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Rear-engined Sprint cars?


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#51 Frank S

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 15:55

Originally posted by Bryce Armstrong
What about rear-engined Midgets?

I'll get in my complete and entire contribution early:
I saw one be not-very-successful on a rough clay track at Orange Show Stadium, San Bernardino, California, in about April or May, 1962. My faded memory is that it was faded red and relatively sticker-free; no idea what manufacturer, sponsor, or driver was involved. The End.

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#52 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 00:56

Posted Image
Roy Campbell on the left and Mike Lindorfer on the right. Jerry Hansens Lola Sprint car.
photo Hansen Family collection

#53 Peter Leversedge

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 10:04

To me there is only one place to race a sprint car and that is on the dirt with the engine plate about 38 inches in front of the rear axle, that is a REAL Sprintcar !!!

#54 martyk

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 19:59

Here's Bill Sullivan in a Rear-engine Champ Car on DIRT:

Posted Image
Hosted on Fotki

and a rear-engine, Corvair powered midget:

Posted Image

and finally, another rear-engine sprintcar:
Posted Image

#55 Allen Brown

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 16:25

Originally posted by martyk
Here's Bill Sullivan in a Rear-engine Champ Car on DIRT:

Posted Image
Hosted on Fotki

Is this the car Phil Harms lists as a "Taylor"? It appeared as the #17 Light Duty Racers Spl at DuQuoin a month earlier, piloted by George Morris.

Allen

#56 Allen Brown

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 19:49

Thanks for digging this out. I've taken the liberty of cleaning it up and reposting it so we can comment on it.

Posted Image

If it is a Lola, then it's closer to being a T140 or T142. If it was a T190 or later, we wouldn't be able to see those suspension arms. However, the angle of those arms and the position of the pickups on the chassis isn't right for a T140 or T142. The bodywork could be modified T140 but it's not quite right.

The lack of chassis pontoons rules out Eagle, McLaren, Surtees and a host of other monocoque cars. It's not a McKee, Vulcan or Caldwell. I don't know what it is.

Allen

A mere four years ago we were discussing this car but got nowhere. Now, thanks to the generosity of a programme collector, I have found mention of this car in a qualifying sheet for the June 1970 Sears Point F5000 race. Last in qualifying, and 25% slower than pole, was Earl G. Kelley of San Jose in a #78 "Custom Space Frame Spl Chev".

So I'd guess that was some sort of custom space frame Special with a Chev engine. :)

#57 Graham Clayton

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:37

A photo of Ray Kenen Sr's rear-engined car at a dirt track in Kokomo, Indiana:

http://www.flickr.co...ing/3593795868/

Does anyone have any information on either Kenen or this car?

#58 Michael Ferner

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 15:21

Kenens was from Lafayette, Indiana. I don't have much on him, but he ran USAC on and off from ca. 1966 till '72. In '66, he qualified 19th out of 31 for the Reading (PA) Fairgrounds races on June 11, the tragic event that took both Jud Larson and Red Riegel. Kenens was 6th in the 10-lap consy, and finished 9th in the 30-lap main for 6 points, good for 50th overall that year. He also competed at Terre Haute a week later, finishing 5th in the 10-lap consy, but did not place in the top 12 of the twin 30 main. In 1967, he was a DNQ at Eldora, July 2, and in 1971 he competed at the Knoxville (IA) Nationals (Aug 14), qualifying 26th and finishing 13th in the 30-lap main. The following year, he took part in the USAC opener at Cincinnati (OH) on March 12, was 2nd in the last heat and 11th in the 40-lap feature, then at Eldora again (April 2) he was 2nd in the first heat, and 12th in the 40-lap main. He was not listed in the season's standings, indicating that he went "outlaw" later that year.

Ray Kenens was the first driver of David Le Fevre's first Sprint Car, and he probably drove that car in all the 60s results listed above; it was #25 in 1967. The later appearances were probably all int the Lowell Sauders (Saunders? Sauder??) #35. Both were "conventional" Chevy-powered Sprinters, as far as I am aware. I know nothing about the #4 pictured.


EDIT: On the same site, http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/ shows a picture of Kenens (left) with the Sauders #35 in the background. By the way, the note "This photo was taken circa 1950" is only about two decades off! :rolleyes:

Edited by Michael Ferner, 12 October 2011 - 15:29.


#59 Jim Thurman

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 17:21

A mere four years ago we were discussing this car but got nowhere. Now, thanks to the generosity of a programme collector, I have found mention of this car in a qualifying sheet for the June 1970 Sears Point F5000 race. Last in qualifying, and 25% slower than pole, was Earl G. Kelley of San Jose in a #78 "Custom Space Frame Spl Chev".

So I'd guess that was some sort of custom space frame Special with a Chev engine. :)

Excellent Allen :up: Between a move and other life matters (like trying to make some money) keeping me occupied, I haven't been able to dig further through the collection of race papers.

I did mention that it might have been a home built special :D

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#60 RStock

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 18:10

The thing about these rear-engined sprint cars is that I would classify very few of them actually as sprint cars but to me would be super modifieds. But then, once supers quit using production car frames the line between a sprint car and supers became very blurred, and modern day sprinters are actually a meld of supers and sprints, so, confusing myself I'll call it a moot point and move on.

The other thing about USAC outlawing these rear-engined cars, I agree it was probably a mistake. But also to be considered, was there ever a rear-engined car, super or sprint, that was even close to successful on the dirt? I haven't seen one but that doesn't mean it never existed. And who knows where it would have went if the cars had been allowed.

My point here is, I don't think the dirt guys ever worried about the rear-engined cars as they were not really seen as a threat. There was a fellow here locally who built a rear-engined modified (not a super modified, there is a difference) and it was so miserably slow there was no need to ban it, no one else wanted to go that route and he himself gave up on it rather quickly.

So I think the main problem if rear-engined cars were allowed is we would have ended up with separate classes for pavement and dirt supers/sprints (though that is where we are now only all are front engined). It would have been interesting to see if someone could have made it work, but (and I'm guessing here) the fact they don't exist now isn't only because they were feared and banned, but also were seen as impractical on dirt. Not being able to make that switch as easily as the traditional super/sprint from asphalt to pavement might have eventually been the death of them even if not banned.

Just a theory, am I off base here?

Edited by REDARMYSOJA, 12 October 2011 - 18:12.


#61 Bob Riebe

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 19:32

Kenens was from Lafayette, Indiana. I don't have much on him, but he ran USAC on and off from ca. 1966 till '72. In '66, he qualified 19th out of 31 for the Reading (PA) Fairgrounds races on June 11, the tragic event that took both Jud Larson and Red Riegel. Kenens was 6th in the 10-lap consy, and finished 9th in the 30-lap main for 6 points, good for 50th overall that year. He also competed at Terre Haute a week later, finishing 5th in the 10-lap consy, but did not place in the top 12 of the twin 30 main. In 1967, he was a DNQ at Eldora, July 2, and in 1971 he competed at the Knoxville (IA) Nationals (Aug 14), qualifying 26th and finishing 13th in the 30-lap main. The following year, he took part in the USAC opener at Cincinnati (OH) on March 12, was 2nd in the last heat and 11th in the 40-lap feature, then at Eldora again (April 2) he was 2nd in the first heat, and 12th in the 40-lap main. He was not listed in the season's standings, indicating that he went "outlaw" later that year.

