What’s interesting about this is
the racer and engine builder, Dave Arce,
isn’t a deep-pockets racer that’s trying to
collect wins by out-spending the compe-
tition. Instead, he is actually showing how
a mostly stock LQ9 (the truck version of
the LS with an iron block) because of its
improved ports can run pump gas and
still be competitive with traditional high
compression (and expensive) race engines
running 110 octane. For more on Arce’s
efforts, check out “The Future is Here” on
page 18 of this issue of OneDirt.
“The LS architecture is significantly
different from the first-generation small
block,” says Kevin Feeney of RHS. “And
one thing that I think will really help the
LS platform gain acceptance in dirt racing is the aftermarket stepping in with
parts that help the LS feel more like a
first-generation small block.
“For example,” he continues, “a few
companies have intake manifolds for
mounting up a single four barrel carburetor, and some have come up with
a front cover where you can run a mechanical fuel pump and a distributor off
the front of the motor. In fact, we even
have one specifically for Sprint Car racing where you can drive the dry sump oil
pump, a magneto and the water pump
off the front just like they are used to in
more traditional Sprint Car motors.
“Besides the Sprint Car front drive,
we have several other products for the LS
here at RHS,” Feeney continues. “And
that includes our LS7 cylinder heads and
our aluminum LS Race Block. I actually
have two Sprint Car teams out of central
Ohio that have built engines using our
LS products, and one is racing in the
World of Outlaws right now.”
Feeney didn’t want to divulge the teams
because he says they are trying to keep
their efforts to themselves and he respects
that, but he did say that their LS programs
show promise. Even with RHS’s and other manufacturers’ support, they’ve had to
fabricate a lot of components to get everything to work—particularly the Sprint
Car’s iconic eight-stack mechanical fuel
injection system—and the teams are still
Feeney says one of the
ways to help engine
builders accept the
LS engine is to make
it work in the same
manner they are used
to. So for Sprint Car
racing, RHS produced
a front assembly that
allows engine builders
to mount a traditional
magneto, dry-sump oil
pump and even the water pump off the front
just like they do on a
first gen small block.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 61
SP S ONLINE
Day Or Night
All of the LS blocks use mostly the same architecture. RHS’s LS race block is stronger than stock
and utilizes windows in the bottom half of the block to alleviate the stock block’s windage issues.
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62 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
working their way up the learning curve.
Still, it’s just another example of innovative engine builders and racers forcing
the issue and embracing new ideas if they
think it can help them find Victory Lane.
“The big advantage of the LS design
is in the valve train,” Feeney says. “The
heads flow better than any production
23-degree head from the gen one small
block. But then with each update with
the LS they just got better, too. They put
those narrow cathedral ports in the intakes for the LS1, and then they improved
airflow with the LS3 by going back to a
rectangular intake port. When they came
out with the LS7 they improved airflow
even more by raising the ports. And when
we developed the RHS LS7 heads we
raised the ports more on top of that to get
even more power out of them.
“Besides that, engine builders that
have built both gen one and LS race
engines will tell you that they can make
good power with the LS, and the power
is a little more usable because the valve
train is so stable that they can push the
RPM higher with the LS than they can a
traditional small block.”
The interesting thing about all this is
Feeney has no dog in the fight. RHS has
developed a broad range of performance
small block cylinder heads along with
their LS7 heads, so Feeney is more than
happy to sell customers whatever they
want. But he also understands how easy
it is to make power reliably with the more
efficient LS platform.
“We are going to continue to evolve
our LS cylinder head line as we find ways
The LS platform is
in dirt racing as the
aftermarket steps in
with parts that help
the LS feel more like
– Kevin Feeney
to benefit racers,” he says. “This year we
introduced the small bore LS7 cylinder
head because we had some people running UMP Modifieds, and we thought
we could help them out. In that class
they have an iron engine block rule, and
the six-liter blocks that are available from
GM (the LQ engines) they are using have
a small cylinder bore. Those blocks are
relatively inexpensive, and so we reconfigured our LS7 head to fit their 3.900-inch
cylinder bore. When you put the two together, the racers now have a very potent
package that’s surprisingly affordable.
“That project was a lot of fun,” Feeney
says. “I think things like that will catch on as
racers and engine builders find what all they
can do with the LS engine platform.” Source
Racing Head Service (RHS)
IN HIS OWN WORDS
OWNER, PRO POWER RACING
Racing was always a way of life in the Schlieper household. Bill and his brother,
John Jr., grew up around their father’s business, Schlieper’s Speed Shop in Brookfield, Wisconsin. The Schlieper family built engines together for several years,
but by 1993 Bill and John Jr. were ready to test the waters on their own and they
started Pro Power Racing, while their father continued to operate his speed shop.
The Schlieper brothers slowly but surely built their company reputation and
customer base before actually buying out their father in 2002 as Pro Power Racing came to take up its permanent residence in Sullivan, Wisconsin. The company
has built engines that have powered racers to victories on many of racing’s biggest stages, from dirt and asphalt circle tracks to the Baja to Pikes Peak.
Today Pro Power remains very much a family operation, as the husband-and-wife
duo of Bill and Josie Schlieper owns and operates the well-known engine company.
Bill Schlieper offered his thoughts on Pro Power Racing and the engine building business as a whole.
Photo by Rick Schwallie
”Dad is now 75 and
he works every day
doing the balancing
for our engines.
Between him, Josie
and John Jr. we
are still the same
family-based company that Schlieper’s
Speed Shop was
back in the day.”
Photo by Joey Millard, thesportswire.net
“Customer service is priority number one for Pro
Power Racing, and our theory is the best way to
provide customer service is to be at the track as
much as possible. Obviously you can’t always be
everywhere, but being there whenever we can is
just what we do. In a performance-based industry
you have to go that extra mile for your customers.”
Honestly, at the end of the day
I do still love it as much today as
when I started. It’s in my blood,
it’s a disease. Just like the racers
are addicted to getting behind the
wheel, I’m addicted to building
them the fastest motor possible.
In this business you have to
pay your dues to get to where
you want to be. It’s not easy,
but if you want it bad enough
you can make it happen. At Pro
Power Racing we like to show
our customers that we are in it
to win it. When you come to us
as customer we challenge ourselves as a business to make
your team better.
“By the time I was five years
old, I was working in the shop
sweeping, cleaning machines,
washing parts and just doing
anything needed. There’s no
doubt that it was in my blood
from day one.”
“Winning the 2002 World 100 with Brian
Birkhofer at Eldora Speedway will always
be special. Unless you are part of this sport
you just don’t understand what it’s like to
have a race where 200 guys are trying to
beat you, and only 24 make the feature,
and then you win it. It was just amazing.”
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 63
Photo by Rick Schwallie
ZERO IN ON THE
PERFECT SETUP BY
64 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
AN ACCURATE SET OF SCALES is a vital tool for any racing program that hopes to see Victory Lane regularly. This is
true, no matter if you are racing Pure Streets, Mini Stocks, Super Late Models or Sprint Cars.
Weight has a large impact on the handling of a car, and how
that weight is distributed plays an equally large role in how your
race car handles during acceleration, deceleration and cornering. Since we are talking about dirt track racing here, all three
of those things happen at least twice every lap, so you’d better
believe being able to precisely map the weight distribution on
all four tires is critical for success. After all, you may be able to
luck out and hit on the right setup, but without a set of scales
(among other tools) you will likely never be able to find it again.
We recently spoke with Intercomp’s Scott Elmgren about the
questions dirt track racers most often have when it comes to using
racing scales. Intercomp makes a wide range of four-corner scales
as well as other setup tools for racers. Today, Intercomp has ultra-accurate scales designed not only to make racers’ lives easier but
also to help them improve their setups for greater success on the
track. Besides simply telling you the weight at all four corners of the
car, Intercomp has scales that can actually calculate a car’s center of
gravity and include a very useful target-tune feature that helps you
get your setups right where they need to be with less time spent
moving lead around. There is even an option to read and record
weights on your iPhone or iPad through Intercomp’s iRaceWeigh
technology which definitely beats kneeling on the floor and transferring numbers from an old-school console to a spiral notebook.
If you are just starting out, you can get baseline setup numbers from your chassis builder or more experienced racers at
the track. These numbers will be your target when first scaling
the car, and as you gain experience you can adjust from there.
“To get an accurate reading from any set of scales, it is critical
to make sure the scale pads are sitting on a level plane,” Elmgren
says. “Small angles can throw off your readings significantly.
Leveling the scales can be achieved in a number of ways, including shims or with the use of scale pad levelers. Intercomp’s Billet
Leveler with a Roll-Off Pad is a popular item among racers for
its durability, convenience and the ability to roll the car back and
forth after adjustments to unbind the suspension.”
BEFORE SCALING A RACE CAR, you need to make sure
it is as race-ready as possible. This means fluid levels should be
correct, including coolant, transmission and rear end fluids and
about half a tank of fuel. Your chassis and suspension settings
such as camber, ride height and even wheel spacers should be
set just like you plan when you roll off the trailer at the race
track. Also, don’t forget the driver; he or she must either be
sitting in the driver’s seat when scaling the car, or you can use
sandbags or other forms of weight to simulate the driver.
Before you put your race car on the scales, double check to
make sure all four pads are level (as we’ve already mentioned),
turn on the scales and hit the zero button so that every pad reads
zero for the weight figure. Now, either roll the car up on the scale
pads if you are using roll-off pads, or jack up each side of the
car and slide one pad under each wheel. Before taking a scale
Intercomp’s wireless system uses transmitters in each of the heavy-duty
billet scale pads so that there are not wires to untangle and run to each
wheel. Each pad is labeled with its correct position on the car (notice
the color-coded labels).
