In order to race, first and foremost you need a car. Rewind to about a year ago after having a disastrous SuperNats and starting to search for something more appropriate. With as accessible as circle track racing is and as inexpensive as it is relatively speaking, it seemed like a no brainer. Which was good because after 30 years in the roadie biz I don’t know if I still have a brain. Now that what kind of car has been decided, I needed to decide on the class. I’d never raced a car that heavy or on a circle track so I started looking at entry level, low cost alternatives.
First was INEX Legends, a 5/8 car from the 40s that’s basically a big ass circle track kart with a body and restraints. It does have a live suspension and rear axle though is powered by a 1100 cc 4 cycle engine found or cafe style bikes. It’s also not cheap. They start at about 12 grand new, though you can find them for under 10 grand pretty much any day of the week. It’s a spec class and the costs of many of the parts are through the roof. Reminded me of when I ran the Rotax Max Challenge series. I did test drive one a bit after I moved down and it was pretty restrictive. I’m just too big and after years of 10k plus race vehicles I was looking for something a lot lower cost and something where I could take a few seasons and really get the hang of it. Not only the driving but also the tuning and fabrication.
The nearest local track is the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It’s a big ass complex with a world class speedway, drag strip, mediocre road course circuit (not a roval, though they do have a roval as well), aged, well worn karting track from the 10-15 hp days (though for TaG and shifters are straight out, though they run there) a 1/4 mile dirt track and the famed 3/8 mile “Bullring” asphalt track. The INEX cars and the NASCAR Whelan All American series runs on the Bullring.
Over the years there have been a variety of classes though with the economy in the shitter it’s been pared down to three NWAAS classes plus usually a touring support class of modified or ASA trucks. The NASCAR classes are Super Late Models, the feature or as we call it in show biz, the headliners; Chargers, or as others call them super stock and finally, at the bottom of the dung heap, Bullring Bombers, some places call them hobby stock, thunder car or factory stock. Then the INEX contingent a couple of classes of Bandos (for the young’uns) 3 Legends classes (though not that many cars for 3 classes) and the old guys fav, Thunder Roadsters.
A Bullring Bomber is an american made, rear wheel drive sedan, coupe or wagon with a minimum wheelbase of 114″. In other words, a tank. That limits the cars to mostly pre 1980 A and B bodies that unfortunately these days are well sought by muscle car guys and low riders. You put minimal safety gear in a three point cage, marine fuel cell, five point harness and a small fire bottle. Street tires, and pump gas. That’s the minimum though most cars have 4-6 pt cages, racing seats, racing wheels and reinforced studs. Gotta leave the engine, drive train and suspension bone stock though there are a few areas where you are allowed a little leeway. The purpose of the class is low cost racing and learning to drive though most of the racers in the class are quite experienced racing various divisions for several years. You can get into the class for about a grand or two but realistically it take about 3 grand to get a competitive car. Still pretty cheap by today’s standards.
Guess I needed a car, then. I joined the local forum, started meeting racers and soon found a well used Delta 88 that had already been converted and looked like it was on it’s last legs. It did run, had and cage and had I desired, I could have easily bolted a seat the unistrut, did a few tweaks and made the track. I chose to go a bit more into it than that. Jim and Harod Sherard, the From Hell Racing brothers hooked me up with a car Harold had bought to replace his Caddy then ended up getting a great deal on a Monte Carlo. The Montes are perhaps the most sought after car for the class though a Chevelle is also a good choice. Here’s what I got.
It was raced at the Bullring and also at the dirt track in Pahrump. It then sat in the desert for a couple of years until Harold picked it up and sold it to me. It looks hammered but it was pretty sound and saved me from doing a lot right away.
Guess it’s time to get cracking…