So often when people have been around anything - a job, a sport, whatever - for a while they tend to forget that not everyone else shares their interest or background. Kind of like the "you can't see the forest for the trees" thing. This is what happened the other day when my friend Denny and his latest "almost forever" Lisa stopped by for a visit.
Now, they hadn't been here too long when Denny, a fair weather race fan, and Lisa, a novice at best, began thumbing through my racing magazines, newspapers, and collection of "Local Racing" columns. They hadn't turned too many pages before they started asking questions about the sport.
They began with the basic, "everyone knows that, don't they?" questions like Lisa asking: What's the difference between a 410, a 360, and a 305 sprint car? And me answering: Basically engine size. The numbers stand for cubic inches. Yeah, I know the engine in your car is measured in liters but giving racing engine sizes in single digits just doesn't seem too racy.
But just about the time I began feeling like Bullwinkle's "Mr. Know It All," I got hit with questions that I really didn't have a clue to. Realizing that there are many things about the sport I had just taken for granted, I picked up the phone and called those in the know for help.
Questions such as Denny wanting to know: Why do they still use carburetors instead of fuel injection in stock cars?
ARCA president Ron Drager: You can call us living in the dark ages but from an economic stand point we've tried to stay with the tried and proven.
Denny: Why don't stock cars have front-wheel drive?
Drager: My concern with a really big technological change, like going to front-wheel drive, would be outdating all the equipment at once. Everything they use when they build a car and take it to the track is based on that older technology.
Lisa: So these cars aren't really like the ones you see on the street?
Hey, I can answer this: Right, they are built solely for racing.
Lisa: I've seen those tires with the white letters at Sears. Is that where the racers get their tires?
C.J.: No they by them from dealers or at the track.
Denny: Are they expensive?
Drager: The Hoosier tires we use at our weekly tracks, Toledo and Flat Rock, cost $105 each. Tires for the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde series are a different animal. The bias ply Hoosier tires we use on the short tracks are $150 each and the radial Hoosiers we use on the superspeedways are about $300 a tire, $1,200 a set.
Denny: Looking at these dirt track late models in this picture, they all look alike. How can you tell a Ford from a Chevy?
C.J.: Look for a decal somewhere on the hood or fender. Tell you what, now that we're talking about dirt track late models, let's call "the professor." He knows all the in and outs of dirt trackin'.
Race car builder and driver Ron Miller: Most sanctioning bodies require you to have a stock appearing front end on your car. Also there should be some resemblance of the make of car in the roof lines.
Lisa: Why is the back end, where the tail lights go, open on the dirt track late models? To let the dirt out?
Miller: You're close. The area below the rear deck is left open for aerodynamics. The air flow creates a low-pressure area which pulls the car down. A spoiler effect.
Lisa: Do they ever race with their headlights on?
C.J. Hey guys, I think it's time for me to go out and light the grill.
Notes from the just-completed Ohio Speedweek for sprint cars sanctioned by The All Stars Circuit of Champions:
Kenny Jacobs was the Speedweek champion. There were seven different winners in seven races, Jeff Shepard, Byron Reed, Kevin Huntley, Ed Lynch Jr., Phil Gressman, Frankie Kerr and Jacobs. There have been 18 different winners in the 28 All Star races this season. A total of 98 drivers representing 11 states, North Carolina, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, California, Arizona, Missouri, Washington, Colorado, and Kentucky, along with a driver from New Zealand, competed in at least one of the Speedweek races each. Kelly Kinser, Mark Keegan, and Rodney Duncan have competed in Speedweek all 18 years.
Tonight's $5,000 to win The Brad Doty Classic at Attica Raceway Park will be sanctioned by The All Stars Circuit of Champions.
New math: Last year the World of Outlaws sanctioned the Iowa Ethanol Classic at Knoxville (Ia.) Raceway was made up of two 25-lap features. This year's event featured a 50-lap race with a red-flag period at the end of lap 25. The 50-lapper was won by Stevie Smith.
Econ 101: In an effort to save the teams money World of Outlaws rules prohibit teams from changing tires during red-flag stops. But other than that you can change anything else on the car, time permitting. During that red-flag period at the Iowa Ethanol Classic Danny Lasoski's crew changed the motor in his car.
Three nights of World of Outlaws-sanctioned sprint car races make up this week's Eldora Speedway schedule. Tomorrow's Knight 1 Before The Kings Royal and Friday's Knight 2 lead into one of sprint car racing's most prestigious races, Saturday night's 17th Kings Royal. The 40-lap Kings Royal feature pays $50,000 to win. Rain on Saturday, King's Royal on Sunday.
There is a $10,000 prize awaiting the winner of Saturday night's Quality Cars Birthday Race for Late Models at Oakshade Raceway. Sunday is the rain date for this race. Previous Birthday Race winners include Donnie Moran in '98 and Mother Nature last year.