A modern set of scales (these are Intercomp’s Quick Weigh Wireless
Scales) will not only tell you the weight over each wheel, but they will
also run the calculations to quickly let you know your percentages,
crossweight and rear bite.
reading make sure to bounce each corner of the car once or twice
to ensure the suspension is settled and not binding. This is important because frame height can influence the percentage of the
car’s total weight over a particular wheel.
A QUALITY DIGITAL SCALE such as those Intercomp sells
will tell you the weight at all four wheels, the total weight, and
even do some calculations to tell you your percentages to greatly
simplify the process of installing
your race setup.
Different types of racing will often place an emphasis on different
things when scaling a car. For example, oval track asphalt racers will
usually place the greatest emphasis
on the percentage of weight over the
front wheels versus the rear, the left
side percentage and cross weight.
Cross weight is the weight over the
right front tire plus the left rear tire divided by the car’s total weight.
Dirt track racers, while just as interested in dialing in the right
front-to-rear percentage and left-side split, normally are much
more concerned with “rear bite,” or simply “bite,” than they are
cross weight. Rear bite is basically a simpler form of cross weight
that places an emphasis on weight at the rear of the car. It is calculated by taking the weight over the left rear tire and subtracting
from that the weight over the right rear. So, instead of talking in
terms of percentages as you do with cross weight, bite is referred
to in pounds. For example, if a racer says he runs 50 pounds of
bite that means he has his lead placed so that there is an extra 50
pounds of weight over the left rear wheel versus the right rear.
CONTROLLING REAR BITE is very important for dirt
racing because it is so difficult to find the right balance between sliding the rear end out to help the car turn while also
getting maximum forward traction on turn exit. Unfortunately, the optimal amount of bite varies wildly with several
factors, so we can’t give you a specific number to shoot for.
For example, just in the Dirt Late Model class, we know that
rear bite can vary from one driver to the next, anywhere from
30 to 200 pounds, depending
on chassis manufacturer, track
configuration, tires and even
horsepower and driving style.
We spoke with one driver who
often switches from the crate
engine class, where the horsepower hovers around the 400
– Scott Elmgren range, and a limited class where
Intercomp the engines produce between
600 and 650 HP, and he says
simply switching engines requires him to change his rear bite
by just under 50 pounds.
As a general rule, if you want your car to be tighter, add more
bite. This can be useful if the track goes dry slick towards the end of
the night. But be careful because overdoing it and adding too much
rear bite can make you lose on turn entry. Likewise, if the track has
lots of grip and you’re having a hard time getting the car to turn, you
can help the rear end break free by taking out some bite.
When adjusting your weight bias, again make sure to always
bounce the front and back of the car after any change to resettle
the suspension. Moving lead ballast weights is the easiest way to
change weight bias on your car, but be aware that frame height
To get an accurate reading from
any set of scales, it is critical to
make sure the scale pads are
sitting on a level plane.
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changes can also do the same thing. So if you use coil-overs or
jack screws to adjust your frame height, be aware that it will also
affect your weight percentages.
Of course, that phenomenon can also be useful for making
small adjustments to bite. If you want to adjust your rear bite
at the race track, it isn’t practical to start unbolting and moving
lead. Instead, running the jack screw or coil-over adjuster down
(clockwise) will increase bite, while doing the opposite will decrease it. If you need to keep your ride height consistent so that
you don’t throw off other suspension settings, you can do the
opposite at opposing wheels.
For example, if you increase bite by bringing the screw jack
on the left rear wheel down by a half turn, you can keep your
ride height stable by instead putting a quarter turn down in
the left rear and right front and a quarter turn up in the right
rear and left front.
That’s just one of the many tricks possible when setting
up your race car, but be careful to always document all your
changes so that you can return to your baseline whenever you
need to. For free downloadable setup sheets to help you track
all your setup changes no matter what scales you use, check out
After putting the scale
pads under each wheel,
take a moment to bounce
each corner of the car to
make sure the suspension
All four pads should be
level for best accuracy.
Once you’ve found the
most level location on
your shop floor, mark the
locations for each pad
with tape or paint so that
you will get repeatable
results every time you
scale your car.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 67
WINNING IN TH
68 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Not all dirt track
clutches, but for
those that do the
right one can make
all the difference
CHOOSING THE PROPER CLUTCH
can mean the difference between finding
Victory Lane and finding yourself a lap
down, or worse, on the trailer. The best
clutch for your application isn’t necessarily the lightest, the biggest or smallest, or the least or most expensive. Instead, it is better to study the weight of
your race car, tire type and engine type,
driveline, horsepower, torque capacity and rules package to determine the
clutch you need.
Lightweight applications can utilize
lighter, smaller clutches, but that also
means that heat will build up quicker.
Heavier clutches with more discs on
the other hand are more durable and
withstand more abuse from heat, but
they have a greater moment of inertia.
The key is to find the best balance for
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 69
MOMENT OF INERTIA (MOI) is a measurement of how
much energy it takes to spin an object, dependent upon the
amount and distribution of its mass. For instance, the heavier
or larger the clutch in diameter, the harder it is to accelerate or
decelerate. If two clutches are the same weight and one is half the
diameter of the other, then the smaller diameter clutch will accelerate and decelerate faster with less overall energy being used.
This translates to a faster acceleration coming out of a turn, and
a faster deceleration going into the next one. Faster acceleration
translates into a speed advantage over the competition.
While it’s obvious that a small diameter and low MOI is desired, it is also not the only factor to consider when buying a
clutch. A smaller clutch is equal to less radial friction surface
and low MOI, but in turn it also is more susceptible to heat
buildup and a higher rate of wear. This might be fine in a lightweight, four-cylinder Mini Stock application, but if you drive a
light clutch around the pits in a heavier, eight-cylinder Street
Stock, you will be operating the engine at a low RPM, which
will cause it to stall easily, resulting in a higher rate of wear of the
clutch components. A clutch with two or three discs will also be
able to handle more horsepower and will absorb less heat, but it
also features a higher MOI. If you do not plan on replacing your
clutch frequently it is important to strike a balance and consider
the best setup for performance, reliability, durability and value.
TORQUE CAPACITY is another major factor to consider during
clutch selection. The torque capacity for a clutch is the clutch’s
highest ultimate torque rating, or the maximum torque that can be
applied on a continual basis while still maintaining a normally expected fatigue life. To size a peak-torque-capacity clutch for your
application, multiply the engine’s peak torque by 1.25 and choose
a clutch that has as much or more torque capacity. Then add one
extra disc for heat capacity and durability. It is important to choose
a clutch with more torque capacity than needed to avoid slippage.
KNOWING THE RULES can be complicated, but sometimes
your track or sanctioning body will simplify your options. It
TIPS: INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE
Keep your race clutch functioning properly for as long as possible
by following these simple steps during the installation and life
of the clutch.
PROPER INSTALLATION. Be sure to read manufacturer’s
instructions during installation. In addition to step-by-step directions, this document will also most likely cover the importance
of using an alignment tool, how to check for proper fitment and
cleaning options. With the time it takes to remove and replace
OE components, it is worth the bit of extra time to read the
instructions. It will save hours and money.
NO LOADING ZONE. To extend the life of your racing clutch do
not use it to load the car on your trailer. The amount of slippage
caused by doing so actually creates more wear than an entire
night of racing.
REGULAR INSPECTIONS. Check your friction discs, pressure
plates and floater plate in regular maintenance intervals to be
sure that everything is in spec. Although pressure and floater
plates may not wear as quickly as the friction discs, they can still
deteriorate. Also, be sure to check clutch fluid levels. Without
full attention to every component within the clutch, a competitor
may be sidelined prematurely.
is important to always check the rulebooks before choosing a
clutch. Most sanctioning bodies indicate the minimum clutch
diameter permitted for the friction/driven discs. Some sanctions also specify the number of discs allowed, along with the
type of friction material. This is often limited to iron or aluminum options. In some cases the rules may even require a completely stock clutch, or one that is “stock appearing.” If you
show up at the track with a trick clutch that falls outside of these
parameters there is a good chance you will be going home empty-handed or with a lighter wallet.
In addition, it’s important to ensure that all parts work
together. For example, if you are using a stock clutch and
buy an aftermarket flywheel for your race car, you need to
double check that the flywheel bolts clear the clutch
springs. Or if you have a new clutch you’ll want to be
sure that it fits properly within the bellhousing.
Otherwise you may be out of hundreds of
dollars and a lot of aggravation. Again,
it is important here to check the
rulebooks and be sure that all
of these parts are legal as well.
Remember that the best
policy in choosing a clutch
is to do plenty of research
and choose the option that
strikes the ideal balance for
your race vehicle. Source
In classes that allow aftermarket
clutches, a 5.5” diameter clutch
is a popular option.
70 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
ANNOUNCER / MARKETING, MSR MAFIA
OneDirt recently caught up with regular contributor and motorsports announcer, Ben Shelton for a quick Q&A.
You can learn more about Ben Shelton and his ventures at
addition to writing for us, we see your name
up all over the place in the racing
world. Give readers an idea of what all you do.
I always joke I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none.
My main endeavor is MSR Mafia Marketing Services, where
I do websites, PR, and anything else that needs to be done
for almost 200 drivers, series, companies, etc. across the
United States, Canada and Australia. I also announce close to
100 events a year, which includes serving as the announcer
for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and working in
various capacities as an on-air personality for DirtOnDirt.com.
Finally, whenever possible, I also write articles for publications like OneDirt and Dirt Late Model Magazine. Needless to
say, I don't sleep much.
seen from your articles that you are
a guy that is not afraid to voice your opinion
when you think you see something wrong in our
sport. With that said, what do you think is the
biggest issue that racing faces in today's world?
The biggest issue we face is amazingly ourselves. As a whole,
our sport has a way of being “cannibalistic” if you will. We
book against one another, we take shots at one another, and
sometimes do whatever we can to do damage. In the end, all
we do is hurt ourselves and doom the survival of our sport. Racing has enough working against it without us working against
ourselves. On the surface it’s not a hard fix, but jealous pride
has to go away if we ever hope to remedy the problem. Hopefully we can all see the forest for the trees before it's too late.
with the negative out of the way give us
a couple of things that you absolutely love
about dirt track racing.
