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  • Spec Racing???

    Just finished reading Jason Beck's column in the January 2022 issue of the last good racing magazine, Speedway Illustrated. It's a satire about NACARs new spec car. If you don't normally get this magazine, this issue is worthwhile if only for that column.

    However, it got me thinking (not the best thing to do...) about racing in general these days. Think about it, most, if not all major race associations have basically adopted spec rules for their race series. Cup cars next season are being built by a NASCAR specified firm, engines are being supplied by one source per brand, tires have been spec for years, even the bodies will be standardized.

    IndyCar, how many chassis are there? 1! Tires? Same! 2 engines, all spec.

    Formula One Has a new rules package, same deal. No real innovation allowed. Drivetrains are hybrid v6, a few manufacturers, but the rules are so restrictive they might as well just use a spec package. Tires, well 3 spec tires per weekend, soft, intermediate and hard, chosen by Dunlap from 5 plus rains and intermediate wets.

    NHRA, you say. Except that the pro classes, TF and FC, are for all practical purposes, spec series. 500 ci hemi, blower specified, tires, etc. And Prostock, it's become a joke, sorry GM and Chevrolet. Lower classes? None that interest me as a spectator. I've never been much for going 1/4 mile then stoping.

    SCCA? I've been a member for 33 years, only IT, Improved Touring, was reachable by most of us. I don't know if it's the same today, so anyone that has current experience please weigh in. The original idea was take a showroom stock car that had aged out, make a few changes, and race it to death. So basically very restrictive rules. Good but still effectively spec classes.

    Dirt racing up here in the northeast? Again the rules are so restrictive they might as well just use a spec package. No place for those who want to build something different, or run a different engine. The era I raced in had weight limits for unlimited engines, and a weight break for under 360 ci engines, running any fuel and injection. Now it's a carbureted 467 ci big block on gas, or a 358 ci engine on gas. They don't race together.

    Lower classes? Rule books are too thick there too. I could go on and on...

    You guys that do land speed racing probably have the least restrictive rules, and are a last bastion of individualism. And I can imagine that you get a real rush driving as fast as your wallet allows. I've never tried it so I won't knock it. The only problem is that there's not a lot of venues available for all of us to race at. Can you imagine if 10 % of all the other racers showed up at one of those weekends to race? I'm thinking that everyone might get 1 run in.

    So you ask, where the ^"# is he going with this drivel? I'm thinking that some enterprising promoters in various regions could develop a form of racing where the rulebook is mainly safety related, with only a minimum dry weight, a maximum width and length and height, and a maximum tire width. All else open to your imagination. Oh and maybe a claim rule. $5000. Or maybe not. And one old NASCAR rule, that one that basically said anything outside the spirit of the rules would be banned, with 1 caveat. An owner's counsel having the final say.

    And no changes to race on dirt, asphalt, road courses, dragstips, road rally, or whatever venues people want to race on. Also let's agree on one other aspect: no prize money. Only bragging rights.

    That's my feeble attempt. It's free-for-all time

  • #2
    I do ultimate street car stuff.... which means SCCA Solo, and about ten thousand other groups doing the same thing. To me racing isn't about being competitive, I don't have the large fortune for that.... that said, get a Miata and go autocross... cheap fun, highly competitive but still fun.

    Doing it all wrong since 1966

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    • #3
      I am not really a fan on No prep drag racing but it's a run what you brung with very few classes normally. Sometimes just 2 big tire little tire. They are money races.

      I want to try bracket racing. I think that might be the last low buck competitive race.

      LSR will always be my favorite. But until Dan wins the lottery and we build a track in eastern NC it's just a dream / memory.

      My lastest racing drug of choice has been drag and drive events. Hot Rod Drag week. I am curious to see how Sick Week turns out. Sound like they are trying to make it more focused on fun and less on torture.

      I have never raced round track. You need team to do that and normally I am a one man band unfortunately.
      http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...-consolidation

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      • #4
        I very much dislike the cheating and smack talk associated with Drag, but love the camaraderie and integrity of LSR.

