What kind of cars race on dirt tracks
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I write as a hobby and have a wide range of interests from automobile racing to military history. Often overlooked in the mainstream, dirt track racing is perhaps the most exciting form of automobile racing in North America.
Dirt track racing is done on over 1, tracks throughout the United States. In the s and 30s, dirt track racing became the dominant form of automobile racing in the United States due to the abundance of thoroughbred horse racing tracks.
There have been traditionally two types of racing cars that have dominated dirt track racing: open-wheel cars—including sprint cars and modifieds, which are primarily run in the Northeast and Midwest—and stock cars, which are raced in the South. Longer length tracks tend to be more dangerous due to higher speeds, which increase the chance for injury to drivers and damage to race cars.
This is why dirt tracks of one mile or more in length are extremely rare. The most common dirt track surface is clay because it retains moisture more readily, which results in more tacky conditions, allowing the cars to grip the track better and reduce dust. Each race track and sanctioning body maintains specific rules outlining each class of race car, including dimensions, engine size, equipment requirements, and prohibitions.
For the most part, tracks usually coordinate with various other tracks to allow for the widest venue for each type of car. This coordination allows the drivers to compete at many different racetracks, increase competitors’ chances of winning, and lets racing associations develop a series of race events that promote fan interest.
There are several forms of dirt track oval race cars, and in this article, we will go over each type. The main types of race vehicles that race on dirt are open-wheel cars, modified cars, stock cars, and motorcycles. Ray Harroun’s Wasp, winner of the Indianapolis An open-wheel car is a type of car with its wheels on the outside of the body and usually consisting of a single seat.
Open-wheel cars differ from their production-based brethren in that their wheels are usually covered by fenders. Open-wheel race cars also tend to have a higher level of technical sophistication, with a Formula One race car being at the pinnacle of technological development and refinement. Famous racecar driver and constructor Ray Harroun was an early proponent of lightweight, single seat, open wheel monocoque race cars and began racing them competitively in after a stint working as a mechanic in the automotive industry.
Harroun was then tasked with building a race car to compete in the inaugural Indianapolis then known as the International Sweepstakes which he would go on to win. His revolutionary design dubbed the Marmon Wasp would become the blueprint and forefather of all single-seat racecar designs. The standard open-wheel race car is simple in basic design with a small cockpit sufficient only to enclose the driver’s body, with the head exposed to the air.
The exception to this is modified stock cars in which the driver’s head and body is contained in the car similar to that of a conventional passenger car.
In modern open-wheel racecars, the engine is typically located directly behind the driver such as in Indy Car and Formula One racing; however, modifieds and sprint cars retain the standard setup where the engine is in front of the driver. Both types of cars are rear-wheel drive and depending on class rules many types are allowed to have wings at the front and rear of the vehicle, as well as a very low and virtually flat undertray that helps achieve additional aerodynamic downforce pushing the car onto the racing surface.
As opposed to off-road racing, an open-wheel race car races on dedicated purpose-built road courses or temporary street circuits, however, these types of races and tracks are beyond the scope of this discussion and we will be focusing on dirt track oval racing from here on out. Walking into the gates of your local dirt track for the first time can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming with the plethora of different cars in the garage area and on the track.
How do you make sense of it all? Like what is that funny-looking car with the big wings on it, or is that really a go-kart zipping around the track, and what is that behemoth rumbling around the track shaking the grandstands as it speeds by? As any fan will tell you it all begins to make sense after you attend a few races and get to know what the different classes or divisions are and what types of cars compete in each.
First and foremost one must understand that dirt track racing is a very regionalized sport and the types of cars, classes, and race procedures differ from region to region and track to track. Although dirt tracks are sprinkled throughout the United States and Canada the types of cars competing will vary from place to place. For example, in the South and Southeast, stock cars dominate the scene.
You will be hard-pressed to find any tracks there running sprint cars on a weekly basis. In contrast throughout the Midwest and oddly enough Pennsylvania sprint cars are the most popular form of dirt track racing, although you will find a few stock cars here or there.
On the West Coast, you will find the highest concentration of non-wing sprint cars which always put on death-defying if not sometimes dangerous shows. We will explain what each type and most common types of open-wheel dirt track race cars are and where you can see them race.