Not to contradict myself from the previous answer, but I truly
love the fact that we are one big family. Sure we might fight
and bicker, but in our times of biggest need we all come
together for support. Whether it's a death, tragedy or another
different situation the racing family definitely takes care of
its own. Apart from that, I just love the spirit of the sport. I
love the idea of a guy working all week in his garage with his
buddies to get his race car in tip-top shape to take it out to
the track on Saturday night in hopes of taking the win and the
glory. That's what it’s all about!
question. What is one thing Ben Shel4 Final
ton would like to see changed about racing?
Photo by Rick Schwallie
A lot of tracks battle having programs with too many
divisions. The end result is a diluted program that often
runs entirely too long. The length and lack of quality with
the racing program in turn deters fans from supporting the
track. It's a lose/lose situation. I honestly believe that some
of the most successful weekly shows in the country run no
more than four divisions. Tracks should really take this into
account when trying to optimize the program. Drivers in
the divisions that get eliminated will fall into line in one of
the four remaining classes. I guarantee it. Less is definitely
more in this situation.
Own Race Shocks
THANKS TO MODERN DESIGNS YOU CAN EASILY
ADVANCE YOUR SHOCK PROGRAM FOR BETTER
RESULTS ON THE TRACK
THE DAYS ARE LONG GONE when you could bolt up
a set of OE replacement shocks from the parts store and
expect to have much success on the race track. Even in the
entry level classes, setups have become more sophisticated,
and modern, rebuildable racing shocks are definitely part
of the equation.
Fortunately, companies like QA1 are making high-quality racing shocks affordable for racers on real-world budgets. QA1 also understands that the average Saturday
night racer operates a lean and mean operation. There
are no shock specialists and no money in the budget to be
shipping shocks off every week to be dyno’ed and rebuilt.
Instead, many of their shocks can be completely rebuilt in
your shop or race trailer with a minimum of specialized
tools, and that’s something any racer operating on a budget
can definitely appreciate.
QA1’s tech specialist Marshall Fegers explains the process for rebuilding and revalving their 26 Series monotube
racing shock. The details may differ slightly for other styles
or brands of shock absorber, but the process is always basically the same.
The big money teams that utilize a shock specialist will
run each new shock across the shock dyno to verify performance, but that isn’t absolutely necessary. QA1’s technicians have done extensive testing with practically every
combination of shim stacks and have put together a comprehensive chart to help you determine the correct shim
stack to provide the valving you need.
Now, we’re not going to be able to give you the blowby-blow from teardown to reinstalling the shocks on your
race car. Instead, we’re going to pass along some of the
highlights. For more information you can hit up YouTube.
com and do a quick search for “QA1 Precision Products”
(or www.youtube.com/user/QA1TECH if you’d like to go
directly). QA1 has an excellent YouTube channel with several very helpful videos on rebuilding and revalving both
monotube and twin tube shocks. Source
Getting the shock apart is really no more difficult than removing a couple
of bleed screws and C-clips. The important part is taking your time so you
don’t get shock oil everywhere.
Changing out the shim stacks—the thin aluminum wafers that control the
flow of oil through the piston—will affect the shock’s compression and
One of the keys to consistent shock operation is making sure no atmospheric air contaminates the nitrogen. This bleeder screw helps seal the
system after all the air is out of the tube.
Use a caliper to measure the thickness and diameter of each disc. You can
cross reference this information on QA1’s build chart to determine which
discs you need in your shim stack to achieve the valving you want.
Surprisingly, charging the shock with nitrogen is actually quite straightforward. This tool attaches to an everyday air hose connected to a nitrogen tank and lets you seal the shock after the nitrogen pressure is correct
while keeping the shock sealed from atmospheric air throughout.
When building shim stacks the largest diameter shims always go closest
to the piston with the smallest furthest away. The rebound shim stack goes
on the side of the piston away from the shaft, while the compression stack
always goes on the side with the shock shaft.
FC/50/60/62 SERIES TUNING GUIDE
1.3” x .006”
1.3” x .006”
Use 2 VPs
1.1” x .006”
1.3” x .006”
1.3” x .006”
1.1” x .006”
.90” x .006”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .006” .90” x .006”
1.1” x .006” 1.1” x .006”
1.3” x .006” 1.3” x .006”
1.3” x .006” 1.3” x .008”
1.1” x .006” 1.1” x .008”
.90” x .008” .90” x .008”
.70” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .010”
1.1” x .008”
1.3” x .008”
1.3” x .010”
1.1” x .012”
.90” x .010”
.70” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .012”
1.1” x .012”
1.3” x .012”
1.3” x .012”
1.1” x .012”
.90” x .012”
.70” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .010”
1.1” x .010”
1.3” x .010”
1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .012”
.90” x .010”
.70” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .012”
1.1” x .012”
1.3” x .012”
1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
.90” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .012”
.90” x .012”
1.1” x .012”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
.90” x .010”
.90” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.70” x .015” .70” x .015”
.90” x .015” .90” x .015”
.90” x .015” 1.1” x .015”
1.1” x .015” 1.1” x .015”
1.3” x .015” 1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015” 1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .015” 1.1” x .015”
.90” x .015” 1.1” x .015”
.90” x .015” .90” x .015”
.70” x .015” .70” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
.70” x .015”
.90” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
.70" x .015"
.90" x .015"
.90" x .015"
1.1” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
.90” x .015”
.70” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
.90” x .015”
.70” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.3” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
1.1” x .015”
.90” x .015”
.90” x .015”
.70” x .015”
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 73
WE TAKE A LOOK AT
CRANE CAMS’ UNIQUE OPTICAL
TRIGGER IGNITION SYSTEMS
IN YOUR RACE ENGINE, getting as much air and fuel lit off
in the combustion chamber at the correct moment is the key to
making power. The air and fuel part is the domain of your carburetor and induction system, but setting it on fire is all about
the ignition. And to make big power you’ve got to have a nice,
hot spark that consistently fires exactly when you want it to.
Of course, in a racing environment that is easier said than
done. The combination of high RPM, high heat and lots of vibration make it difficult for an ignition to work as well as it does
in your street car cruising from stoplight to stoplight.
74 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
And that is exactly why Crane Cams says they have developed their unique optical trigger ignition system for racing.
The optical trigger system originally started out for high-end,
big-money race teams, but since it proved to be so helpful it has
since migrated to Saturday night racing levels.
MOST DISTRIBUTORS use a magnetic system that spins an
iron reluctor wheel with eight flanges past a magnetic pickup.
When the pickup “sees” the flange move past it tells the ignition
box to fire. But the problem with a magnetic system is that as
the RPM increases it has trouble keeping up and tends to retard
the timing. Crane’s optical trigger system is quite different. It
attaches a thin steel disc to the distributor shaft that has a small
window punched into it. The distributor uses an optical sensor that picks up when the window passes over the sensor and
sends a signal to the ignition box.
“What we use is known as an emitter sensor,” explains Crane
Cams’ Terry Johnson. “There is a constant signal that goes between the emitter and the sensor, and what we do is put a reluctor wheel between them that breaks the signal. The signal is
just a beam of light, and when we break that beam, that’s your
trigger event. It works basically like an on/off switch, so it is extremely accurate.”
The difference is with a magnetic trigger the magnetic force
between the reluctor wheel and the sensor gets stronger as the
reluctor gets closer to the magnet. So the system has to determine the moment of highest magnetic force, or “attraction,” and
send the signal. With an optical trigger the light is either hitting
the sensor or it isn’t, which helps improve timing accuracy.
“Because you don’t have the inaccuracies inherent with a magnetic signal, it’s impervious to RPM,” Johnson says of the optical
trigger technology. “So it doesn’t matter if you’re going 2,600 or
9,600 RPM, it delivers the same signal accuracy all the time.”
The result is something
we’ve seen for ourselves in engine tests. Ignition manufacturers and some high-end engine
builders have expensive diagnostic equipment that allows
them to verify ignition timing on
all eight cylinders in a running
engine accurate to less than a
degree, but you can actually see
the difference with something
as simple as a timing light. With
your timing light pointed at the
degree marks on your engine’s balancer, you will probably see
the timing bounce back and forth between one-half to three degrees when the engine is revved up to the RPM levels it will see
on the racetrack. But with Crane’s optical distributor the timing
mark is much steadier and usually only moves less than half of a
degree—if at all.
The optical trigger system works by spinning a reluctor wheel on the
distributor shaft. When one of the eight windows in the disk passes between the optical emitter and sensor, the distributor signals the ignition
box to send a spark to the correct plug.
gine on the dyno and determined that it makes the most power
at 32 degrees before top dead center. You’d love to be able to run
your engine on the race track at 32 degrees, but you don’t want
to take a chance with it going into detonation with the timing
jumping around, so you have
to allow yourself a safety margin and set the timing at 30.
“You can’t truly get the
best performance from your
engine because you can’t lean
on it and set the timing of the
true sweet spot. Plus, as your
engine gains RPM going
down the straights, the spark
– Terry Johnson timing is actually retarding
Crane Cams and giving up even more potential power. But now you
can set your timing exactly where you want it with the optical trigger because not only is it steadier throughout the RPM
range, but it also does not change with RPM.”
We actually developed that
technology for these distributors
several years ago when NASCAR
came out with what they were
calling the Car of Tomorrow.