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        • #5
          It appears to me that as long as there is a rule book there will be cheating or creative interpretations

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SuperBuickGuy View Post
            I do ultimate street car stuff.... which means SCCA Solo, and about ten thousand other groups doing the same thing. To me racing isn't about being competitive, I don't have the large fortune for that.... that said, get a Miata and go autocross... cheap fun, highly competitive but still fun.
            At Road America, The Miata class is car specific class. But it is fun to see entry level drivers giving it all on a LARGE Open Road course. Basically they stay bunched up, and few crashes other than "Run Off's",
            and the "DNF" mechanical failures.
            (which for some a Bad Hair Day, as this was their Ride Home)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cstmwgn View Post
              It appears to me that as long as there is a rule book there will be cheating or creative interpretations
              Not much in LSR and I think it's because there's no money involved. I've said that the only thing we take seriously is safety with the rest getting pretty silly. Because there are so many classes you see so much weird stuff and that's a big part of the fun. It takes a while to learn how to read the rule book but once you get on to it there's logic behind it.

              I moved away from drag racing due to the back stabbing and cheating. I know that isn't true for every competitor but there's enough of that that it took the fun out of it for me.

              Dan

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cstmwgn View Post
                It appears to me that as long as there is a rule book there will be cheating or creative interpretations
                This has Always Been Part of Racing....

                There's the Cheater.....
                and the 2nd as Good Cheater,
                followed by the Rest of the Not So Good Cheaters......

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cstmwgn View Post
                  It appears to me that as long as there is a rule book there will be cheating or creative interpretations
                  I was always creative in my derby car builds.
                  Several of my ideas are limited. Like bolting skins together. But I also was legal. When Tech said I was illegal, I handed them thr rule sheets and say “show me”
                  There is a huge satisfaction beating illegal cars with the legal car... it hurts to lose to illegal cars... Main reason illegal cars are in is to make car counts. A 5 car derby is boring to watch while a 25 car show is much better..
                  Nowadays most venues are lucky to get 20 cars. Most are around 10. In the 90’s there were 40 car shows.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Captain View Post

                    At Road America, The Miata class is car specific class. But it is fun to see entry level drivers giving it all on a LARGE Open Road course. Basically they stay bunched up, and few crashes other than "Run Off's",
                    and the "DNF" mechanical failures.
                    (which for some a Bad Hair Day, as this was their Ride Home)
                    It was fun watching the buzz bombs at Rockingham bump drafting on the straightaway going 80 mph! Man, that LOOKS like fun. That was with NASA and they also have a class for SPEC Iron (Stock Mustangs in full race trim). Between the two I wouldn't guess which is more expensive to do.

                    One of the outfits I drove with, I can't remember if it was Tracks Unlimited or Hooked on Driving, they had a Chump class. You had to prove you paid $500 or less for the car and you could not add anything that would improve the performance. But you could put a million dollars' worth of safety equipment on it if you wanted to. They were very good drivers, most of them were instructors for the HPDE classes. In trade for their time as instructors they were given track time for free. And they raced door to door all the way around the road course at AMP. One might think they'd just wreck each other for fun but they've got a whole lot more wrench time in the car than money and if they wreck it they have to find and build another one.
                    Last edited by pdub; December 28, 2021, 10:22 AM.
                    Charter member of the Turd Nuggets

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                    • #11
                      I see some morons doing the smack talk crap like they see on TV, running their mouths online, not their cars. I still like the run what ya brung aspect of no prep especially hard tire, because even if you can make eleventybillion hp, if all you do is smoke the tires, you lose. It becomes far more about suspension tuning and power management than about making ludicrous power. The idea of a fast daily driver appeals to me, particularly sleepers. So things like Drag Week and RMRW interest me, some friends have done them and I want to do it. I was admonished to build my 65 LeMans Gasser by one of our illustrious admin/editors here on a youtube livestream, so its in the works with a new bullet for it.

                      LSR is cool, but B'ville is a damn long drive for me, and yet its a bucket list item to take something out there and make some runs. Still need to do the Big Blue Mile Shootout a few miles from the family farm, if Grantski is still doing it. He was two years ahead of me in school, so we go way back. I really want to make that McLaren look slow... I have some ideas for a ride that will scare the hell out of me.

                      There is nobody and nowhere to race up here, so I haven't bothered to continue building to go race. Now that I have some reliable trucks, only two dogs, and more cash since the ex wife and land is paid off, I am looking to go racing again. Not brackets, thats boring to me, sit in the lanes for hours, make a couple passes, lose first or second round... because my dial is off or I cut a crappy light. Cheap to do, but how much fun is it 'racing' a 14 second beater? heads up on a street tire sounds like fun to me, and I let the mouths say what they will... its fun building sleepers and sandbagging people.