A go-kart is a small tubular frame open-wheel vehicle that typically uses small 2-stroke or 4-stroke gasoline-powered engines. Racing karts are single-seat vehicles that can reach speeds up to mph but the typical dirt track kart usually reaches speeds ranging from 30 to 50 mph.
Most karts are open and have no roll cage, but on many dirt tracks, a cage is required due to the higher speeds being reached and the increased chance of a rollover or flip usually caused by close contact racing. Karts are usually the entry-level class at most tracks and people looking to get into the sport find this an economical way to test the waters before committing serious money on a true race car. Drivers can start racing karts as young as 7 or 8, however, there are different classes divided between different age groups.
During a typical Saturday night racing program the karts are usually the first class on the track and the races tend to be very short, anything ranging from 4 laps for a trophy dash to 20 laps for a feature event. One of two types of qualifying and race formats can be used. Some tracks use a racing format of two lap heats followed by a lap final.
Finishing positions in the two heat races are used to calculate the starting position in the feature race. The other popular format is time qualifying. Karts equipped with transponders are sent out onto the track in groups of 5 or less to try to achieve the fastest lap time. Positions for the lap feature event are determined by qualifying times. Quarter Midgets are a popular class of entry-level racing and the next step up from racing karts.
Drivers are usually restricted to the ages of 5 to 16 years old and there are upwards of 4, quarter midget racers in the United States. Most quarter midgets can reach speeds of anywhere between 30 to 45 mph and this is considered safe due to the limited size of the tracks they compete on.
Although quarter midgets can run on larger tracks that run Saturday night programs this is not common and most quarter midget races are sanctioned by a local or regional sanctioning body that runs on tracks specifically built for quarter midget racing. A micro sprint is the next class of race car found on dirt tracks after quarter midgets. They are smaller versions of full sprint cars and must run a side-mounted, chain-driven cc motorcycle engine.
They can either be winged or non-winged depending on the track regulations. Their chassis and body style is like that of a full-sized sprint car or midget sprint car. The minimum weight for a winged sprint is lbs while non-winged must weigh lbs. Generally speaking, a micro sprint is supposed to be a more cost-effective alternative to racing a mini sprint or midget but sometimes can cost just as much or more depending on the level of competition and willingness to invest in the program.
The minimum age at most tracks to race micro sprints is 12 and there is no maximum age so many adults can find enjoyment racing in this class also. Very similar in appearance to a micro sprint, a mini-sprint is a slight step up from its micro counterpart and is more comparable to a full-size sprint car in appearance and a midget sprint car in size and dimensions.
In a true mini-sprint, the driver sits upright as in a sprint or midget. Mini-sprints feature an upright style chassis, and a center-mounted four-cylinder motorcycle engine and are similar in size and appearance to a modern-day midget sprint car.
Engines are chain-driven and can range anywhere between cc and cc in size and cars can weigh anywhere between to lbs. A midget packs a lot of power into a small package and these cars feature a very high power-to-weight ratio and typically use four-cylinder engines. Midget engines have to horsepower while only weighing 1, lbs, which makes these cars extremely fast, and very dangerous.
Full safety roll cages are mandatory for this exact reason. They are designed to run relatively short sprint-style races seldom exceeding 50 laps in distance. Few local tracks conduct a weekly midget racing program and most midget races are hosted by a regional or national touring series. However, there is still a strong following for non-winged sprint cars, especially in California where this type of racing garners the most support.
Purists however respect non-wing sprint racers because this type of car is more difficult to control as traction is harder to find and the cars spend more time sideways putting a premium on driver skills and offering more side-by-side racing.
This also makes them extremely dangerous and there has been an increase in serious and fatal injuries leading to non-winged sprint cars being banned on certain tracks. Winged Sprint Cars are simply put the fastest, highest horsepower, and most dangerous race cars on dirt today. They are truly awesome machines and words cannot describe what it is like to see one in person. Although they can be seen throughout America, sprint car racing is the motorsport of the Midwest. The vast majority of sprint car racing’s biggest events take place at tracks in this region.
As the fastest cars on dirt, everything about a sprint car is pure speed and anything not absolutely necessary to make the car go fast is discarded. They do not even have starters and have to be pushed to start. You may hear or see the term or sprints. This is referring to the engine displacement. The purpose of the wings is to provide as much down-force as possible in order to keep the car glued to the track. Tracks now limit wing size to 25 square feet.