BESIDES HELPING the engine be more consistent from
cylinder to cylinder, Johnson says you can actually use this improved timing consistency for better performance on the race
track. “Let’s say you did a series of timing sweeps with your en-
INTERESTINGLY, THERE IS also an option to upgrade the
standard optical pickup with a fiber optic unit that can increase
timing accuracy even further. “We actually developed that technology for these distributors several years ago when NASCAR
came out with what they were calling the Car of Tomorrow,”
Johnson says. “The way they had closed off the nose on those
cars caused the temperature underneath the hood to really
Crane’s Race Billet
Distributor is the company’s most popular
among dirt track racers. It uses the optical
trigger technology first
developed for NASCAR
Sprint Cup racing at a
more affordable price
than Crane’s full-zoot
Pro Race Distributor.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 75
The next time you check the timing on your engine, take a moment to see
how much the timing marks jump around. If it is more than a degree, you
are losing out on potential power.
Although Crane’s optical trigger distributors will work with most brands’
ignition boxes, Crane’s HI-6RC ignition box is incredibly popular because of its accuracy, consistently strong spark and built-in electronic
ignition retard that doesn’t use any moving parts.
Here’s a shot of a standard magnetic pickup. When the iron reluctor
swings past the pickup it triggers the spark. But as the RPM increases a
magnetic system tends to retard the spark. Also notice the mechanical
advance up top. The extra mechanical movement also harms timing
accuracy. That’s why many engine builders lock it out, but that can make
a hot race engine difficult to start.
This is the standard pickup in the Pro Race unit. The guts of the pickup
are all sealed in epoxy to protect the unit from moisture, chemicals and
vibrations so that it can provide a consistently timed spark race after race.
spike. It was elevated way beyond the
survivability of a lot of parts under the
hood, and the design of the motors at the
time was really causing a lot of harmonics. For instance, they were exploding
alternators on the cars because the temperature was so high and there was so
much vibration. The manufacturers had
to go in and redesign a whole new alternator for those things so that they would
live through a race.
“We didn’t have a (distributor) failure, but we knew that it wouldn’t be too
long because the temperature was way
beyond the threshold of what these triggers could stand. We already had experience with fiber optic pickups for some
private customers and decided to develop it for the distributor pickup. That
stuff doesn’t care how hot it is, and it
doesn’t care how much you shake it, so
it works really well in that environment.
In fact, with the fiber optic technology,
76 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
they are rated at 200°C. And instead
of a regular emitter sensor, we actually
incorporate a laser so the speed of the
signal is actually almost faster than we
can capture on a scope. We don’t service the NASCAR Cup teams anymore
since they moved to fuel injection, but
we still sell a lot of the fiber optic pickup
systems in our distributors. It is more
expensive, but we have many dirt track
racing teams that use them because they
demand that accuracy and resilience.”
ANOTHER FACTOR with the optical
pickup system is mechanically it is extremely simple. There’s just a disk on the
distributor shaft and an emitter/sensor
assembly mounted on one side of the
distributor housing. Crane doesn’t even
have an option for mechanical advance
in the distributor because the extra moving pieces allow slop into the system that
can throw off timing accuracy. Instead,
Crane’s engineers developed an ignition
box that actually has a digital timing retard baked right in to help aid cranking a heat-soaked motor. The feature is
standard equipment on Crane’s most
popular ignition for circle track racing,
its HI-6RC ignition box, and it works
by automatically retarding the timing 20
degrees on startup. The timing retard is
turned off as soon as the engine hits 600
RPM and is shut out so that it cannot be
triggered by accident. The only way to
get it back on is to completely power off
the engine and ignition and then crank
the engine again. That way, if your race
engine stalls on the track, the automatic
timing retard will kick in and make it easier to re-fire before the tow truck shows
up to ruin your night. Source
• 1200 exhibiting companies
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PLAN TO SHOP ALL THREE DAYS
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The Epicenter Of New Racing Technology
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 77
Photos by Woody Hampton
Thanks to Tracey Clay’s
no nonsense approach,
I-30 Speedway has
increased car counts &
78 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
THE RULES ARE PRETTY SIMPLE. Nonsense isn’t
tolerated, so don’t even try it. Fighting isn’t an option. You will
receive respect, but you should fully intend on giving it as well.
If you plan to bend the rules you better be prepared to pay the
penalty. You might think it’s a man’s world, but when you get
to this place it’s a woman who runs the show.
The rules above don’t apply to a bar or a club, but rather
Tracey Clay’s I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Arkansas, which
over the past four decades has operated as one of the most
successful short tracks in the country.
Every weekend across our great nation hundreds of race
tracks host their weekly events. Some make good profits, while
others are happy to just break even, and some perpetually
lose every week. For the tracks that have remained profitable
through the good and the bad times, there seems to be a secret
recipe. For I-30 Speedway the recipe seems pretty simple.
“At I-30 Speedway we’ve always had the mindset that we
don’t care who you are or who you know, you’re going to get
treated the same,” comments promoter, Tracey Clay. “Whether
it be one of our loyal fans in the stands or one of the great racers
in the pits, we are going to give you respect from the time you get
here until the time you leave.” With a smile she concludes, “Well,
that is as long as you understand we expect the same in return.”
Tracey Clay grew up around the racing world as her
father, Joe Clay, began racing Sprint Cars when she was just
five years old.
She reminisces, “From my youngest years I can remember
looking forward to the weekend each and every week because
I just loved going to the track with my dad. In fact, I called his
Sprint Car my big brother.”
The Clays spent many a weekend competing at tracks
across the South, but it wasn’t until the 1987 season that
the close-knit family made the transformation from racers to
“We went to I-30 Speedway just about every Saturday
night, and in 1987 word hit the street that the track might
soon fall into financial troubles,” Tracey remembers. “My dad,
along with local businessmen Ron Pack and Odus Pack, just
loved the place and decided to go in together to purchase the
track in bankruptcy court later that year. From that point there
was no turning back as the Clay family took control of the
facility that originally opened around 1960.”
In August of 1987 I-30 Speedway officially opened
for business under the direction of the Clay family, and at
25-years-old, Tracey’s first job was to work in the ticket office
alongside some of the long-time employees of the track.
“The folks who worked in the ticket office had been doing
it for a long time, and I quickly learned a lot of the ins and outs
of the business from them. It really laid a good foundation in
the racing business for me.”
While Tracey spent a majority of the night selling tickets,
running numbers and putting together the payouts in the ticket
office, when it came time for the nightly Sprint Car feature, you
could only find her in one place. The press box.
“I don’t care what had to be done early in the night, there
was no way I was ever going to miss watching a Sprint Car
feature,” laughs Clay.
She quickly began to take note of the scorers and was
fascinated at how they could keep track of where each car was
in the field on each lap. Tracey began scoring for fun as she
watched the Sprint Car main event, and in 1994 she made the
transition to full-time scorer.
While the Clay family enjoyed running the track, they
quickly found that the grass isn’t always greener on the
Tracey comments, “I can remember as racers we always
thought that promoters and track owners had it made, but we
quickly learned it can be a really thankless and stressful job. No
matter what you do, there is always a conspiracy theory floating among the racers and accusations of favoritism. We learned
real quick that you just have to do the best job you can, and not
take any of it personally.”
In 1996 Tracey’s dad, Joe, had decided that working in the
track office and managing the day-to-day affairs of the track
just wasn’t his cup of tea, and with that came another role
change for Tracey as she became the promoter.
“Dad basically told me that answering the phone and doing
the paperwork wasn’t especially his thing, so he wanted me
to do it,” remembers Clay. “It was all way new to me so it was
definitely a sink or swim thing, but I was able to get the hang of
things pretty quick from trial and error.”
Tracey, who is known as one of the toughest promoters in
the country, credits her strength and sometimes stubbornness
Clay and Pete Walton, the owner of the United Sprint Car Series.
to the experiences she faced with drivers and other promoters
early in her new role.
“To be fair, it wasn’t everybody, but a lot of the drivers
and promoters in this sport just saw a young woman who
was running a race track, and I think they honestly thought to
themselves, ‘I can steam roll this person to get what I want,’”
she notes. “One thing I can tell you is that I might’ve been
young, but I sure wasn’t a pushover, and I think it shocked a lot
of people early on that I would stand up to them. Caving in to
intimidation just wasn’t an option for me.”
Whether it be one of our loyal
fans in the stands or one the great
racers in the pits, we are going to
give you respect from the time you
get here until the time you leave.
– Tracey Clay
With Tracey Clay spearheading the charge, I-30 Speedway
quickly grew with weekly car counts in excess of a hundred
entries and packed grandstands. As the weekly show grew, so
did the track’s trademark event, the annual COMP Cams Short
Track Nationals, which was born in 1988 and is hosted each
year in late October. The race soon gained mega-event status,
and early in its existence drew approximately 40 cars. The four
day affair now attracts more than 100 Sprint Cars each year to
the ¼-mile oval.
“To see what the Short Track Nationals has become is
really just humbling,” Clay says with a big smile on her face.
“My family, our great fans, racers and sponsors have all
worked hard for over 25 years now to build this event and
to see what it is now….well, words just can’t describe that
feeling. It’s just amazing.”
While big events like the COMP Cams Short Track
Nationals have put I-30 Speedway on the national map, Clay
is equally proud of what she and her family have been able to
create with their weekly programs.
“A lot of tracks struggle with their weekly show, but we
have pretty much 100 cars in five divisions every week,”
comments Clay. “A lot of people come to see the Sprint Cars,
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 79
A lot of tracks struggle with their weekly
show, but we have pretty much 100 cars
in five divisions every week.
– Tracey Clay
but I’ll say this – our Super Stock division puts on an amazing
show each and every week, and many a night, they steal the
show. It makes us proud to have an entry level class that is so
competitive with so many great drivers. I look forward to their
feature every Saturday night.”
Twenty-five years after taking the reins of I-30 Speedway, the
Clay family continues to enjoy operating the track just as much
today as they did in the beginning. While Tracey Clay works as
the track promoter, her dad spearheads the track preparation
crew, and her brother, Joe Jr., works as the weekly announcer.
