It is a chrome molly tube chassis racing
machine with an aluminum body, Some are of their owners own design,
others come from chassis builders. It is mostly a 470 cubic inch
Chevrolet big block engine, about 850 horsepower burning methanol
alcohol for fuel, running through a fuel injection system. The fuel
has an additive in it that in case of fire makes it burn with color
so you can see the flames. Pure alcohol burns with no color and
in case of fire you can't see it burn. The weight of the car is
1800 lbs. Without the driver.
The engine is offset to the left for added stability and is connected
to a quick change rear end by a short torque tube or drive shaft
with no transmission. They are either in gear or out of gear controlled
by the driver by a lever in the drivers compartment connected to
the rear end quick change. The only way to start these cars is by
pushing. The quick change allows the gears to be changed depending
on the length of the track they happen to be running on at the moment.
A higher gear for long tracks and a lower gear for short tracks.
The tires are also an important part of the car. A smaller diameter
tire on the inside and a larger diameter tire on the outside of
the car. What determines the difference is the degree of banking
of the racing surface. This is called stagger. Some times it is
controlled in little increments by varying air pressure as well.
The softness or hardness of the tire also comes into play here.
On some tracks where the surface is abrasive you may want a harder
compound tire, not so abrasive, a softer compound tire.
But there are a couple of parts on these
winged Super Modified cars that some race fans don't really know
much about. It's the wing, the aerodynamic part of the race car
that gives it the down force. The large 5 foot square air foil that
sits on top of the car. The wing has two struts that are actually
air cylinders one on each side of the car, connected to the rear
end. As the car exits a turn and continues to gain speed, the wing
with the air passing over it overcomes the air in the cylinders
and moves down there by removing some of the down force and allows
the car to gain more speed. As the car enters the turns it slows
allowing the wing to rise thereby adding more down force to the
rear wheels to help in negotiating the turns.
The winged Super Modified started appearing
at race tracks in 1958. The father of the wing is thought to be
Jim Cushman about 1958 at Columbus Motor Speedway . The originals
were made of wood before evolving into aluminum. The wing became
an immediate success.
Although it also had it's detractors one
being Oswego Speedway New York where to this day, does not run the
wing as part of their weekly program. The ISMA / MSA group does
run the wing on their appearances there. Some drivers / owners do
not like the wing because of the added strain on the straight away
that it puts on the engine. Even though it adds more strain it adds
to increased speed through-out the turns thereby lowering the overall
times around the track.
Watching these cars run when the air
is damp is unique and awesome sight. With contrails looking like
ribbons following the racers down the straight away as the air is
compressed as it passes over the wing and the engines straining
under the load of the wing. Another advantage is the extra space
it provides for advertising purposes. There is also a nose wing
that adds down force to the front adding stability to the front
of the car as well.
If there is a sudden stop to the car such
as a spin, before restarting the car you may see the crew push the
car backward while in gear. That is to remove any unburned fuel
that may still be in the cylinders and cause damage to the engine
Costing about $20,000 to build a new design
car. The engines can go as high as $30,000 as well. Then you have
the added cost of maintenance and a way to get the car to the racetrack.
Some diehard owner/drivers laughingly
refer to these racecars as the fastest short track machines in the
world for turning money into noise !!!!!!