While many tracks allow wings that can be adjusted by the driver in the cockpit many do not. The cars use methanol fuel and the gas tanks can carry anywhere from 25 to 35 gallons, but drivers and crews have to be mindful of fuel load because carrying too much will make the car too heavy, and not carrying enough will result in running out and that spells the end of the night because there is no time to refuel in a 50 lap sprint race.
When it comes to engines the is the engine of choice for Outlaw Sprint Cars. These engines are capable of producing an amazing horsepower and that is spectacular in a car only weighing 1, lbs. Due to high cost, most local dirt tracks only run Sprints and this enables many hobby racers to compete due to lower costs and availability of engine parts. Typical engines are based on production cast-iron blocks and heads, using a wet sump in place of the expensive dry-sump system, and forbidding down nozzles.
A silver crown car is a throwback of a bygone era and are the direct decedents of the old Indianapolis Roadsters that ran throughout the s and early 60s.
Silver Crown cars run on dirt or asphalt and look very much like a sprint car but much bigger. They run production-based V-8 engines capable of producing horsepower while only weighing 1, making for one quick and nimble race machine. As we leave the exciting world of the light and nimble high horsepower sprint cars and go over to the other side of dirt track racing and learn about the fender bending, beating, and banging world of stock cars we will enter a completely different racing culture.
With roots dating back to the s prohibition era when moonshine runners would attempt to outrun the authorities in souped-up production cars. With the repeal of prohibition in , there was an abundance of fast modified cars sitting about so guys got together and started having informal races against one another. It quickly became apparent that there would need to be some standard set of rules if the races were to be fair so Bill France Sr.
Street Stocks are a rough and tumble class of production-based race cars. This class is the most numerous on the local dirt track due to the fact that few modifications are allowed and a car can be brought from a local junkyard and brought up to racing standards. A team has to simply strip the car of all unnecessary components and add a safety roll cage and go racing. Depending on the track they can be called street stocks, pure stocks, hobby stocks, bombers showroom stocks, or U-cars.
Due to the abundance of front-wheel drive cars now available in many junkyards this type of car has become more prevalent on local dirt tracks.
What kind of cars race on dirt tracks.The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Dirt Track Racing
There are a lot of different types of car races. They all involve different types of cars. For example, some races use production cars that only have minor modifications. Others involve custom-built cars that are designed specifically for each race. These races also take place on different types of tracks. The car races you see on television are usually on the standard oval tracks. But there are also races that take place on smaller tracks and even on the street.
Of course, these races are quite different from the ones you see on television. They are also less regulated than the national and international race forums. Some of these are all over the world. Others are local to the United States or Europe. There are races that are regulated by associations like NASCAR and others that are regulated by the biggest guys in the neighborhood!
It all depends on what kind of race it is. Read on. This is the most famous type of auto racing. It involves single-seater cars that are custom designed for the races. These cars are very expensive to build. They involve large teams sponsored by large companies. You need to be sponsored and qualify. It takes many of these racers years to reach the point where they can drive competitively. The races take place on arced tracks, much like what you see on televised races.
Some of the popular Formula races include the Grand Prix. The has nothing to do with the number of laps the drivers take. It has to do with the length of the track. The goal of these races is to come in first place. The cars have staggered starting spots to avoid collisions. The cars can navigate the inside and outside lanes to try to get an edge on their competition.
They involve 2-seater cars, which is different from Formula races. In Formula races, the cars are all single-seaters. They also have enclosed wheels instead of having the wheels on the outside of the cars.
There are two types of sports car racing: Grand Tourer and Prototype. These cars are built specifically for certain races, just like in Formula racing. The goal of these races is not always to be the first driver across the finish line. The goal here is endurance. Some of the races last anywhere from 2. The racers do get a chance to stop at their pits for minor repairs.
They can also switch racers since they are two-seater cars. In the U. These races are just what they sound like. They involve stock cars. These are cars that came off the regular production lines of major auto manufacturers. Some of these cars have custom specifications, of course.
These cars are driven by professionals. Yes, these cars have certain specs. Some Formula race cars cost millions of dollars to build. The engine itself can be millions of dollars.