Ray Kenens was the first driver of David Le Fevre's first Sprint Car, and he probably drove that car in all the 60s results listed above; it was #25 in 1967. The later appearances were probably all int the Lowell Sauders (Saunders? Sauder??) #35. Both were "conventional" Chevy-powered Sprinters, as far as I am aware. I know nothing about the #4 pictured.


EDIT: On the same site, http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/ shows a picture of Kenens (left) with the Sauders #35 in the background. By the way, the note "This photo was taken circa 1950" is only about two decades off! :rolleyes:

Here is the full home page of the Kennens photo stream--http://www.flickr.co...os/39076275@N04

That fifties comment remains no matter what picture you put up so I do not think it goes with that car but the first one in the stream.

#62 Bob Riebe

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 19:46

The thing about these rear-engined sprint cars is that I would classify very few of them actually as sprint cars but to me would be super modifieds. But then, once supers quit using production car frames the line between a sprint car and supers became very blurred, and modern day sprinters are actually a meld of supers and sprints, so, confusing myself I'll call it a moot point and move on.

The other thing about USAC outlawing these rear-engined cars, I agree it was probably a mistake. But also to be considered, was there ever a rear-engined car, super or sprint, that was even close to successful on the dirt? I haven't seen one but that doesn't mean it never existed. And who knows where it would have went if the cars had been allowed.

My point here is, I don't think the dirt guys ever worried about the rear-engined cars as they were not really seen as a threat. There was a fellow here locally who built a rear-engined modified (not a super modified, there is a difference) and it was so miserably slow there was no need to ban it, no one else wanted to go that route and he himself gave up on it rather quickly.

So I think the main problem if rear-engined cars were allowed is we would have ended up with separate classes for pavement and dirt supers/sprints (though that is where we are now only all are front engined). It would have been interesting to see if someone could have made it work, but (and I'm guessing here) the fact they don't exist now isn't only because they were feared and banned, but also were seen as impractical on dirt. Not being able to make that switch as easily as the traditional super/sprint from asphalt to pavement might have eventually been the death of them even if not banned.

Just a theory, am I off base here?

I think you are correct the RE dirt sprints may have probably been a dead-end street, but at the same time, at this years Minn. state fair, a rear-engined "stock-car" (it was for all practical purposes a very large wedge) was displayed that so thoroughly, on dirt, destroyed track records, including being faster than the top WoO boys in sprint cars, that is was banned before the years end.

It would have been that one probably would have absolutely needed the most high-tech RE sprint car for paved tracks, more like Indy cars with cages. Which wo for those who could have afforded it, kept the road to Indy for sprint car drivers open, except that--buy a ride-- would have closed that door also.

Oswego and Jim Shampine is a good look if one wants a picture of innovation and the short track scene back then.

At the same time, I recently picked up a book on the United Racing Club, and it show that early on most had different cars for dirt and paved tracks.



#63 RStock

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 21:19

at this years Minn. state fair, a rear-engined "stock-car" (it was for all practical purposes a very large wedge) was displayed that so thoroughly, on dirt, destroyed track records, including being faster than the top WoO boys in sprint cars, that is was banned before the years end.


I'd love to see some photos of that thing. I thought the Minnesota State Fairgrounds track was not only paved, but closed. Where exactly was this held?

#64 Jim Thurman

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 21:54

The thing about these rear-engined sprint cars is that I would classify very few of them actually as sprint cars but to me would be super modifieds. But then, once supers quit using production car frames the line between a sprint car and supers became very blurred, and modern day sprinters are actually a meld of supers and sprints, so, confusing myself I'll call it a moot point and move on.

To you, but there were reasons they were classified as sprint cars instead of super modifieds, at least in California.

In Central and Northern California, the pavement dominated super modified racing of the 60's-70's was primarily sanctioned by NASCAR. Front engine only and box frame rail construction. The box frame versus tube frame was the main defining difference between sprints and supers.

Thus, the car in photo driven by Earl Kelley, was not legal to race as a super modified in weekly events. He could only race it in "open" races.

There was some NASCAR super racing on dirt (primarily one track, but by '73, it was off the circuit), and there were independent associations throughout Northern California that raced supers, usually twice a week, but only one of those was exclusively pavement. The others were primarily dirt, though the circuits eventually failed when one of the two tracks on each paved and went their own way.

In Southern California, the "supers" took two paths, growing out of the San Diego Racing Association "Modified Sportsmen" and the California Jalopy Association. The SDRA were fairly sophisticated with innovative CAE and Edmunds chassis and eventually allowed caged sprints to race with them (though they did not allow wings for many years). The CJA, to reflect the ending of the "jalopy" era, changed their name to CAR. Their "super" modifieds had much smaller engines than either the SDRA or NASCAR allowed. CAR petered out in 1968, the SDRA hung on through 1973, and even attempted to re-start a "super" class in 1972, bringing some remarkably old cars out of mothballs (IIRC, only one "new" super was built). A final attempt at restarting a super modified class in So Cal took place with a handful of the same cars and a handful of races about 5 or 6 years later. The SDRA was primarily dirt, except for 1966-71 when it was exclusively pavement, while CAR ran both dirt and pavement.

So, the few attempts at rear engined cars all ran with the CRA sprints. They might have appeared to be "supers' to you, but out here...they were sprint cars. Until the CRA outlawed them after 1978. Non-NASCAR California super racing allowed rear engines until about the mid-80's, a few years after Oswego had banned them...and in the Pacific Northwest, they were allowed a bit later yet.

Edited by Jim Thurman, 12 October 2011 - 21:58.


#65 Bob Riebe

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 17:52

I'd love to see some photos of that thing. I thought the Minnesota State Fairgrounds track was not only paved, but closed. Where exactly was this held?

IT is closed and ripped up, but the IMCA Oldtimers have booth near it every year with a small variety of old race cars.

Posted Image

#66 RStock

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 20:50

To you, but there were reasons they were classified as sprint cars instead of super modifieds, at least in California.

In Central and Northern California, the pavement dominated super modified racing of the 60's-70's was primarily sanctioned by NASCAR. Front engine only and box frame rail construction. The box frame versus tube frame was the main defining difference between sprints and supers.

Thus, the car in photo driven by Earl Kelley, was not legal to race as a super modified in weekly events. He could only race it in "open" races.

There was some NASCAR super racing on dirt (primarily one track, but by '73, it was off the circuit), and there were independent associations throughout Northern California that raced supers, usually twice a week, but only one of those was exclusively pavement. The others were primarily dirt, though the circuits eventually failed when one of the two tracks on each paved and went their own way.