“It’s a total family effort for us, and we all love this sport
more now than when we started,” says Clay. “Even though
sometimes there are complaints and controversies we just love
meeting the great people of our sport. I honestly believe folks
in the racing world are some of the greatest that you will find
anywhere, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
From the promoter role Tracey still feels like she is
fighting an uphill battle in a male-dominated sport, but by
the same token she feels that she now gets more respect
than ever before. “There’s no doubt that some people just
look at me and think to themselves ‘This is a woman trying
to run a race track. I’m sure she doesn’t know anything.’
However, there’s just as many that now respect me and my
hard work. They know that I pour my heart and soul into
making this track work, and making it as fair as possible for
everybody who passes through that gate.”
I-30 Speedway is planning for a huge 2014 campaign that
will include a fair share of specials to go along with the benchmark weekly racing series events. As Clay looks ahead to the
future, she does so with optimism but also understands that this
is a different world than when she started in the racing game.
“Obviously the economy has dealt us all a curveball over
the past few years, but equally important, we as track promoters all have to continue to look for new ways to entertain the
fans. We can’t sit back and keep doing the same thing over and
over if we expect to grow or even survive for that matter.”
With an eye on the future and a respect for the past, Tracey
Clay and the Clay family do as good a job of running a race
track as anybody in the country. One thing is for sure, when
you go to I-30 Speedway, you might not like the shake you get,
but there is no denying you are getting treated the same as the
next person. Can we really ask for any more than that? I-30 Speedway
12297 Interstate 30
Little Rock, AR 72209
Even though sometimes there are complaints and controversies
we just love meeting the great people of our sport. I honestly
believe folks in the racing world are some of the greatest that
you will find anywhere, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
– Tracey Clay
80 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
OUR SALUTE TO THE UNIQUE AND PASSIONATE
PERSONALITIES THAT POWER DIRT TRACK RACING.
We know you are always looking for an edge on the competition.
But don’t waste money on marketing hype.
BEWARE THE HYPE:
DOES NOT MAKE MIRACLE OIL.
Driven Racing Oil’s Lake Speed, Jr.
helps us separate the marketing
mumbo jumbo from the real deal.
WHEN YOU SAY “NANOTECHNOLOGY,” most of us
Speed says that in most cases, the right mix of old-school additives
work better than most nanotech materials developed so far. For example, Driven’s break-in oil uses a very specific mix of Zinc and other
additives to help break in a new engine quickly while protecting the
moving parts from damage.
82 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
picture pointy-headed scientists in lab coats peering into microscopes and scribbling onto their notepads. In the movies,
nanotechnology is often portrayed as some miracle science
the hero will use to keep volcanoes from exploding or cure
all the zombies.
Nanotechnology means working with materials on a molecular level, and while there are definitely some products that are
useful in oil, not everything labeled “nano” is a miracle cure.
But “nano” just means small. In fact, it means one billionth of
something. Normally, in science the unit of measurement is the
nanometer, which is one billionth of a meter, or 1/25,400,000
of an inch, depending on which side of the pond you live. Incidentally, your fingernail grows about one nanometer a second
—which is both cool and kind of weird when you think about it.
Over time, nanotechnology has essentially come to mean
working with chemicals or materials on a molecular level. And
the successes in nanotechnology are definitely pretty cool.
Nanotechnology has allowed such inventions as flexible body
armor that helps our police force stay safe, lithium ion batteries
that make portable handheld tools so incredibly powerful and
long-lasting, and even synthetic bones that surgeons use to help
people recover from traumatic injuries. Heck, did you know
that the carnauba (palm-tree wax) in your favorite car wax that
keeps the swirls from showing up in your paint is only a couple
But what has happened is with each success in the nanotechnology sector, many of us have come to believe that anything
labeled “nano” is practically a miracle in a bottle. Marketers
have taken advantage of this, turning “nano” into a buzzword
and slapping it on nearly everything. But the truth is, nano only
means small, it doesn’t always mean better.
Recently, two scientists, Boris Zhmud from Applied Nano
Surfaces in Sweden and Bogdan Pasalskiy from Kyiv National University in Ukraine, took a long, hard look at some of the
newest nanoadditives being used in lubrication to see how they
worked in motor oils. Specifically, they looked at a handful of
nanoadditives that scientists have held up as the most promising in laboratory tests: fullerenes (sometimes referred to as
“micro ball bearings”), nano diamonds, boric acid and PTFE.
Unfortunately a running internal combustion engine is
worlds apart from a typical clean room laboratory, and Zhmud
and Pasalskiy found that these nanoadditives did not work
nearly as well in what you might call real-world environments.
I tell people all the time, there
is no best oil. There is only
which oil works best for your
– Lake Speed, Jr.
Driven Racing Oil
In fact, in a presentation they made at a recent major tribology
conference (for scientists who research oil and other lubricants)
they said that one of the problems with the nanoadditives they
looked at is the university researchers developing these nanoadditives often aren’t aware of other factors that can affect a lubricant’s performance outside the laboratory.
For a little more clarification we turned to Lake Speed,
Jr., of Driven Racing Oil. Speed has been around racing all his
life, but he is also a certified lubrication specialist. That means
he is one of the few people on the planet who can understand
pointy-head science speak and translate it into “gearhead” for
the rest of us.
“The nanoadditives have promise, but they really aren’t
there yet,” Speed says. “Yes, in some applications they may
have some benefit, but that doesn’t mean they are an improvement in every application. It’s just like I tell people all the
time, there is no best oil. There is only which oil works best
for your application.”
What Speed warns against is falling for the marketing hype.
“You’ve got all these different brands of oil to choose from, and
while we’re trying to choose we see, ‘Hey! This one says it’s got
micro ball bearings. That sounds like a good thing!’
“Well, there are nanoadditives that do act like very, very
small ball bearings, and it is easy to visualize how ball bearings
would work to cut friction. So you can see why the marketing
department would jump on that concept. But what happens in
the real world of your engine is that not all of those parts are
smooth. And those particles that act like tiny roller bearings get
Dirt Late Model racer
Bobby Pierce currently
runs with Driven’s XP5
blend quite successfully.
XP5 is a “semi-synthetic.”
It offers better protection
and high temperature
stability than any mineral
oil without the cost of
a full synthetic. Many
Saturday night racers
find XP5 offers optimum
protection while keeping
costs under control.
Photo by Rick Schwallie
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 83
caught in the crevices and jam up. Then
everything starts loading up and starts
getting in there scraping and now you
have damage to the components.
“It may work well in a lab in a
straightforward test,” Speed continues,
“but a running engine is a very complicated and complex environment.”
The same thing holds true for another nanoadditive with the very impressive name of “nano diamonds.”
Nano diamonds contain extremely hard,
diamond-like particles that are also extremely small. The idea is that the nano
diamonds embed into sliding surfaces,
making them more resistant to wear.
STUDIES HAVE SHOWN that motor
oils using a nano diamond additive package actually do help cut friction at first,
but over time the friction comes right
back greater than before. This is because
the nano diamonds act as a lapping compound. In a new engine they serve to
knock off the rough edges quickly which
helps to reduce friction. But the nano
diamonds never stop grinding away at
the material, and you wind up with advanced engine wear in a very short time.
Also, that wear produces extra metal particles which get caught in the oil that will
wind up causing damage throughout the
“We already have additives like ZDDP
films or Moly that you can put into the oil
that will have a similar surface smoothing
property to the nano diamonds to reduce
friction, but they won’t destroy the surface
finish,” Speed says. “Unlike the nano diamonds, the ZDDP or Moly packages aren’t
removing material to cut the friction, so
there is no damage. And that’s the key difference. Even though it’s neat to say you have
Nano diamonds used
as an additive in
motor oil have been
shown to cut friction
initially because they
quickly wear away
any sharp edges. But
the problem is after
they cut away the
rough edges, they will
continue grinding up
everything else they
are pressed against,
You’ve got all these different brands of oil to
choose from, and while we’re trying to choose
we see, ‘Hey! This one says it’s got micro ball
bearings. That sounds like a good thing!’
– Lake Speed, Jr.
diamonds in your engine, we already have
stuff that will do the same job much better. It
just doesn’t have that space age name.”
Another nano additive is known as
PTFE. PTFE is actually a great additive
for certain applications such as greases, dry-film lubricants and chain oils. It
does a nice job of creating a film between
sliding surfaces that often stop and
start—known as “stick-slip.”
But while PTFE may be an excellent
nano additive for the spray you use to
lubricate your sliding glass door, it is a
poor option for the oil in your engine.
CRITICAL BALANCE: DETERGENTS TO ZINC
The oil additive Zinc Dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) works because it is a polar
molecule, so it is attracted to metal surfaces. ZDDP reacts under heat and load
to create a sacrificial film that allows
ZDDP to protect flat tappet camshafts
and other highly loaded engine parts.
Despite the presence of Zinc in oils,
other detergents and dispersants in the mix
complicate the situation. Detergent and
dispersant additives compete against Zinc
in the engine because they are also polar
molecules. Detergents and dispersants
clean the engine, but they don’t distinguish
between sludge, varnish and Zinc – they
84 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
clean all three away. Modern API certified oils contain high levels of detergents
and dispersants. The old school theory on
engine break-in was to run non-detergent
oils, and this allowed for greater activation
of the Zinc additive in the oil.
Driven BR Break-In Oils utilize the
correct balance of high levels of Zinc
anti-wear additives and low levels of detergents, so you don’t need to buy expensive additives to try to correct a low Zinc
(ZDDP) content oil.
Visit drivenracingoil.com for more information on the latest developments in
Among other things, PTFE will clog an
oil filter. It’s unlikely you will find a major brand motor oil using PTFE, but you
should watch out for it in aftermarket engine treatment products.