In stock car racing, they take basic sports cars and enhance them a bit. The cars push speed to the limit. Their goal is to drive as fast as possible and beat out all the other cars. Keep in mind — these races are in the United States. Some of the popular races include the Daytona and Sprint Cup. Most drag racing is done privately and not as part of a big organization. These races are the most basic types of races there are. The cars line up, take off and see who can make it to the finish line the fastest.
There is no oval track. It is straight-line racing. Speed is key. They take regular cars and then customize it. You may see a Fort Mustang in a drag race. It has been customized and boosted by the driver and his team. The goal here is speed and acceleration. This is why a lot of the racers use things like Noz and Nitro to get their cars off to a fast start.
These boosters allow them to capitalize at the end and overtake the other cars. They are short distance tracks of about meters. These are a lot shorter than they sound. A typical drag car race can be over in a matter of a few seconds.
Rallying involves production vehicles. Back in the s and s, if you had a Camaro Rally Sport, you knew you had a cool car. Certain cars are designed to drive fast. These races take part on closed tracks or even on public roads. They are not really overseen by any certain association or group. Most of these races take place in small towns where people are into fixing and racing cars. These are designed for public races. They race on all sorts of tracks and in all sorts of conditions.
For example, some Rally Car races take part on gravel, snow or ice. They race in a point to point format, sort of like drag racing. Whoever gets to the finish line first — and in one piece — wins. This type of racing is normally not sponsored by anyone. Instead, these races take place on all different sorts of locations and road conditions.
Many take place on sand, dirt or even in the woods. The racers and their friends build insane tracks and then see who can actually complete the race. Some of these races involve tricks rather than speed. They use production cars, motorcycles and trucks. You might even see people racing off-road on an ATV or dirt bike. One of the more popular off-road races is the Baha in Mexico.
These races tend to travel across the U. Instead, sponsors pay to build insane, indoor tracks where the monster trucks compete. They have to navigate huge dirt piles and crazy stunts. These are held in smaller arenas. The trucks are sponsored by companies like RedBull and Monster Energy. They pay to host the events and take a big cut of the profits from the Monster Truck shows.
Believe it or not, the monster truck races are part of the U. Hot Rod Association. The goal is to entertain the crowd. A lot of the monster trucks have intimidating names and set out to crush the competition. These races are similar to the other auto races involving production cars.
They race on special tracks, unlike the oval or circular tracks you see with most professional auto racing. This kind of racing is much more popular in Europe than anywhere else. These races take place in different parts of the world.
What kind of cars race on dirt tracks.How Dirt Stock Car Racing Works
Dirt ditr racing is a form of motorsport held on clay or dirt surfaced oval race tracks often used for thoroughbred horse racing. Dirt track racing started in жмите сюда United States before World War I and became widespread during the s and s using both automobiles and motorcycles. Two different types of race cars dominate — open wheel racers in the Northeast and West and stock rae in the Midwest and South.
While open wheel race cars are purpose-built racing vehicles, stock cars also known as fendered cars can нажмите для деталей either purpose-built race cars or street rrace that have been modified to varying degrees. There are hundreds of local and regional racetracks throughout the nation. A dirt track’s racing surface may be composed of any soil, although most seasoned dirt racers probably consider a moist, properly-prepared clay oval their favorite dirt racing surface.
Preparing a dirt track correctly for racing is both a traditional learned craft as well as a long and complex job requiring hours of work. Typical machines used in track preparation include a grader, a cultivator or rototiller, 2 types of rollers and a watering truck, although the process varies at different dirt tracks around the world. After an event, a track’s rutted surface is first graded and what kind of cars race on dirt tracks back into the contours of the track’s layout.
The freshly-smoothed track surface is then aerated with a cultivator or rototiller to loosen the now-compacted upper layer and assist with greater water penetration for a more moist track on race day. Watering is repeated as necessary according to climate, location and soil composition. Using offset boom nozzles to on water trucks will avoid mashing aerated soil. A dirt track should be rolled and watered as required on race morning what kind of cars race on dirt tracks a final light watering, just prior to wheel-packing.
Outdoor dirt tracks are typically aerated 12″ deep. Nearly all tracks are oval and less than 1-mile 1. The most common increments in the U. With the longer tracks, the race cars achieve higher speeds up to mph kmh and the intervals between cars increase.