In Southern California, the "supers" took two paths, growing out of the San Diego Racing Association "Modified Sportsmen" and the California Jalopy Association. The SDRA were fairly sophisticated with innovative CAE and Edmunds chassis and eventually allowed caged sprints to race with them (though they did not allow wings for many years). The CJA, to reflect the ending of the "jalopy" era, changed their name to CAR. Their "super" modifieds had much smaller engines than either the SDRA or NASCAR allowed. CAR petered out in 1968, the SDRA hung on through 1973, and even attempted to re-start a "super" class in 1972, bringing some remarkably old cars out of mothballs (IIRC, only one "new" super was built). A final attempt at restarting a super modified class in So Cal took place with a handful of the same cars and a handful of races about 5 or 6 years later. The SDRA was primarily dirt, except for 1966-71 when it was exclusively pavement, while CAR ran both dirt and pavement.

So, the few attempts at rear engined cars all ran with the CRA sprints. They might have appeared to be "supers' to you, but out here...they were sprint cars. Until the CRA outlawed them after 1978. Non-NASCAR California super racing allowed rear engines until about the mid-80's, a few years after Oswego had banned them...and in the Pacific Northwest, they were allowed a bit later yet.


Very true, it's all a matter of perspective. Especially if you can't see the frame they are built on, which was the primary separation between a sprint and a super. In this area the super's main sanctioning body was the NCRA. The cars eventually all looked in appearance like a sprint, but they were still different enough that they pretty much evolved into the same car as a USAC champ car. They even had a USAC/NCRA challenge series for awhile.

Here is a video posted awhile back at a local racing history forum. It's an open competition race from a local dirt track, Boothill Speedway. There is quite a mix of cars there, I'm sure some were sprint cars but most are supers. You can see one that looks like a sprint, but it has a carb so I'm reasonably certain it was a super. Anyway, if you are willing to wait, at about the 6:02 mark you will get a quick glimpse of a rear-engined car competing on dirt.



#67 RStock

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 20:53

IT is closed and ripped up, but the IMCA Oldtimers have booth near it every year with a small variety of old race cars.

Posted Image


Looks like I misunderstood your original post. So this is an older car that is no longer competing? That would explain the large lexan wing on the back, which have been banned for awhile now as far as I know. The guys got pretty wild with that stuff.

#68 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 22:08

A photo of Ray Kenen Sr's rear-engined car at a dirt track in Kokomo, Indiana:

http://www.flickr.co...ing/3593795868/

Does anyone have any information on either Kenen or this car?

No info but that is a far more traditional car, it seems the engine is driving a normal quick chage with no torque tube and the driver has been pushed a lot further forward.
I feel that if all the weights are calculated there will be little difference over a standard Sprinter.

#69 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 22:33

While a rear engined car may sound ideal it probably is not. On longer paved ovals a converted Indy style car would obviuosly be an advantage it is probably not the 'killer' that would be expected.
I have read on these forums that in the 70s one AJ Foyt unloaded his dirt front engined midget ad was on the pace with rear engined cars.

And on true short bitumen and dirt I doubt the monocoque cars would ever hold together. Or be any real advantage.
Just take a decent look at a modern [last 40 years really!!] sprinter. Once you get over thye supposedly rudmentary tube chassis, the upright seating position etc then statt thinking properly. The higher roll centre is advantagous on short tracks, the engine, driver and tank positions largely alleviate any need for a rear engine. There is more weight over the rear than is sometimes needed, eg controlling push.
Personally I think their wings are too wastefull, far flatter and a bit smaller would increase speed into the corners.Probably with no real loss of downforce. [though the wings are a rollover cushion!!] The torque tube system mandated is basically a bound up piece of crap,,, but it does work. But a proper open drive would probably be more beneficial than rear engine. An IRS may be beneficial BUT would be oh so fragile in compaison.
These cars are sophisticated simple, very rugged and simple to repair during a meeting. And can be and often are run quite bent. Unlike a formula car which is far morer precise. And cannot be run with the front 3" out of square!!

#70 bpratt

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 00:52

...and in the Pacific Northwest, they were allowed a bit later yet.


Many rear engined CAMRA super modifieds pictured at this site. As much of the racing in the wet northwest was on pavement rear engined cars were developed/banned as time went on.

http://www.facebook....r...l&filter=12

I have seen photos of rear engined "sprint cars" running with the Washington Auto Racing Association sprint car group as early as 1965. Again, on pavement.

Edited by bpratt, 14 October 2011 - 00:53.


#71 Bob Riebe

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 04:32

While a rear engined car may sound ideal it probably is not. On longer paved ovals a converted Indy style car would obviuosly be an advantage it is probably not the 'killer' that would be expected.
I have read on these forums that in the 70s one AJ Foyt unloaded his dirt front engined midget ad was on the pace with rear engined cars.

And on true short bitumen and dirt I doubt the monocoque cars would ever hold together. Or be any real advantage.
Just take a decent look at a modern [last 40 years really!!] sprinter. Once you get over thye supposedly rudmentary tube chassis, the upright seating position etc then statt thinking properly. The higher roll centre is advantagous on short tracks, the engine, driver and tank positions largely alleviate any need for a rear engine. There is more weight over the rear than is sometimes needed, eg controlling push.
Personally I think their wings are too wastefull, far flatter and a bit smaller would increase speed into the corners.Probably with no real loss of downforce. [though the wings are a rollover cushion!!] The torque tube system mandated is basically a bound up piece of crap,,, but it does work. But a proper open drive would probably be more beneficial than rear engine. An IRS may be beneficial BUT would be oh so fragile in compaison.
These cars are sophisticated simple, very rugged and simple to repair during a meeting. And can be and often are run quite bent. Unlike a formula car which is far morer precise. And cannot be run with the front 3" out of square!!

Jerry Hansen the multi-multi ARRC champion and winner of Trans-Am races, took his Formula-A Lola, modified it to be legal for sprint car racing on the Minnesotat one -half mile paved track and won both IMCA and USAC races while setting track records.
These, plus a similar feat out west by Tom Sneva, with a modified Indy car, greatly influenced their banning by many sanctions.








#72 E1pix

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 08:22

Yes, it was a F5000 Lola T192 — possibly bought from Larry McNeil IIRC, and longtime mechanic (the late) Mike Lindorfer added a full roll cage just so they could run the car in Sprint car events. It did set records, and was quickly sold off (to whom I don't know), and then replaced with the Redman/Haas-Hall T330 in late 1973 for years of club Formula A racing.

[Edit: read Allen's link below, not the Larry McNeil car as I'd stated it might have been]

Edited by E1pix, 14 October 2011 - 23:06.


#73 Allen Brown

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 09:28

This car:

http://www.oldracing...la/t192/#hansen

#74 cheapracer

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 11:03

IT is closed and ripped up, but the IMCA Oldtimers have booth near it every year with a small variety of old race cars.

Posted Image


The photographer could have asked them to move that workbench out of the way so we could see the car ....


#75 RStock

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 20:16

While a rear engined car may sound ideal it probably is not. On longer paved ovals a converted Indy style car would obviuosly be an advantage it is probably not the 'killer' that would be expected.
I have read on these forums that in the 70s one AJ Foyt unloaded his dirt front engined midget ad was on the pace with rear engined cars.

