NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Keepin’ it Short – Leveling the Playing Field

Racing is all about going fast and finishing first. The rule book and the technical inspection process are focused on making sure that everyone attempts to accomplish those feats on a level playing field. This past weekend, Ronnie Bassett, Jr. was forced to start at the rear of the field for the UARA race at Kingsport, Tennessee after he hit a cone in qualifying. After racing through the entire field and taking the checkered flag first, his car was thoroughly inspected and the series officials decided they didn’t like the feel of the cylinder heads, resulting in his car being disqualified. Bassett’s crew chief filed an appeal and the head was sent to Ford Racing Technologies to be analyzed further for compliance with engine specifications.

Bassett runs a crate engine in his Late Model. The rules for crate engines are designed to allow teams to compete without having to spend the thousands of dollars necessary for hand built race engines. Depending on manufacturer, a built engine can run as high as $35,000 for an asphalt Late Model. A crate engine is priced somewhere around $5,000-$6,000. If the engine is sealed, then that is all that it costs. There are no changes allowed in the engine and the seals on it prevent modification or replacement of parts. Crate engines that aren’t sealed are allowed to have some modifications–usually rocker arms and valve springs because the standard components are not designed for the intense rigors of racing. While the introduction of crate engines was designed to reduce the cost of racing, and it does afford teams a chance to spend less money on engines, the modification of the engines is beginning to make them almost as expensive as built engines.

An additional benefit of running a crate engine is that there is a weight break given to the cars that run the engines because they generally create less horsepower than a built engine. When teams start spending large sums of money to have the crate engines modified, legally, within the framework of the rules, it begins to circumvent the spirit of the rules and render the whole exercise fruitless.

That said, the UARA technical inspectors deserve kudos for eventually finding something wrong with the engine, if there was something wrong. The fact that they basically dismantled the majority of the car to find something seems a bit excessive though. There is little doubt that any car that hits the racetrack at the local level on a given weekend, if it is dissected enough, will have something that is illegal about it. It is through no intention by the teams racing them, it is just a matter of fact that there are so many different rules involved in racing a car, that it is all but impossible not to miss something.

Bassett scored the win in two of the first three races of the season, and finished second in the other before Kingsport. When he made it three out of four, there is no question that there were rumblings that some kind of cheating was going on. Whether there was or wasn’t, whenever a team is dominating, they’re going to be accused of breaking the rules. That is probably why the UARA officials were so thorough in tearing apart the No. 04 after the race. In the end, after the head was determined to feel wrong, and the Ford Racing Technology people backed up that decision, the win was taken away and rightly so.

Racing needs to be as fair as possible to ensure that the fans get their money’s worth and everyone has a chance to win, if their strategy and talent prove to be good enough to win. At the same time, tearing a car down to the chassis for a win in a regional touring series is a bit excessive when the people racing the cars and putting them together are doing it in their spare time. There should be some sort of balance that can be achieved to allow fair racing and prevent teams from rebuilding their winning car after every race. Whatever that balance is, the UARA is one sanctioning body that will make sure you don’t bend the rules.

This Weekend’s Racing Schedule:

Fri : May 11th – I-30 Speedway ; Little Rock : AR – Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Fri : May 11th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – Limited Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – SK Lights
Fri : May 11th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – SK Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Hornets
Fri : May 11th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Legends
Fri : May 11th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Roadsters
Fri : May 11th – Hartford Motor Speedway ; Hartford : MI – Lucas Oil Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – USRA Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – IMCA Stock Cars
Fri : May 11th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – WISSOTA Street Stocks
Fri : May 11th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Street Stocks
Fri : May 11th – Valley Speedway ; Grain Valley : MO – United Late Model Association Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Ace Speedway ; Altamahaw : NC – Limited Late Models x2
Fri : May 11th – Ace Speedway ; Altamahaw : NC – Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – NDRA Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Open Wheel Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Street Stocks
Fri : May 11th – Wake County Speedway ; Raleigh : NC – PASS South
Fri : May 11th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Street Stocks
Fri : May 11th – Thunderbird Speedway ; Muskogee : OK – Comp Cams Super Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – 358 Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Sportsman
Fri : May 11th – Williams Grove Speedway ; Mechanicsburg : PA – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Fri : May 11th – Black Hills Speedway ; Rapid City : SD – Sprint Cars
Fri : May 11th – Black Hills Speedway ; Rapid City : SD – Street Stocks
Fri : May 11th – Black Hills Speedway ; Rapid City : SD – Super Stocks
Fri : May 11th – RPM Speedway ; Crandall : TX – USMTS Casey’s Cup Qualifier
Fri : May 11th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Stock
Fri : May 11th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – Street Stock
Fri : May 11th – Manitowoc County Fairgrounds ; Manitowoc : WI – Wisconsin Dirt Late Models
Fri : May 11th – Manitowoc County Fairgrounds ; Manitowoc : WI – Sprint Cars
Fri : May 11th – Manitowoc County Fairgrounds ; Manitowoc : WI – Street Stock
Fri : May 11th – Oshkosh Speedzone Winnebago County Fairgrounds ; Oshkosh : WI – IMCA Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Oshkosh Speedzone Winnebago County Fairgrounds ; Oshkosh : WI – IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fri : May 11th – Oshkosh Speedzone Winnebago County Fairgrounds ; Oshkosh : WI – Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Mobile International Speedway ; Irvington : AL – Pro Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Mobile International Speedway ; Irvington : AL – Super Stock Trucks
Sat : May 12th – Montgomery Motor Speedway ; Montgomery : AL – Show Me The Money Pro Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Crawford County Speedway ; Van Buren : AR – Comp Cams Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – I-30 Speedway ; Little Rock : AR – Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Sat : May 12th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – 305 Winged Sprints
Sat : May 12th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – 600 Mini Sprints
Sat : May 12th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Open Wheel Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Sportsman
Sat : May 12th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Sportsman
Sat : May 12th – Punta Gorda Speedway ; Punta Gorda : FL – Open Wheel Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Gresham Motorsports Park ; Jefferson : GA – Outlaws
Sat : May 12th – Gresham Motorsports Park ; Jefferson : GA – Trucks
Sat : May 12th – Gresham Motorsports Park ; Jefferson : GA – Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – New Senoia Raceway ; Senoia : GA – USCS 600 Sprint Cars
Sat : May 12th – New Senoia Raceway ; Senoia : GA – USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Cars
Sat : May 12th – New Senoia Raceway ; Senoia : GA – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Waycross Motor Speedway ; Waycross : GA –Late Models
Sat : May 12th – LaSalle Speedway ; LaSalle : IL – Spring Shootout Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Limited Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Street Stock
Sat : May 12th – Tri-State Speedway ; Haubstadt : IN – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Sat : May 12th – South Bend Speedway ; South Bend : IN – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – South Bend Speedway ; South Bend : IN – Sportsman
Sat : May 12th – South Bend Speedway ; South Bend : IN – Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Hornets
Sat : May 12th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Mel Kenyon Midgets
Sat : May 12th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – IMCA Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – IMCA Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – IMCA Stock Cars
Sat : May 12th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – IMCA Sport Mods
Sat : May 12th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Sportsman
Sat : May 12th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Pure Street
Sat : May 12th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Mini Stock
Sat : May 12th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Junior Mini Cup
Sat : May 12th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Outlaw Mini Cup
Sat : May 12th – Berlin Speedway ; Marne : MI – CRA Super Series
Sat : May 12th – Kalamazoo Speedway ; Kalamazoo : MI – Outlaw Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Kalamazoo Speedway ; Kalamazoo : MI – Super Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Kalamazoo Speedway ; Kalamazoo : MI – Pro Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Springport Motor Speedway ; Springport : MI – Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Super Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – USRA Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Wissota Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Wissota Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Wissota Super Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – NeSmith Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – ASA Late Models
Sat : May 12th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Sportsman
Sat : May 12th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Road Warriors
Sat : May 12th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Chargers
Sat : May 12th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – 3rd Annual Business Expo Factory Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – 3rd Annual Business Expo A-Mods
Sat : May 12th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – 3rd Annual Business Expo B-Mods
Sat : May 12th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – 3rd Annual Business Expo United Late Model Association Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Junction Motor Speedway ; McCool Junction : NE – Super Late Model Racing Series
Sat : May 12th – The Bull Ring at Las Vegas ; Las Vegas : NV – SRL Southwest Tour Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Monadnock Speedway ; Winchester : NH – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Sat : May 12th – Star Speedway ; Epping : NH – PASS North Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Dunn Tire Raceway Park ; Lancaster : NY – John Fruendschuh Memorial Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Dunn Tire Raceway Park ; Lancaster : NY – Sportsman
Sat : May 12th – Dunn Tire Raceway Park ; Lancaster : NY – Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Dunn Tire Raceway Park ; Lancaster : NY – TQ Midgets
Sat : May 12th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Late Model Trucks
Sat : May 12th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Street Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Concord Motorsports Park ; Concord : NC – Late Models Twin 50s
Sat : May 12th – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – Limited Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – Street Stock
Sat : May 12th – Red River Valley Speedway ; West Fargo : ND – Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Red River Valley Speedway ; West Fargo : ND – Super Stocks
Sat : May 12th – Columbus Speedway ; Columbus : OH – USAC Midwest Focus Midgets
Sat : May 12th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – 305 Sprints
Sat : May 12th – Little Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Slingshots
Sat : May 12th – Williams Grove Speedway ; Mechanicsburg : PA – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Sat : May 12th – Cleveland Speedway ; Cleveland : TN – Southern All Star Dirt Super Late Models
Sat : May 12th – Cowtown Speedway ; Kennedale : TX – USMTS Casey’s Cup Qualifier Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – School Buses
Sat : May 12th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Midwest Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – TNT Speedway ; Three Lakes : WI – Season Opener Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : May 12th – TNT Speedway ; Three Lakes : WI – Season Opener Wissota Street Stocks
Sun : May 13th – Springport Motor Speedway ; Springport : MI – Modifieds
Sun : May 13th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Sport Modifieds
Sun : May 13th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Late Models
Sun : May 13th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Factory Stocks
Wed : May 16th – Rolling Wheels Raceway ; Elbridge : NY – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Wed : May 16th – Millbridge Speedway ; Salisbury : NC – Mini Outlaws
Thu : May 17th – Concord Speedway ; Concord : NC – USAC Eastern Focus Midgets

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