Speed says that while there are issues with many nanoadditives, that
doesn’t mean performance lubricant
specialists like Driven Racing Oil aren’t keeping an eye on the horizon for
nanoadditives that can be useful to
“The key is to match the strengths
of the nanoadditive to the application –
ZINC VS. DETERGENT
TRICKLE DOWN EFFECT
which is true for any oil,” Speed says. “A great example is Boron, which is a great friction reducer, plus it works well with
other additives like Moly and ZDDP. The problem is the carrier
for Boron is boric acid, and an acid will corrode things. It is
especially damaging if you have yellow-metal in the engine like
brass or bronze bushings (typically found in lifter bushings and
“So if you’ve added acid to the oil while trying to get Boron in
there, that means you will need more acid neutralizer to balance
it out. And that means you’ve just thrown another additive into
the mix that isn’t actually helping lubrication. It all comes back to
having pros and cons to all these additives, and you have to see it
in the totality of what it is actually doing.
“That’s why understanding your application and matching
the properties of the oil to it is so important,” he continues. “Boron can actually be good in very specific applications. Say I have
a Pro Stock engine and I’m running four passes before draining
the oil out. In that situation using a motor oil with a Boron additive might work well. The boric acid won’t have a chance to
be harmful to the engine because it is changed so often, and the
engine’s lifespan between rebuilds is so short anyway. So if the
boric acid gets me a little more horsepower, then I’m OK with
that. In that situation you can make the additive work, but you
wouldn’t want to use boric acid in an application where the oil
isn’t changed extremely often.
“When choosing any motor oil, no matter what additives it may
be using, the key is to look at the application first and let that dictate the chemistry. Only after you have determined what best meets
your application should you look at the brand.” Source
Driven Racing Oil
The key to proper oil
selection is to match
the additive package
to the precise needs
of the application.
Internal engine components have very
needs from the ring
gear pictured above.
Smart racers advance their programs by
staying on the lookout for advancements
developed in other series that can be applied to their own. Now that NASCAR’s
Sprint Cup Series has successfully
moved to fuel injected engines, many
people think that the technology is so far
removed from Saturday night racing they
might as well be different sports.
But that really isn’t true. In fact, as
someone who works with race teams at
every level, Speed says he sees ideas
developed at the Cup level integrated
into racing engines at a faster rate than
ever before. “There are all types of things
smart engine builders are using,” he says.
“Now it isn’t uncommon for teams to run
DLC-coated lifters even in what you might
consider entry level classes that require
a flat tappet cam and lifters, so they can
avoid wear on more aggressive cams.
“They’re going to billet cams and
tool steel lifters and a quality oil to
match. They are not only able to go with
a much more aggressive cam profile,
but their cams and lifters are lasting for
years. Yes, it costs more up front, but
your replacement costs are lower, and
you may even be winning more races in
the process. And that all came from the
Cup Series and trickled down.”
Speed says this is one of the reasons
Driven Racing Oil is willing to sell the
same oil blends that it has developed
for Cup teams to anyone else. After
all, those tool steel lifters with a diamond-hard coating need an oil formulated to work optimally in that application.
Pressurized cooling systems are coming
on strong in dirt track racing because
they make power—but you better run an
oil that’s capable of maintaining proper
lubrication under elevated temps or you
can melt your engine down quickly.
Another example of the trickle down
phenomenon is spec motor classes where
engine builders have found they can tighten up the bearing clearances legally and
free up some horsepower by switching to
a lighter weight oil. Previously, the lighter
oils couldn’t hold up to the stress of racing at high RPM for extended periods, but
by going with Driven’s blends that were
originally developed for the Cup cars running those same tolerances, racers can
get free horsepower in those rules-limited engines while also actually improving
their protection levels.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 85
Lunati today, located at
11126 Willow Ridge Dr. in
Olive Branch, Mississippi.
JOE LUNATI BEGAN AS A STREET RACER IN MEMPHIS but soon moved
LIKE MANY RACING
WAS FORMED BY ONE
MAN’S DESIRE TO GO
FASTER AND BUILD IT
BETTER 86 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
on to safer and more legal action on the area’s sanctioned drag strips. He eventually
wanted to move up to a faster ride, and in 1963 he built a homemade chassis. Exhibiting the shrewdness that would one day define his business career, Joe evaluated the
A Modified Sports (AM/SP) ET record (on which racing handicaps were then based)
and decided the car would be highly competitive as a Street Eliminator. NHRA’s Street
Eliminator class featured Gassers, Modified Productions, Street Roadsters, Modified
Sports and Stock Sports classes. It was the modern extension of the classic hot rod,
with cars built specifically for racing and no street driving in question.
In those days very few racing-specific parts were available for outright purchase.
Racers like Lunati learned either from someone else or by trial and error the skills
required to build a race car. Like most racers in the 60s, Joe built and tuned his own
engines. He assembled a Hilborn-injected, 377-cubic inch stroker Small Block Chevy
from used engine parts he bought from a local racer. For consistency and reliability he
backed his engine with a Memphis-built Coleman & Taylor automatic transmission
and went racing. The chassis was cloaked in a somewhat dented, two-seat Devin roadster body that deviously concealed the car’s formidable capabilities. Joe won often with
this unlikely race car, the A-Modified/Sports class three times at the NHRA Nationals,
nine separate NHRA AM/SP class ET and speed records, and Street Eliminator at
the 1964 and 1966 NHRA U.S. Nationals. His careful selection of the AM/SP class
allowed him to selectively increase performance just as much as he needed to best the
competition. It was a nearly perfect “edge” and made Joe’s homemade hot rod a genuine killer car in eliminations.
By the mid-1960s the wildly popular A/Factory Experimental class had evolved
into what became known as Funny Cars, so-named because of their radically altered
bodies that made them look “funny.” These early Funny Cars became a lucrative way to
earn cash by match racing and in booked-up, multi-car racing shows. Brand favorites
Chevy, Pontiac, Ford, Mercury, Dodge and Plymouth brought paying spectators in the
gates and every track was booking Funny Cars.
Still working on a hobbyist’s home garage budget, Joe bought the sheet metal from a
‘65 Corvair and molded his own fiberglass body. He lengthened the original 92" wheel-
base out to 108" to improve handling at the higher speeds he expected and dropped
the body onto his homebuilt chassis. Although very sturdily built, the car weighed only
1,700 lbs., far less than the typical 2,500+ lbs. for most Funny Cars of the day. The car’s
considerably lighter weight gave Joe’s Corvair an advantage, and that allowed him to
stick with his proven 377" Small Block Chevy for reliable power. It all worked very well,
and Joe’s homebuilt Funny was soon running high eight-second ETs. He was also winning open competition events and match races, gaining a reputation with Southeastern
track owners and fans. This success came with a car dubbed “unsafe at any speed” by
author Ralph Nader. One could only wonder what Nader’s reaction would have been
had he known Lunati’s one-off Corvair was cranking out 170 mph speeds.
In early 1966 Funny Car technology took a major leap forward with the introduction of the factory-backed Mercury Comets. These were professionally built, lightweight tube steel chassis with lift-off fiberglass bodies. They began running normally
aspirated, nitro-burning engines, but soon the teams moved to supercharged engines. The “Eliminator 1” Mercury Comet of Dyno Don Nicholson forever changed
the face of Funny Car racing. ETs dropped and speeds soared, but so did the cost of
Funny Car racing.
One of Lunati’s warehouses that stores finished
crankshafts and other rotating components.
TO KEEP UP, Joe built his own tube chassis Funny Car, once again on the concrete
floor of his garage. This car featured a fiberglass 1967 Chevy Camaro body. With a nod
to showmanship, he named it “The Dixie Devil.” For power Joe again reached forward,
building a nitro fueled, Big Block 427 Chevy, boosted by a GM 6-71 supercharger. His
outings with the new car were quickly successful. Lunati even found himself in the final
round of Funny Car Eliminator at the 1967 NHRA U.S. Nationals. This meteoric rise
came just one year after his 1966 Street Eliminator win.
Joe’s home-built racer lost in the final to Doug Thorley’s Corvair, but this low-buck
effort made many take notice. Not long after the ’67 Nationals, Lunati’s ’67 Camaro
was destroyed in a crash at LaPlace, Louisiana. Rather than immediately build a new
car, the crash made Lunati reflect on the rising costs and hazards of running a nitro
Funny Car. Even with his quickly achieved success Joe saw ominous clouds forming
on the horizon.
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 87
Joe had funded the Camaro as a weekend racing enterprise without a major financial sponsor. The expenses of fielding a competitive, nitro Funny Car were rising almost as fast as their 200+ MPH speeds, and most of the teams were either factory
backed or enjoyed funding through big sponsorships. To remain competitive with the
ever-escalating speeds meant teams had to push their engines to dangerous extremes,
with expensive engine damage the usual result. The rapidly rising expenses came with
an even more alarming increase in serious accidents.
THE FUNNY CAR CLASS became plagued with engine and transmission explosions, terrible oil fires and spectacular crashes. Many notable drivers suffered serious
injuries and burns. With a wife and family to consider, Joe decided to get out of Funny
Car racing before fate stepped in. He decided to turn his attention instead to the racing
products business, and specifically, camshafts and valve train components.
Joe’s first involvement with camshafts came after learning the craft while working for an engine rebuilder in Memphis. After he finished his day job grinding cams
for engine rebuilds he would stay late at the shop and grind what became known as
“cheater stock” cams. In 1968 he sold his first one, launching him into the racing
Joe had uncovered a niche market with NHRA Stock Eliminator racers, a popular
category in Memphis and on the east coast. The NHRA rules of those days allowed
a clever cam grinder to create a cam that increased horsepower yet still checked as
“legal” in the NHRA tech teardown barn. The rules stated which specs of a factory
cam would be checked, and Joe’s early stocker cams focused on taking advantage of
the areas that weren’t. The result was an immediate, notable increase in horsepower
that helped racers gain as much as a half-second reduction in elapsed time. It was a
spectacular performance improvement.
Joe’s little niche was mostly ignored by the major cam companies. He gained both
knowledge and a following with his Junior Stock cheater cams. These were reground
on stock camshaft cores that carried the required original factory part number.