And on true short bitumen and dirt I doubt the monocoque cars would ever hold together. Or be any real advantage.
Just take a decent look at a modern [last 40 years really!!] sprinter. Once you get over thye supposedly rudmentary tube chassis, the upright seating position etc then statt thinking properly. The higher roll centre is advantagous on short tracks, the engine, driver and tank positions largely alleviate any need for a rear engine. There is more weight over the rear than is sometimes needed, eg controlling push.
Personally I think their wings are too wastefull, far flatter and a bit smaller would increase speed into the corners.Probably with no real loss of downforce. [though the wings are a rollover cushion!!] The torque tube system mandated is basically a bound up piece of crap,,, but it does work. But a proper open drive would probably be more beneficial than rear engine. An IRS may be beneficial BUT would be oh so fragile in compaison.
These cars are sophisticated simple, very rugged and simple to repair during a meeting. And can be and often are run quite bent. Unlike a formula car which is far morer precise. And cannot be run with the front 3" out of square!!


Well, the Hansen car shown on Allen Browns site was in the process of lapping the field twice. That's sounds killer to me. I don't know if that is a statement on the quality of competition or a statement on speed advantage. But I do agree that they might not have been the answer on dirt, however we never really saw them advance in design enough to know for sure.

That's sort of where the problem lies for myself, when did this Lola T192 cease being an F5000 and become a sprint car. I suppose when it passed inspection and was allowed under the rules to compete. I just have a hard time still considering it as a rear-engined sprint car. Could you have entered a sprint car in an F5000 race? Was it ever done? Seems if they were close enough to the same type race car you could have (not that anyone would have wanted to)

I'm just having trouble here determining what the definition of is, is.

Edited by REDARMYSOJA, 14 October 2011 - 20:18.


#76 E1pix

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 21:03

This car:
http://www.oldracing...la/t192/#hansen

Great research as always, Allen! I didn't know that the "roll cage" car was the same one Hansen used in 1971, when it was brand-new and purple. Per your "Neenah phone number" quoted on your site, you may or may not know that Dan Kampo indeed lived in Neenah. Kampo later had a Lola T220 which now it would make sense was the same ex-Revson car Hansen had, which seemed to also get swapped from Kampo to Hansen and back again, IIRC. I wasn't quite a teenager at that point, mind you, as always feel free to correct if necessary.

Well, the Hansen car shown on Allen Browns site was in the process of lapping the field twice. That's sounds killer to me. I don't know if that is a statement on the quality of competition or a statement on speed advantage.

That's sort of where the problem lies for myself, when did this Lola T192 cease being an F5000 and become a sprint car. I suppose when it passed inspection and was allowed under the rules to compete. I just have a hard time still considering it as a rear-engined sprint car. Could you have entered a sprint car in an F5000 race? Was it ever done? Seems if they were close enough to the same type race car you could have (not that anyone would have wanted to)

Allen can verify, I don't think the Hansen T192 ever ran in a pro race once caged. Jerry had a new T300 for 1972 Pro events, presumably while Kampo raced the T192. I would suspect that particular sprint field wasn't of "national quality," regardless the rear-engined cars certainly had a giant advantage, in a sense similar to the early-mid '60s at Indy in design alone.

When his friend BJ Swanson was killed at Mid-Ohio in 1975, in a Lola T332, fellow T332 owner Tuck Thomas added a full cage on his car and ran both Club and Pro races with it. I believe he petitioned SCCA to have cages added as a safety requirement as well (glad that failed). Tuck was not a small guy so it has to be a tight squeeze to get in/out through the cage. He never ran it in Sprint Car races, but here that car is in 1976:

Posted Image



#77 D-Type

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 21:40

Well, the Hansen car shown on Allen Browns site was in the process of lapping the field twice. That's sounds killer to me. I don't know if that is a statement on the quality of competition or a statement on speed advantage. But I do agree that they might not have been the answer on dirt, however we never really saw them advance in design enough to know for sure.

That's sort of where the problem lies for myself, when did this Lola T192 cease being an F5000 and become a sprint car. I suppose when it passed inspection and was allowed under the rules to compete. I just have a hard time still considering it as a rear-engined sprint car. Could you have entered a sprint car in an F5000 race? Was it ever done? Seems if they were close enough to the same type race car you could have (not that anyone would have wanted to)

I'm just having trouble here determining what the definition of is, is.

The answer is simple - it didn't. If it competed in a sprint car race, on that day it was a sprint car then if it competed in a F5000 race the following weekend on that day it was a F5000 car.

I have to admit I am totally baffled by the different classes of US racing: midgets, big cars, sprint cars, modifieds, super modified, dirt cars, Silver Crown, stock cars, F5000, Formula A, Formula B, Formula Atlantic, Silver Crown, and later Indycar, Champcar and CART. Then dial in the different sanctioning bodies: USAC, SCCA, NASCAR, WOA etc. I appreciate that regulations changed and they all evolved and developed over the years, but what is the difference between them? And are any the same?

#78 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 22:06

Well, the Hansen car shown on Allen Browns site was in the process of lapping the field twice. That's sounds killer to me. I don't know if that is a statement on the quality of competition or a statement on speed advantage. But I do agree that they might not have been the answer on dirt, however we never really saw them advance in design enough to know for sure.

That's sort of where the problem lies for myself, when did this Lola T192 cease being an F5000 and become a sprint car. I suppose when it passed inspection and was allowed under the rules to compete. I just have a hard time still considering it as a rear-engined sprint car. Could you have entered a sprint car in an F5000 race? Was it ever done? Seems if they were close enough to the same type race car you could have (not that anyone would have wanted to)

I'm just having trouble here determining what the definition of is, is.

A 5000 has a clutch and gearbox, so how did it run as a Sprintcar? Clearly it was not and should never have been allowed to compete.
As was pointed out a Sprinter would not be allowed to compete as a 5000. So a caged 5000 was just a ringin that should never have been there.

#79 E1pix

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 23:03

I have to admit I am totally baffled by the different classes of US racing: midgets, big cars, sprint cars, modifieds, super modified, dirt cars, Silver Crown, stock cars, F5000, Formula A, Formula B, Formula Atlantic, Silver Crown, and later Indycar, Champcar and CART. Then dial in the different sanctioning bodies: USAC, SCCA, NASCAR, WOA etc. I appreciate that regulations changed and they all evolved and developed over the years, but what is the difference between them? And are any the same?

Formula A was a term used for a year or maybe two in the SCCA Pro ranks, then the term was only used on SCCA Club levels after that. Same cars as "F5000."