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                      • #12
                        It seems we're all in agreement! When I raced dirt modified way back, I too liked reading the rulebook instead of just spending big bucks. As an example, the rules stated we were to use 20 gauge SHEETMETAL (emphasis on purpose). So I bought 3 sheets of 20 gauge ALUMINUM 6061 T3 through work. Did everything but the body in that. They required real body metal still.

                        We get to the track opening night, line up for tech, purposely leaving a cotter pin out of the seatbelt snaps (hey give them something easy to find and fix, right?). Paul Roberts, the inspector, takes a small magnet out of his pocket and tries to stick it to the interior bodywork, which of course it didn't stick to.

                        Now he's going all around the car checking out the sheetmetal. I'm just leaning on the tow truck waiting. He comes over, never checking the seatbelts or fuel cell, and tells us to take it home and redo all of the interior bodywork from the firewall back, as it's not 20 gauge sheetmetal.

                        I was prepared for this. I had brought a dictionary and the current rulebook, both marked to sheetmetal. To quote Webster's dictionary: sheetmetal, any of a number of malleable metals, such as iron, steel, aluminum or copper, that can be rolled into thin sheets. Pointing out that definition to Paul, we were allowed to race, and because that track didn't change rules once the season started, we were good for the year. And because we didn't need to redo any of the interior bodywork for the next year, grandfathered!

                        However, they did change that rule for the next year for new or rebuilt cars. 20 gauge magnetic steel sheetmetal only.

                        Dangerous? Probably, but Jim was okay with it, and he had spent 6 months in a burn ward his first season of racing 14 years earlier. He asked me how he would know if fuel was burning. I told him if the firewall drips around your feet, stop and get out.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cstmwgn View Post
                          It appears to me that as long as there is a rule book there will be cheating or creative interpretations
                          I visited the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Museum in Darlington probably 40 years ago. At the time they had a big glass display case full of confiscated parts. Almost every one of them were off of Junior Johnson cars. You gotta know he left a cotter pin out on purpose but they knew without looking that when he showed he was cheating. I'm sure that's a fun game to play unless you're the inspector and you can't find anything out of whack but you "know" it's there.

                          Darrell Waltrip (and everybody else) talked about it, for years there was one inspector. He would check the same cylinder displacement on every car, never check a different cylinder. So how long did it take for everybody to make that one cylinder be spec and all the others were huge? If everybody's cheating the same way they're back to equal again, rule book or not.
                          Last edited by pdub; December 28, 2021, 05:11 PM.
                          Charter member of the Turd Nuggets

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pdub View Post


                            Darrell Waltrip (and everybody else) talked about it, for years there was one inspector. He would check the same cylinder displacement on every car, never check a different cylinder. So how long did it take for everybody to make that one cylinder be spec and all the others were huge? If everybody's cheating the same way they're back to equal again, rule book or not.
                            Don't try that at Bonneville. We grab a cylinder at random and no, you can't outguess the tech staff. Sometimes they even do 2 cylinders. You can do almost anything to your engine as long as you declare your displacement, gas of fuel, and blown or NA. So the least you can do is report your displacement correctly - and the DO check at SCTA-sanctioned tracks.

                            Dan

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DanStokes View Post

                              Don't try that at Bonneville. We grab a cylinder at random and no, you can't outguess the tech staff. Sometimes they even do 2 cylinders. You can do almost anything to your engine as long as you declare your displacement, gas of fuel, and blown or NA. So the least you can do is report your displacement correctly - and the DO check at SCTA-sanctioned tracks.

                              Dan
                              So I assume that a stock class would only allow safety related changes, such as rollcage, belts, seat, fire system, and speed rated tires. Looking at the rulebook you gave me, it appears that there's a place for anything as long as it passes safety tech. I sussed out the Mini for example, and because of the expected speed, it would be legal with an SCCA spec approved rollcage and all the other safety equipment. And if it were to have a 998 cc engine, it would be a very low class. I don't think I'd want to do over 100 mph in it, 80 inch wheel base so kind of twitchy, but I'm still thinking about it.

                              But back to the original statement, safety related rules aside, where is a sanction that has a skinny rulebook and wheel to wheel racing? Where building a car using your talent instead of your wallet?

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