In 1968 Joe purchased his first cam grinder and stepped wholeheartedly into the
racing cam business. He called his new venture Lunati Cams and decided to focus his
efforts on drag and regional circle track racing.
88 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Here you can see finished camshafts waiting
to be packaged and shipped to customers.
Joe’s Junior Stock cheater cams continued to be his core market and allowed him
to expand into the more lucrative Small Block and Big Block Chevy drag racing and
Late Model Dirt Modified circle track markets. His friendly, outgoing personality and
reputation for honesty helped his new cam and valve train company grow quickly.
Within a few years Lunati branched out into selling complete engine assembly
products in the form of crankshafts, rods and pistons, in addition to cam and valve train
products for racing. Lunati had become a one-stop source for do-it-yourself and smaller professional race engine builders. A partnership with Bill Taylor, another Memphis
racer and founder of TCI (Torque Converters Inc.) resulted in a line of forged aluminum pistons, marketed as “Lunati/Taylor.”
Today Lunati valve train and rotating components are a staple for grassroots dirt racers.
DURING THESE DECADES OF GROWTH, Joe Lunati continued to be at the center of his company. His customers and fellow racers came to respect and trust him as a man
of his word who backed his products. A call to Lunati often resulted in Joe himself taking
the call, answering tech questions and taking orders from racers and engine builders.
For assistance in growing the new company Joe turned to his wife (Peggy), daughter
( Judy) and son (Joey). The Lunati family was involved in the operation from the earliest, with Joe working both in the shop and the offices to keep the ball rolling. This dayto-day stability also allowed Joe to use his vision in reading the market and customer
base as well as permitted him to expand his deal-making activities. Joe’s easy-going
manner and strong code of business ethics brought a steady stream of opportunities
for the former Memphis racer.
Peggy, who had worried about her husband’s safety while he was driving the dangerous, unpredictable nitro Funny Cars, jumped wholeheartedly into her key role
with the growing company. Assisted by daughter Judy, the mother-daughter team
handled daily office and business chores, including finances and banking. Joey Lunati quickly became a multi-talented, key employee, manning the phones to answer
tech assistance calls.
Along the way Joe also collected numerous personal accolades recognizing his career in racing and the industry. He was inducted into the NHRA Drag Racing Hall of
Fame in 2006, the NHRA Southeast Division Hall of Fame in 1987, and HOT ROD
magazine’s 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame in 1977. Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 89
In the early 1990s, Wall Street’s big money interests came to view the performance-racing aftermarket as a cash-rich arena ripe with potential for lucrative acquisitions. One of these investment groups purchased industry icon Holley then set out to
diversify their holdings with other performance automotive companies. Holley quickly
went on a buying binge, placing Lunati squarely in its sights. After negotiations, Joe
Lunati sold Lunati Cams to Holley Performance in 1998.
By design of the new ownership, Joe’s company was quickly changed from its
one-on-one customer base to a completely different business model. Rather than
focusing on its racer-direct and engine builder customer base, the new managers
decided to re-make Lunati into a wholesale distribution manufacturer. Individual
service and fast turnaround were abandoned for large, bulk freight orders to national
warehouse distributing firms. Long term customers were turned away and told to
buy from other sources.
The marketplace failed to embrace this new direction. The new Lunati struggled,
sales declined and Lunati’s original, profit generating customer base fell by the wayside.
Added to this, the national economy had begun an agonizing decline. After weathering
increasingly tough economic times, the financial managers at Holley decided it was
time to divest of some of its holdings, and Lunati was placed on the block.
In 2007 Lunati Cams & Cranks was purchased from Holley Performance Products.
The new owners are also investors, but this partnership is comprised of industry and
racing veterans, rather than Wall Street capitalists. Where the prior owners had no understanding or involvement in the market, Lunati’s new owners are industry insiders.
One of the first moves made was to return the company’s direction to the products and
racer service that made Lunati successful.
Products include, of course, a complete selection of racing and performance cams
and valve train components. They are joined by forged aluminum pistons, wrist pins
and piston rings, forged steel crankshafts, main and rod bearings, both H-Beam and
I-Beam forged steel connecting rods and a variety of component matched packages
and kits. All Lunati products are expertly recommended by the hands-on tech staff.
Likely as not, when you call you’ll be speaking with a tech staff member who’s also a
weekend racer and knows what works best.
By returning to its prior successful business philosophy Lunati Power has prospered and established its own customer base, providing racers and engine builders
with top quality products, cutting-edge technology, racer-friendly tech support, “I
need it now” service and affordable prices. Source
90 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Today, Lunati travels the United States with a
full parts display to show off the newest products. Also available is a fully trained technical
staff to answer any questions you may have
– FREE of charge.
Social Media SOUND OFF FACEBOOK / TWITTER / MULTIMEDIA
We recently posed the question below to the 118,000+ fans of the OneDirt.com Facebook page. Emotions run
deep within the dirt racing community on this issue and the responses were wide ranging from high praise to
pure hatred. Below is a hand-picked sampling of the best responses. Got an opinion on this matter? We want to
hear it at www.facebook.com/onedirtdotcom or via any of our other social media channels listed below.
SAVIOR OR SATAN OF DIRT RACING?
Crate classes without claimer rule is satan because the big money teams
just hop them up and reseal them Really defeats the WHOLE point
Satanic!!! Especially for IMCA Mods!! Last I heard it was the International
Motor Contest Assoc. NOT the International Crate Motor Assoc. Build em,
Don’t buy em!!
Savior we run a crate and had 18 wins last season. 5 more wins than the
deep pocket boys with fully built crates
OneDirt is active on all major social networks and digital content publishing
platforms. Join us as we spread the word
about dirt racing around the world.
These are some of our favorite Twitter
personalities. They’ll keep you entertained & informed about all things dirt.
Hate them. Big money guys still tweek them and re-seal them. Can’t work
on them without paying someone to re-certify them. Our B-Mod built motor has way more power than a “stock” sealed crate.
@Kenny_Wallace The former NASCAR
driver turned Dirt Modified racer is good
for a laugh and crazy antics from the road.
I’d say more like purgatory while they have the lower price tag and make
it more affordable your stuck with what you have and even crate motors
vary in power between manufacturers.
John Andrade III
Satan... Spec motors would be the way to go... Less expensive and still
keeps the engine builder in business
Depends on tech...can be a great stepping stone or it can just be another
out dollar the next guy class
I like the idea of crate motor classes. The biggest problem I’ve seen locally
with late models, is due to the engines being so equal, more money has
to be spent everywhere else on the car to try to find an advantage. Way
too expensive light weight/low drag components are almost necessary to
run up front. Crates with a shock rule and other cost lowering rules would
Crates are like watching paint dry, Therefore I vote Satan
It doesn’t matter if it’s a crate motor or a built motor. Either way, money
talks. Bullshit walks.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
@msrmafia Twitter account of dirt racing PR man and announcer, Ben Shelton.
What he lacks in height he makes up for
in hair gel and racing insight.
@Cornettthunder Want to know what’s
going down with Late Model racing in
the Southeast? Follow this guy.
@SnotBloomquist Paraody account
of driver Scott Bloomquist will keep you
laughing all the way to the track. But be
warned, this account is equal opportunity when it comes to offending.
@Braddoty18 Former driver and current dirt racing TV analyst is a great resource for behind the scenes stories
(plus he’s an all-around great person).
@EldoraSpeedway How can you not
follow the official account for one of the
most recognizable dirt racing facilities in
the world? Just do it.
@TheDirtNetwork Our brother from another mother. Based out of Western Pennsylvania, this account covers news, opinion and interviews from the dirt world.
@sooner7nc One of the hardest working guys in racing, Lonnie is always good
for the latest scoops especially in the
Sprint Car realm.
THE GATES THE
After a few lean years,
the good news is that several
promoters with a can-do
attitude are bringing new life
to dirt tracks across America
92 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY of
our sport, watching race tracks close
their doors is nothing new. However,
over the past decade it seems like the rate
of expiration for tracks has been stuck on
fast forward as we’ve watched helplessly
as facility after facility ceased their operations at an alarming rate. It’s no doubt
been a tough time in the history of our
sport, but recent happenings seem to indicate that maybe, just maybe, things are
starting to head in a better direction.
DISCLAIMER: Before you read any
further please note that this is going to be
a positive article with a positive outlook
for the future of our sport. If being a
pessimist when it comes to viewing every
aspect of the racing world is a way of
life for you … well, this might be a great
time to exit stage left.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s
get to it. As outlined earlier in this piece,
countless tracks have seen their doors
closed for business in recent times. However, over the course of the past year I’ve
noticed a reemergence of some of these
previously shuttered facilities with new
ones also coming into existence for the
first time in recent memory.
Central Missouri Speedway (Warrensburg, Missouri) played host to over
two decades of outstanding racing atop
its clay surface before the end of the
2011 season, when promoters Earl and
Susan Walls made the tough decision to
close the doors of the facility. A variety
of factors played into the decision,
including issues with increased taxes as
well as other economic woes.
However, by late 2013 the Walls had
heard hundreds of requests from drivers
and fans who were looking for a good track
to run weekly. As a result, they decided to
reopen the facility for the 2014 season.
“A lot of good people needed a place
to race, so we decided we would come
out of retirement and give it another
shot,” noted Earl Walls. “We really enjoy
running the track and always have. It’s
good to have it open again.”
With a few events under their belt
thus far this season, the track has enjoyed good crowds and good car counts
and hopes the trend continues.
Further to the south in Alabama,
businessman Wayne Burns has already
taken the reigns of one closed track
and is currently looking to complete
the paperwork on another. Burns, who
formerly ran Thunderhill Raceway
(Summertown, Tennessee) reopened
North Alabama Speedway (Tuscumbia,
Alabama) this season. The 1/3-mile
bullring had previously been run by Jeff
Greer for over a decade before seeing
its doors closed late in the 2012 season
due to dwindling fan and racer support.