Formula B followed a similar path, becoming "Formula Atlantic" in Pro ranks by the early- or mid '70s but remaining as "Formula B" in Club racing until perhaps the early-'80s (a guess) when changed to "Formula Atlantic" in Club classes as well — and to this day. Also, all within SCCA at least on the Club level, except during an extended period that the Pro series was run under the CART umbrella by Vicki O'Connor from maybe the mid-'80s through its demise a few years ago. :down: :cry:

Indy Cars.... To my understanding as a bit before my time, "Big Cars" was the term for cars that raced at Indy in and around the mid-20th century, perhaps 1940s through the '60s. Indy cars were then referred to as "Champ Cars" (USAC Championship cars) by around 1970, and again to my knowledge I think at that point "Big Cars" was used to describe champion-circuit, non-winged, USAC Sprint cars in the '70s — but was not an official class term, hence the confusion.

Anyway, and let's say "the cars that raced in the Indy 500 and beyond," were mainly called "Big Cars" until the late-'60s, "Champ Cars" in the '70s, and again as "CART Indy Cars" in the '80s and '90s. When the Indy Racing League was started in 1996, those were now called "Indy Cars" under exclusive license of the owners of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.... and the former CART Indy Cars were now called "Champ Cars" until the term finally died off when the Leagues joined in maybe 2007 (?).

Yes, branding has been a huge problem in US racing! I'm not touching NASCAR, in any form, and others here will know more about your questions about the smaller oval cars.

Reading this again, I sense I haven't helped one bit.... :stoned: :confused: Maybe someone else can clarify better than I have!

Edited by E1pix, 14 October 2011 - 23:10.


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#80 RStock

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 23:47

The answer is simple - it didn't. If it competed in a sprint car race, on that day it was a sprint car then if it competed in a F5000 race the following weekend on that day it was a F5000 car.

I have to admit I am totally baffled by the different classes of US racing: midgets, big cars, sprint cars, modifieds, super modified, dirt cars, Silver Crown, stock cars, F5000, Formula A, Formula B, Formula Atlantic, Silver Crown, and later Indycar, Champcar and CART. Then dial in the different sanctioning bodies: USAC, SCCA, NASCAR, WOA etc. I appreciate that regulations changed and they all evolved and developed over the years, but what is the difference between them? And are any the same?


I'm not sure I want to go off on this tangent, but why not. The Formula classes I'm not qualified to answer about, so I'll stick with the ones I can give some answer for.

Sprint cars, big cars, and midgets are all sort of different versions of the same animal. The "big cars" are the same thing as a "dirt car" or "Silver Crown car", and have also been known as a "champ car". They are basically heavy sprint cars, they use a clutch and have longer wheelbase. Sprint cars are just lighter, shorter versions which don't use a clutch or gearbox. They used to use an "in and out box", it was either in the one lone gear or out of it, but now use a torque tube (direct drive). A Midget Sprint is just as the name implies, a much smaller version of a sprint car, using smaller displacement engines. They all are tube frame, purpose built for racing cars.

A "modified" is actually a modified stock car. They look like open wheel cars but technically are not, they are stock cars. They are built from production car frames and (this part gets sketchy) use a production car body. Engine's are usually more limited in not allowing fuel injection or aftermarket blocks.

With no national sanctioning body what some would call a modified is different from what I would call a modified. Plus you have the dirt/asphalt classes. You can get a good look at some dirt modifieds as well as a further explanation here.

http://texasmodified...ed-history.html

Super Modifieds started out as much the same car as a modified, but with much more open rules they mutated into basically a sprint car with a box frame, and ultimately were absorbed into the sprint car class, except for the asphalt super modifieds which still exist in a few pockets of the US.

Stock cars are self-explanatory. A production vehicle that allows some modifications for racing. They generally require the same engine and body type as the frame they are built on.

But all these have a lot of grey area and it will depend upon what sanctioning body the car is built for as to what it will look like and use, also if it is dirt or pavement.

Sanctioning bodies

Indycar, Champcar and CART are all different versions of the same thing. They sanctioned the cars that competed (as a best example) at the Indy 500 etc. but to further confuse it is USAC that has sanctioned the Indy 500 ever since AAA dropped it. Indy is the only event in that class of car that USAC sanctions anymore, but they have many other classes they do, namely sprint, "big car", midget and I believe still have a stock car class, or did at one time, all of which compete on both dirt and pavement.

SCCA sanction club races, all road course, with several classes, all of which I don't know, but generally speaking sport car and open wheel.

NASCAR of course sanctions the Sprint Cup along with their other classes, Nationwide, Truck, Whelen Modifieds (pavement) and a couple more smaller "stock" type classes.

By WOA I think you mean WOO, which is the World of Outlaws which sanction dirt winged sprint car races and have in the last couple of years added a late model class, which is a type of dirt stock car, though I use that term stock car loosely.

If that all hasn't totally confused you, well, it's the best I can do. Gordon Kirby has a short story in the last issue of Motorsport where he comments on all the different classes and sanctioning bodies in the US (and Canada). It really is as he describes it "the wild west".

#81 RStock

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 23:58

Indy Cars.... To my understanding as a bit before my time, "Big Cars" was the term for cars that raced at Indy in and around the mid-20th century, perhaps 1940s through the '60s. Indy cars were then referred to as "Champ Cars" (USAC Championship cars) by around 1970, and again to my knowledge I think at that point "Big Cars" was used to describe champion-circuit, non-winged, USAC Sprint cars in the '70s — but was not an official class term, hence the confusion.

Anyway, and let's say "the cars that raced in the Indy 500 and beyond," were mainly called "Big Cars" until the late-'60s, "Champ Cars" in the '70s, and again as "CART Indy Cars" in the '80s and '90s. When the Indy Racing League was started in 1996, those were now called "Indy Cars" under exclusive license of the owners of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.... and the former CART Indy Cars were now called "Champ Cars" until the term finally died off when the Leagues joined in maybe 2007 (?).


Michale Ferner would be the man to really answer this, but I don't think sprint cars were ever called "big cars". "Big cars" is a term that has been used for the Indy cars, but I would say that "Champ car" refers to the dirt cars that ran in the 1960's era and not the roadsters that ran at Indy.


#82 E1pix

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 00:16

Michale Ferner would be the man to really answer this, but I don't think sprint cars were ever called "big cars". "Big cars" is a term that has been used for the Indy cars, but I would say that "Champ car" refers to the dirt cars that ran in the 1960's era and not the roadsters that ran at Indy.

See, even we're confused about our own classes! :blush: I do think you're correct on your analysis.

Off to you, Mr. Ferner.... and all others Please Apply. Help, Help! :)

[Edit: Red Army, just saw your post on previous page. Well Done, Sir.]

Edited by E1pix, 15 October 2011 - 00:19.


#83 Bob Riebe

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 03:44

A 5000 has a clutch and gearbox, so how did it run as a Sprintcar? Clearly it was not and should never have been allowed to compete.
As was pointed out a Sprinter would not be allowed to compete as a 5000. So a caged 5000 was just a ringin that should never have been there.

If you want to put a starter in a U.S. sprint car, you can.
If you want to put a clutch into a U.S. sprint car, you can.

It would be extra cost and for what reason as they rarely, if ever nowadays, run on even one mile tracks.

