USRA and AMRA Wins, and some general shop talk
I’ll start off this entry by congratulating JC Morton on picking up his first ever USRA Modified feature win on June 2, 2017 at Flint Creek Speedway in West Siloam Springs, OK. Likewise I’d like to congratulate Travis Dickson on picking up yet another AMRA modified feature event win at Skyline Speedway in Guysville, OH.
JC Morton started off his night running 2nd to Brian Williams in his heat race. He would start the A-main in the fourth position and do battle early with Jared Russell for the number two position. On a restart following an early race caution, Morton would clear Russell for second and set his sights on Brian Williams. Morton was able to close the gap on Williams and was apply heavy pressure to Williams for the lead when Williams’ motor expired, turning the lead over to Morton who would go on to win the main event. While JC Morton has a large number of USRA B-mod wins, this race ended up being his first ever USRA (A) Modified win. Congrats JC on running a strong race! Also congratulations to team owner Jared Thomson on the first USRA modified win for the team this season!
Travis Dickson started his night by winning the third heat race of the night which earned him a third place starting position in the main event. After some early race caution were behind them, Dickson worked his way into second place and began to reel in Kenny Johnson who at that point had lead every lap of the race. Dickson ran down Johnson and went to work on him for the lead. After trying to work the bottom groove to get around Johnson for the lead, Dickson would make a lane change to the middle of the track where he would then race door to door with Johnson for the next several circuits around the track. With five laps to go, Dickson cleared Johnson for the lead and went on to pick up his fourth win in five starts at Skyline Speedway. Currently, Dickson has five wins on the season, at only one finish out of the top five in fifteen starts. Congrats to Travis and the Dickson Racing Team on an excellent first portion of the race season.
While race season has just kicked off for some drivers around the country, there are others who are at the point where they have fifteen to twenty nights in already. What this means is at this point many people who started the season with new cars, or at least “fresh” cars, are now at the point where their cars are no longer acting “new”. That said, there is no time like the present for those teams to take a long, in-depth look at their maintenance status. Whether it is a coilover eliminator that was supposed to be serviced eight to ten nights ago, a bound up rod end, or a bent shock shaft, there are many parts that can at this point in the season cause a car to behave in a less than optimal manner. A lot of people will continue to neglect maintenance, sighting cost as a reason for not keeping their equipment in check. Let us take a look at why the cost argument fails. We’ll do so by looking at the cost to replace standard wear items on the car versus the cost to race an ill-maintained car.
Here’s a list of items that should be serviced and replaced as needed at 12-15 nights into the season:
- Rod ends: At $10 each, you can replace every 5/8″ rod end on the car for $140 – $160 dollars.
- Slider / Coilover Eliminator: If you have to buy a complete rebuild kit, your cost to rebuild your slider is $60.
- Brake Rotors: Every rotor on the car can be replaced for $225.
- Brake Pads: Front and rear pads can easily be replaced for $200
- Pullbar Spring or Bushings: Either the pullbar spring, or pullbar bushings can be replaced for $60.
- Don’t forget to clean, inspect, and grease the pullbar while you’re at it
- Wheel bearings: It costs about $2 to grease wheel bearings, yet many people neglect them until a hub locks up.
- Ball Joints: Assuming you’re running a quality, rebuildable ball joint, is costs about $2 to clean and grease them.
- Other Miscellaneous Greasing and Cleaning: The remaining greasing and cleaning is about another $10.
So, if you do everything on that list at 12-15 nights, your total maintenance cost for those items is around $720. Again some people are doing to say that’s too expensive or too much money to spend on things that are not broken. The fault of that logic is simple. It is much more expensive to show up and perform poorly than to handle maintenance as needed. Let’s look at a really minimal cost of racing per night to see why.
- Entry $50
- Pit Passes (3 people) $105
- Fuel $80
- Tires $250
- Travel Expenses $75
On those items alone, you’re at $560 per night to race. This means that in two less than optimal nights at the track you could easily cost yourself more in poor performances than what it would cost you to do your maintenance and upkeep. There is a large difference in payout for a 10th place finish because the car is not correct, and the payout for running in the top 3 with a soundly maintained car. This means that maintenance is imperative, and that without it you’re throwing money in the trash as your car’s performance deteriorates.
If $700 in maintenance is completely unobtainable, then you should be prioritizing the maintenance schedule and spreading it out over a period of time so that you know your car is always in check. It is absolutely cheaper in the long run.
So, get out in the shop. Check for cracked welds, clean everything up properly, grease what needs greased, remove your trailing arms and spin your birdcages around in a complete circle to redistribute grease throughout the bearings. Races are absolutely won in the shop. A good setup is a must for being competitive. But, without a fully functioning chassis, the fanciest setup in the world won’t keep your car running up front. Again, maintenance is a must!
Get those cars checked over, and good luck!