After sitting idle throughout 2013
Burns announced his intent to reopen
the track in 2014 and run on Saturday
evenings. While there have been some
bumps early in the process he hopes to
make the track profitable once again to
return it to its former glory.
“North Alabama Speedway is just
too good of a place to not be open, and
I want to do everything I can to keep
it going,” comments Burns. “While
weekly shows have always been a bit
of a struggle, that place has had some
legendary special events over the years.
I hope to be able to build the fan base
and car count back up so that we can try
some big specials down the road.
“It’s just definitely a work in progress,
so I hope folks will bear with me.” As if
History has shown
that the true patrons
of racing don’t take
“no” for an answer,
and we aren’t quitters.
Burns didn’t already have a full plate getting the Tuscumbia oval on its feet again,
he is also actively pursuing a lease on
Moulton Speedway (Moulton, Alabama),
which has been closed for almost a year.
The track, which is located approximately 40 miles to the southeast of North
Alabama Speedway, saw its operations
come to an abrupt halt in mid-2013.
“I would love to operate Moulton on
Friday nights,” said Burns. “I know it’s
always been a Saturday night track, but
Arkadelphia Speedway (another track
reopened for 2014) is doing a great job
on Saturday nights, and I don’t want
to step on them. Plus, I hope to work
hand-in-hand with promotions between
North Alabama Speedway and Moulton
Speedway to allow drivers to run the two
tracks.” With a laugh he notes, “I know
people think I’m crazy, and maybe they’re
right, but I just want to do my part to try
and keep racing going around here.”
Several other tracks across the country
have reopened over the past year, including Lexington 104 Speedway (Lexington,
Tennessee), Hattiesburg Motorsports
Park (Hattiesburg, Mississippi), I-75
Motor Speedway (Murphy, Tennessee),
Thunder Valley Speedway (Glenmora,
Louisiana), Poplar Bluff Speedway (Poplar Bluff, Missouri) and a host of others.
While old tracks are reopened we’ve
also seen some new tracks opening their
doors for business. Owner of W&W
Timber, Billy White, built Timberline
Speedway (Corley, Texas), and it opened
for business for 2013. The facility went
through the typical growing pains in its
maiden season but enjoyed some big
crowds and good racing.
With the track now in its sophomore
season, track promoter, Chris Green,
comments, “We all definitely learned a
lot last year, and we’ve used it to make
the experience for the racers and fans
that much better in 2014. Running a
race track is a tough business, but we’ve
had some great support. At the end of
the day that makes it all worth it.”
In East Tennessee veteran fans and
racers alike have mourned the demolition
of the former Atomic Speedway (Lenoir
City, Tennessee). For several seasons the
facility was the benchmark of racing in
the area with countless big events being
held at the 1/3-mile, high-banked oval.
Unfortunately, the track was sold to a
trucking company a few years ago and
turned into a distribution center.
However, over the past year on
an adjacent property, I-40 Speedway
has been under construction and the
¼-mile oval is nearing completion.
While the facility doesn’t replace all of
the history lost with the demolition of
Atomic Speedway, at least racers and
the fans will have a place to go.
While the stories of new and old
tracks reopening seem to be abounding, the reality is that some just won’t
make it. It’s just the way things work.
Even in the best of economic times our
sport has struggled to find its feet in
some markets. However, to me it’s very
encouraging that some of the great racing playgrounds that seemed to be lost
forever are now being reanimated. Even
if they aren’t able to succeed under the
new management, the fact that they are
open again will present opportunities to
draw new racers, new fans, and maybe
even new ownership down the road.
History has shown that the true patrons
of racing don’t take “no” for an answer, and
we aren’t quitters. We fight for what we
love, and we take care of our own. And if
you really think about it, isn’t that what this
great country was founded upon? Never
giving up and never saying die to fight for
the things that hold our passion.
So I say kudos to all of the promoters, owners and management giving
life to race tracks across our nation. It’s
not easy, and at times it’s not fun. But
it’s what we love to do. Who knows,
maybe, just maybe, it will lead to more
tracks returning from the grave. If we
don’t try, then we don’t know. Race on
everybody! Photo by Rick Schwallie
Fast FORWARD SCHEDULES / EVENTS / RACES
Doug Murphrey Memorial
The Doug Murphrey Memorial consistently
draws close to 100 cars, making it one of the
largest and most prestigious Dirt Modified
events in the country. The race is only eight
years old but has grown every year since its
inaugural running in the mid-2000s. Ark-La-Tex
Racetrack is nicknamed “The Land of 3-Wide,”
meaning that attendees are certain to see a
memorable show as the competitors battle for a
$10,000 first-place check.
With a $100,000 grand prize, The Dream is the
richest event on the annual Dirt Late Model calendar. Both the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
and the World of Outlaws Late Model Series
have scheduled off-weekends at Dream time so
that the best of the best competitors may battle
it out on the Eldora high banks. The DIRTCar
UMP-sanctioned event draws several dozen
cars each year, so just making the A-Main is a
grand feat. However, while the race pays 100
grand to win, the purse for second place drops
to $20,000, often making for a thrilling, all-ornothing-style show.
May 29-31Ark-La-Tex Speedway
June 5-7Eldora Speedway
Nationals (The Hell Tour)
This series is called The Hell Tour for good
reason. Over the course of a just over a month
each summer some of the country’s best Dirt
Late Model teams compete for $5,000-$10,000
top prizes in blistering Midwestern heat. Say
nothing about winning – just surviving this
tour is an accomplishment in itself. In 2014 the
Summer Nationals will consist of 34 events on
dirt ovals across nine states in just 39 days.
The cars chasing the Summit Modified Nationals crown also appear at nearly every stop.
June 11-July 19Variety of Midwestern
& Southern Dirt Tracks
Photos by Rick Schwallie
This is one of the richest races on the World of
Outlaws Sprint Car Series tour with $50,000 going to the winner. It also just so happens to take
place at the half-mile Eldora Speedway – one of
dirt racing’s grand cathedrals. The grueling 40lap event is a test of both man and machine with
the victor, or King of Kings, presented a crown,
cape, scepter and seat upon an oversized throne.
Big-time NASCAR racing returned to its roots in
2013 with the inaugural MudSummer Classic, a
Camping World Truck Series event that was won
by Austin Dillon in front of a sold-out crowd. The
popular race returns in 2014 and is once again
one of the hottest tickets in the sport. Drivers and
fans alike love the event’s format that includes
qualifying, heat races and a last-chance race
before the 150-lap feature. While a race night
schedule like this is common for most short track
series, it is unique to NASCAR. Dirt Late Models
are also on hand during Wednesday’s main event
program and Tuesday night’s undercard.
July 11-12Eldora Speedway
July 22- 23Eldora Speedway
94 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Dirt Track Championship
USMTS is widely regarded as the preeminent
sanctioning body for Dirt Modifieds, and this
race has quickly become one of its marquee
events. Although the USMTS holds dozens of
races each year, this 100-lap showdown at the
3/8-mile Deer Creek Speedway is one that every
single Dirt Modified competitor has circled on
his calendar. The A-Main pays $20,000 to win,
but it’s the bragging rights that come along with
besting so much other talent that keeps top
teams coming back.
July 23-26Deer Creek Speedway
Spring Valley, MN
USA Nationals 100
Battle at the Chip
410 Knoxville Nationals
Not only is Cedar Lake Speedway one of the
prettiest settings on the World of Outlaws Late
Model Series circuit, the winner of this event
goes home $50,000 richer. But the real reason
to check out this race is for the A-Main driver
intros. Each driver gets the rock star treatment
as the lights go down and a spotlight shines on
his car while it makes its way onto the track.
Meanwhile the fans go crazy with glow sticks in
the grandstands. It is a scene guaranteed to give
you chills, and one trip to this crown jewel event
will keep you coming back year after year.
The site of one of the world’s largest and most
well-known gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts, it probably doesn’t take much to attract
gearheads to Sturgis in early August. If you
need another reason to visit though, in 2014 the
trucks of the TORC Off-Road Championship are
headed to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the
challenging Legendary Buffalo Chip course for
the very first time. These powerful, high-flying
race trucks must battle track obstacles and each
other to reach the checkered flag first. When you
put together TORC and half a million motorcycle
fans the event is sure to be a spectacle.
Ask any Sprint Car driver on the planet which
race they would most like to win and their answer is sure to be the Knoxville Nationals. This
half-mile oval bills itself as the “Sprint Car Capital of the World” and plays host to over 100,000
fans over several days in early August. Legends
of the sport from Wolfgang to Kinser to Schatz
have reached Victory Lane in the ultra-prestigious A-Main. $150,000 goes to the winner and
the total purse is more than $1 million, enticing
Sprint Car teams from around the world to try
their hand on the Iowa dirt. The 410 portion of
the program has been sanctioned by the World
of Outlaws since 2011, while ASCS puts on the
360 Nationals the preceeding week.
July 31-August 2Cedar Lake Speedway
New Richmond, WI
August 5-6The Legendary
August 6-9Knoxville Raceway
One of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series’
crown jewel events, this is also one of the most
distinct Dirt Late Model races anywhere in the
country. Each car competes with its roof sheet
metal removed, providing the passionate fans a
view of the driver working inside that is unparalleled anywhere else in the sport. The 100-lap
race on the lightning-fast 3/8-mile oval in the
hills of picturesque northern Arkansas pays
$40,000 to win.
August 14-16Batesville Motor Speedway
Locust Grove, AR
Issue 1, 2014 / OneDirt.com 95
WHEN THE CHECKERED FLAG DROPS IT IS NOT THE END,
IT IS SIMPLY THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT RACE.
96 OneDirt.com / Issue 1, 2014
Photo by Rick Schwallie
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