#84 Bob Riebe

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 03:59

Formula A was a term used for a year or maybe two in the SCCA Pro ranks, then the term was only used on SCCA Club levels after that. Same cars as "F5000." Formula A cars were always Formula A cars whether pro or amateur. The professional race organizers started to call if Formual 5000 for simplicity sake to avoid the obvious question that would have popped up by the unfamiliar.

Formula B followed a similar path, becoming "Formula Atlantic" in Pro ranks by the early- or mid '70s but remaining as "Formula B" in Club racing until perhaps the early-'80s (a guess) when changed to "Formula Atlantic" in Club classes as well — and to this day. Also, all within SCCA at least on the Club level, except during an extended period that the Pro series was run under the CART umbrella by Vicki O'Connor from maybe the mid-'80s through its demise a few years ago. :down: :cry: [n] You have let me know here; whereas Formula allowed any engine with in displacement limits, was not Atalantic a one make race?[/b]

Indy Cars.... To my understanding as a bit before my time, "Big Cars" was the term for cars that raced at Indy in and around the mid-20th century, perhaps 1940s through the '60s. Indy cars were then referred to as "Champ Cars" (USAC Championship cars) by around 1970, and again to my knowledge I think at that point "Big Cars" was used to describe champion-circuit, non-winged, USAC Sprint cars in the '70s — but was not an official class term, hence the confusion. Big cars were the cars that finally became Silver Crown cars whether dirt or pavement. They were--rimshot--bigger than what were known eventually as sprint cars. Champ cars also were what finally became Silver Crown cars.

Anyway, and let's say "the cars that raced in the Indy 500 and beyond," were mainly called "Big Cars" until the early-'50s, "Champ Cars" in the ' early 60s, and again as " Indy Cars" in the 70s-'80s. When the Indy Racing League was started in 1996, those were now called "Indy Cars" under exclusive license of the owners of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.... and the former CART Indy Cars were now called "Champ Cars" until the term finally died off when the Leagues joined in maybe 2007 (?). Ja, good enough abstract of that particular cluster-f..

Yes, branding has been a huge problem in US racing! I'm not touching NASCAR, in any form, and others here will know more about your questions about the smaller oval cars.

Reading this again, I sense I haven't helped one bit.... :stoned: :confused: Maybe someone else can clarify better than I have!

You did very well.

#85 Bob Riebe

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 04:06

A "modified" is actually a modified stock car. They look like open wheel cars but technically are not, they are stock cars. They are built from production car frames and (this part gets sketchy) use a production car body. Engine's are usually more limited in not allowing fuel injection or aftermarket blocks.

They were at one time, as U.S. cars once had sub-frames that had to employed in many modified classes.

The current, discounting the new pony cars, have nothing to attach a rwd set-up to so I doubt there is any stock left in the modified classes

#86 RStock

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 04:58

They were at one time, as U.S. cars once had sub-frames that had to employed in many modified classes.

The current, discounting the new pony cars, have nothing to attach a rwd set-up to so I doubt there is any stock left in the modified classes


The Super DIRT series, formerly DIRT, use tube frame chassis now as does the mod revival series in the Texas, Arkansas,Louisiana area, but IMCA mods and others of that ilk that make up by far the vast majority of the Modifieds being raced now, still use OEM frames.

2011 IMCA rules

2. FRAME: 1964 or newer OEM perimeter American rear-wheel drive passenger car frame only. No sports car frames. Frame must be full and complete, cannot be widened or narrowed, and must be able to support roll cage on both sides, exceptions are: weight jack in original center line of spring tower allowed; frame may be cut a maximum 36 inches forward from center of rear end housing; horns may be removed in front of steering box and notched maximum one inch at bottom for tie rod clearance; front crossmember may be notched and boxed for radiator and/or steering clearance; maximum seven inch wide opening in side of spring tower for spring removal. Maximum two inch wide by four inch tall frame stiffener may be welded directly to outside of left side frame rail. See www.imca.com for OEM frame dimensions. Minimum wheelbase 108 inches, maximum 112 inches, both sides. Maximum overall width shall not exceed 78 inches from outside of tire to outside of tire. No part of frame can be lower than four inches from ground except front crossmember.

https://imca.com/rules/modified/

#87 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:38

Pooh, where does that awful reek come from... has somebody opened something here???

Posted Image

Oh, damn it, too late! :(


Seriously, perhaps it would be a good idea to lend some historical perspective to the discussion, but then I realized I have only about an hour of time before I have to leave. The point is, depending on where you are and when, the various terms used refer to substantially different animals, and some of the different terms may even apply to the very same thing, if you get my drift! I have seen Indianapolis Speedway Millers and Duesenbergs refered to as "stock cars" in newspapers of the twenties on more than one occasion, and some of the near-stock Touring Cars are called "race cars" if used in competition, so perhaps it's an eye-of-the-beholder thing anyway. If I find the time, maybe later today, I will try to set out my understanding of the situation (which may very well differ from the viewpoint of other noted historians), but one of the salient points may be that actual rules and technical regulations are very hard to come by, and do often appear to confuse the issue even more. Stand by...

#88 Allen Brown

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 10:32

I can only comment on Formula classes. Here's a brief recap:

Formula A was invented by the SCCA in 1965 and was originally for 3-litre racing engines. It flopped so the SCCA added 5-litre stock block engines from 1968. In practice, this meant the small block Chevrolet V8 with a handful of Shelby and Boss Fords. This was adopted in the UK in 1969 as Formula 5000 and this name was then used in the US Pro series from 1972 until the end of Pro F5000 in 1976. Meanwhile, in the amateur ranks, the SCCA continued to use the name Formula A until 1978 when it was absorbed into ASR racing (just as F5000 had been absorbed into Can-Am).

Formula B was also invented by the SCCA in 1965 and was for 1600cc stock block engines. In practice, this meant the Ford twin-cam with a handful of Alfa GTAs. A US Pro series ran from 1967 to 1972. Meanwhile, FB was adopted in the UK in 1971 as Formula Atlantic but Atlantic also allowed the 4-valve Ford BDA which became the only real option. Formula Atlantic was then adopted by the Canadian Pro series from 1974 onwards in place of FB. The SCCA adopted F/Atlantic rules for amateur racing from 1975 but kept the name Formula B until 1978. The Canadian Pro series expanded into the US in 1978 and ran until 1983. A replacement US-based series called WCAR started in 1984 and became a national series in 1990. It became a spec formula in 2000 using Swift chassis and Toyota engines, moved to Mazda engines in 2006 and finally died in 2009.

Edited by Allen Brown, 15 October 2011 - 13:54.


#89 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 16:06

All right, here now followeth the sermon:

In The Beginning, there was The Car. The Car alone, and only The Car. Someone built one, then another bloke came along and did the same, and soon they raced each other. Everyone else was wondering what the heck these things were for anyway, so there's no use in calling them Road Car, Racing Car or whatever. They were simply Cars, but in everyday use they were called a number of things, not all of which was complimentary.

Throughout the rest of the century (that's 19th century, folks!), those vehicles were probably mainly built as joyrides for the rich and famous, and that included, one way or another, racing. New models were introduced with every big race, and subsequently sold off to the "public", who drove them on the roads, dodging frightened horses, and in minor races. Some manufacturers became factories, real companies producing runs of very similar or even virtually identical cars - Stock Cars, if you want. Some were raced, some not. In fact, more and more of them were not raced, and that may have led to the development of the "freak" Racing Car. The 1899 Vallée was perhaps the first one that no one with a right mind would've driven on the road, outside of competition. Many more followed, but the majority of cars used in competition remained, more or less, Stock Cars.

Then, rules became more sophisticated. Early regulations divided cars into classes mainly through (more or less) incidental differences, like number of seats - that way, motorcycles split off from the main tree in 1895 already, but boundaries remained fuzzy for several more years. Overal weight became an issue, and the moment the first car was specifically tailored to fit into one of those weight categories, it became a de facto Racing Car, even if intended for later road use. Competition cars were now called Heavy Cars, Light Cars, and Voiturettes - the latter word is a diminutive of the French word "voiture", meaning "car". Those three categories basically survived into the 21st century, as Formulae 1, 2 and 3, although the middle one was called Formula 3000 for many years. Even in Europe, the lines were not always clear, as Light Cars and Voiturettes were sometimes lumped together and called 1500s or 1100s (in the twenties/thirties), or Formula Junior (in the fifties/sixties). For a long time, car/motorcycle mongrels existed in a category called Cycle Cars, or 750s, but we're getting slightly ahead here.

Another effect of the weight limits was the appearance of the "stripped" Stock Car - those cars were technically mostly identical with the Road Cars, but visually much closer to the "freak" Racing Car, and by the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the name Stock Car was basically a misnomer - competition cars were getting more and more specialized in appearance and specifications. In addition to which, homebuilt "specials" were now being added to the mix, meaning "freak" Racing Cars that were being built by individuals, not companies, using mostly motley collections of existing hardware from "real" or "nominal" Stock Cars. Soon, the term Stock Car all but vanished from the scene along with most of the manufacturers around the time of WW1 - it was no longer necessary to create the illusion that "the man on the street" could buy a car that was identical to the one winning on the Speedways. Instead, a number of small companies began building short runs of "production specials", so to speak - out-and-out Racing Cars, in effect. By this time, weight categories had also given way to classifications by engine capacity.

In the twenties, the Stock Car (or, Touring Car in Europe) made a comeback, with stricter rules to differentiate it from the Racing Cars. Again, regulations became more "loose" over time, and this particular tribe became the Sports Racing Car, or Sports Car for short. In the US, manufacturer support for this particular type of racing ended very soon, so here develops a schism, but in all truth, Sports Car racing in Europe over the years (and its many ins and outs in connection with Racing Cars as well as Touring Cars) is every bit as complicated and convoluted as the US counterpart, and perhaps deserving of its own thread, so we'll concentrate on what happened in America instead. Here, with little to no interest by the manufacturers, the sports authorities never developed very much zest in controlling this kind of racing, and it soon became the playground for the "real outlaws", or "outlaw outlaws" as I've seen them called at times.

To paddle back a short distance, let's recall another difference between Europe and the US, namely the question of who's controlling the sport of racing: in the "old world", this was basically done by one single authority, going back to the very earliest days, while in the US the rules of the free market prevailed, for better or worse. This led to a situation where, in the twenties and thirties, one particular group (the American Automobile Assoc., AAA for short) controlled all the major events and many smaller meetings all over the big country, while countless local ("independent") clubs held sway over areas of varying size, sometimes even overlapping with each other. The AAA used to call all these independent clubs "outlaws", as it was in direct competition with all of them due to its own nationwide aspirations. These "outlaw" groups usually staged events for Racing Cars, often with rules that differed very much from those of the AAA, and sometimes with no rules at all. The AAA, itself, sometimes used different sets of rules for different areas, in an effort to gain control by reaching out. A pretty darn good mess, all in all.

All those Racing Cars, running to all those different sets of rules, were still all of one and the same "big family", but there was no common name that was consistently applied to them. Adverts were usually simply for "Auto Races", and names like Speedway Cars, (Dirt) Track Cars, Race Cars or even Stock Cars were used every now and then. Historically, they all evolved from the Heavy Cars of the early days, as other classes of Racing Cars had died away one by one in the US since the mid-teens, and since Sports or Touring Cars were never much of a factor here, there appears to have been no reason to apply any special name to the cars that ubiquitously stood for the sport of auto racing everywhere in the nation. That changed in the mid-thirties with the appearance of the Midget Racing Cars, or Midgets for short, which were basically a mix between Voiturettes and Cycle Cars. These became enormously popular within a very short time, and henceforth the "old type" of Racing Car was now called a Big Car, or sometimes Full-size Car.

(t.b.c.)

Edited by Michael Ferner, 15 October 2011 - 18:23.


#90 RStock

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 18:14

That's all well and good Michael and you are correct the term "stock car" is a very nebulous thing and hard to nail down as well as other class names. Also you're correct in that ever loosening rules will eventually cause a "stock car" to not resemble a stock road vehicle at all. Case in point is this creation...

Posted Image
(photo from my collection)

Technically since it is built on a stock frame it is a stock car, albeit a "modified" stock car. That's even supposed to be a production body, from the AMC Gremlin, which while popular for racing was not popular with the general public and being the hot ticket for this class soon became hard to come by, thus the rules allowed sheet metal and even fiberglass bodies that were close to the original in shape.

But the real question hanging out there is about the term "big car". If you look back a few posts you will see our confusion.

Also there is the question of when these rear-engined F5000 cars such as the Lola T192 cease being an F5000 car and start being a rear-engined sprint car. To me they are not rear engined sprint cars but F5000 cars that were allowed in under the rules, which perhaps were not well written at the time. I think there should be a separation between these type of cars and ones (if any exist) which were built with a rear-engine strictly for sprint car competition.

#91 Bob Riebe

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 19:52

Red.:
You run into, what I think Michel hinted at, the U.S. nomenclature often being broad and generic.
Any car that is allowed to run in a sprint car race, is a sprint car--- more or less--- kinda sorta.

One of Mark Donohue's first races cars was a midget-- rear engined.

Put rear engined sprint cars into google and you will find some "genuine" re sprint cars.

At the same time, depending on the time frame there are V-8 midgets that an average racing fan would assume were sprint cars, as they were as large as allowable under the rules.
The Daimler and Buick/Oldsmobile engines being he most common,

By the sixties there were chassis that could be run as a modified or sprint car depneding on the body work attached.
Of course on should not forget when Bentley Warren took his super-modified to Syracuse to defeat the WoO on the big mile track there.

#92 E1pix

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 21:39

Posted Image
(photo from my collection)

One thing we do know for sure.... this is America's first solar-powered race car!  ;)

#93 Jim Thurman

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 21:40

They're are a few tidbits here I'd like to reply to, but since I'm still getting over a bad cold, those will have to wait.

People, people...we're needlessly complicating matters.

The simple thing to remember, when the question is: What constitutes a (fill in the blank class name) in the U.S.?

The answer is: it depends on where you are and when it was.

It's that simple. The key to remember is rules and nomenclature varied from association to association.

Of the hundreds and hundreds of small ovals in the U.S., most ran "local" rules. There is NASCAR and IMCA (and UMP and there have been a few others that sanctioned nationwide, regionwide or a number of tracks), but for the most part associations ran much smaller circuits consisting of 5, 3 or 2 tracks in a much smaller, localized area. And, independent (solo) tracks had their own set of rules.

Sometimes these varied slightly, sometimes they differed significantly from even the next nearest track.

Use those basic facts as the starting point, and then it makes to whole point of "defining" a true moot point. Which it is, really.

I'll try to address a couple of points and give a couple of examples next time (when I'm up to it).

#94 RStock

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 21:48

Red.:
You run into, what I think Michel hinted at, the U.S. nomenclature often being broad and generic.
Any car that is allowed to run in a sprint car race, is a sprint car--- more or less--- kinda sorta.

One of Mark Donohue's first races cars was a midget-- rear engined.

Put rear engined sprint cars into google and you will find some "genuine" re sprint cars.

At the same time, depending on the time frame there are V-8 midgets that an average racing fan would assume were sprint cars, as they were as large as allowable under the rules.
The Daimler and Buick/Oldsmobile engines being he most common,

By the sixties there were chassis that could be run as a modified or sprint car depneding on the body work attached.
Of course on should not forget when Bentley Warren took his super-modified to Syracuse to defeat the WoO on the big mile track there.


Yes, the nomenclature presents a problem. But that non-withstanding, I'm still trying to find a car that was built for the sole purpose of sprint car racing that was successful on dirt (which is what I meant to say in the last line of my last post) It's just that it is always presented that rear-engined cars were banned but I don't think that was universally the case. I know the super modified RE cars were, but I haven't see a case of an RE sprint that ever won a race. I'm pretty sure RE cars are now universally banned/ruled out of existence by a front engine requirement rules, however from what I can find all the dirt RE projects were simply abandoned, which I find curious as to why. Perhaps they all knew it would draw a ban if it ever proved fruitful and thus quit instead of wasting money. But I don't know.

And yes I recall Bentley's win, wasn't the first Knoxville Nationals won by a super? I also remember Bentley showing up at Syracuse in a super years later (I believe it was a pavement car, late 1980's, early 1990's?) that was so far off the pace it was a danger. That was when WOO finally banned Supers.

#95 RStock

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 22:01

They're are a few tidbits here I'd like to reply to, but since I'm still getting over a bad cold, those will have to wait.

People, people...we're needlessly complicating matters.

The simple thing to remember, when the question is: What constitutes a (fill in the blank class name) in the U.S.?

The answer is: it depends on where you are and when it was.

It's that simple. The key to remember is rules and nomenclature varied from association to association.

Of the hundreds and hundreds of small ovals in the U.S., most ran "local" rules. There is NASCAR and IMCA (and UMP and there have been a few others that sanctioned nationwide, regionwide or a number of tracks), but for the most part associations ran much smaller circuits consisting of 5, 3 or 2 tracks in a much smaller, localized area. And, independent (solo) tracks had their own set of rules.

Sometimes these varied slightly, sometimes they differed significantly from even the next nearest track.

Use those basic facts as the starting point, and then it makes to whole point of "defining" a true moot point. Which it is, really.

I'll try to address a couple of points and give a couple of examples next time (when I'm up to it).


You are correct, but just to be clear there are two things going on here.

One is an attempt to answer D-Type's question about American classes and sanctioning bodies, and agreed it is a muddled area probably best left alone. Another is my question of finding a car built as a RE sprint car that won races (or even one race).

#96 D-Type

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 23:31

My apologies for hi-jacking the thread - it was a genuine query. ):

Back on topic, is the question of rear-engined cars on dirt a simple question of vehicle dynamics? On dirt the normal way to corner is in a power slide with the car in an oversteer (loose) attitude. Due to its rearward weight distribution, a rear engined car naturally oversteers, or hangs the tail out, more than a front engined car although this can be mitigated , at least on tarmac, by suitable suspension geometry. One of the main reasons for the success of rear-engined cars in all forms of hard surface road and track racing is the improved traction due to the weight distribution. Could it be that on a dirt track the weight distribution leads to excessive oversteer meaning that it is not possible to utilise the full power in the way that you can with a car that inherently understeers or pushes, negating the benefit of extra traction? I hope that makes sense.

#97 E1pix

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 00:41

Could it be that on a dirt track the weight distribution leads to excessive oversteer meaning that it is not possible to utilise the full power in the way that you can with a car that inherently understeers or pushes, negating the benefit of extra traction? I hope that makes sense.

It does, interesting Question.... I would think a rear-engine car would cause "over-oversteer" myself, though some would be negated by weight on the rear wheels handling more power. In the end, I'd guess it could be made to work, after plenty of testing "moments." :eek:

#98 Jim Thurman

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 04:49

My apologies for hi-jacking the thread - it was a genuine query. ):

Duncan, absolutely no need for apologies. I realize your query is sincere, and I'm more than happy to try to answer the question, which I did :) Sorry I didn't use smileys on the last post :) , as it truly was serious and yet tongue in cheek.

A few examples which I hope don't confuse things further.

When I was growing up in the San Diego area, by the late 1960's-early 1970's the "stock car" class at the local paved oval (nomenclature: Super Stocks) was made up of cars that were tube frame with fiberglass bodies. One Los Angeles area racing writer called them "essentially sprint cars with fiberglass stock car bodies" They were much lighter than other stock cars in southern California, many of which were NASCAR legal.

In the mid-1980's, a small group of drivers decided to start a rear engined dirt modified division in Phoenix, Arizona. It didn't last long, and never had many cars, but...an interesting offshoot nonetheless.




#99 Jim Thurman

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 04:53

You are correct, but just to be clear there are two things going on here.

One is an attempt to answer D-Type's question about American classes and sanctioning bodies, and agreed it is a muddled area probably best left alone. Another is my question of finding a car built as a RE sprint car that won races (or even one race).

As we've figured here, most were either converted Indy or Formula cars. Greg Pieper's car that won several pavement races in CRA (driven by Wally Pankratz) started life as a formula chassis of some sort, but by the time it became a success years later, I have no idea how modified it was or if it had been rebuilt, etc.

That might be as close as we can get.

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#100 Jim Thurman

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 05:10

While a rear engined car may sound ideal it probably is not. On longer paved ovals a converted Indy style car would obviuosly be an advantage it is probably not the 'killer' that would be expected.
I have read on these forums that in the 70s one AJ Foyt unloaded his dirt front engined midget ad was on the pace with rear engined cars.

It was 1965 when Foyt's rear engined car didn't arrive at Milwaukee, so he unloaded his Meskowski dirt car that he'd run the day before on the 1 mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and put it on pole. He led, and hung in there valiantly before fading. He wound up 2nd to Gordon Johncock (his first career USAC Champ win).

Edited by Jim Thurman, 16 October 2011 - 05:15.