This decreases the chance of crashes but increases the damage and chance of injury when cars do crash. The races consist of several four lap qualifying heats that eliminate slower drivers. Then there is a final race featuring the fastest competitors.
In mainland Europe, long tracks can be grass, sand or cinder, and can be up to 1-kilometer 0. Dirt track racing in Australia has a history dating back to the kijd and s. Most tracks have a clay surface, though some use dolomitedolomite and clay mix or even sand and clay mix. During the s and early s, a small number of tracks were paved with asphalt, though this phase only lasted about a decade and all tracks paved over eventually reverted to their former surfaces. Each racetrack or sponsoring organization maintains a rule book outlining each class of race car which includes dimensions, engine size, equipment requirements and prohibitions.
The requirements for each class are usually coordinated with multiple tracks to allow for the widest available venue for each type of car. This coordination allows the drivers to compete at many different racetracks, узнать больше здесь competitors’ chances of winning, and lets racing associations develop a series of race events that promote fan interest.
Many tracks support two types of racing in their programs, open wheel rafe and what kind of cars race on dirt tracks cars. Both types range from large and powerful V8 engines to small yet still powerful, four-cylinder engines. Some of the smaller open wheel race cars have classes for single-cylinder engines. Depending on the class, the cars may have wings to aid in handling at higher speeds. Open wheel cars are generally manufactured with tubular frames and a body purchased for oc particular class.
The wheels of these vehicles are not protected by fenders; they are exposed or “open”. There are also several engine builders that build both ci and ci engines for traveling sprint car teams. Modified cars are a hybrid of open wheel cars and stock cars. This class of car has the racing characteristics of a stock car. The rear wheels are covered by fenders but the front wheels are left kin. There are sanctioning bodies that control the rules for cqrs class at most tracks.
Each sanctioning body has their own set of guidelines what kind of cars race on dirt tracks in an annual rule book and their own registration fees. Sanctioning bodies include:. Full-bodied cars, sometimes referred to as stock cars, are vehicles that, what kind of cars race on dirt tracks open-wheel cars, have fenders covering all wheels. Full-bodied cars can vary from full tube frame chassis and aluminum bodied late models to automobiles manufactured by the major automakers with certain modifications as allowed for each class.
There are several general types:. These are Full-bodied cars with very few changes allowed from the factory models sold for general use trcks the streets.
Changes can be limited to a certain type tire, making some parts of the car stronger to withstand the punishment of racing and so forth. All cars used on the race track are required to have a full set of Roll Cages and safety harnesses to protect the drivers.
Some tracks have what they call Hornets which are smaller unibody cars with 4 cylinder engines, that must be pretty much as they left the factory except for the roll cage. These would also be considered Pure Stock, but not full sized. These are also Full-bodied cars but can have changes to the what kind of cars race on dirt tracks, engines, tires and some changes to the suspension. What kind of cars race on dirt tracks have to have bodies shaped like the actual cars that are used on the street direct from the factory.
As with the Pure What kind of cars race on dirt tracks cars, all are required to have a full set of Roll Cages and мня top 10 safest places to live in north carolina нами harnesses to protect the drivers. Super Stock cars are very similar to Late Models and can be built from the ground up by the racers. They have limited engines and other restricted items that keep them from being full blown Late Models, but they are much more powerful than the Street Stocks and are an intermediate class between Street Stock, Modifieds and Late Models.
The bodies are after market or made by the racers in the general shape of the brand being represented Chev, Ford, Dodge, etc. These are stock cars custom built for racing, usually with welded tubular frames and custom built or purchased bodies.
The most popular type of dirt full-bodied stock cars are late models. They are categorized depending on what track and series that is being run. The racetrack dictates what type of late model is raced, but most fall into one of these categories:. Current dirt super late dirrt feature steel constructed tube frame chassis with aluminium bodies that give them the sleek aerodynamic appearance of a stock race car but there is nothing stock about these pound machines.
The cars are powered by an horsepower kW motor than can turn in excess of 9, rpm. The engines are based on V-8 Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford power plants. These cars are considered to be the most sophisticated cars in dirt racing. The expense for these cars is significant.
There is also cheaper equipment and parts what kind of cars race on dirt tracks can be purchased, but staying competitive is much more expensive. To get the frame chassis and parts all new without the transmission and motor is around 20, to 30, dollars depending on the quality what kind of cars race on dirt tracks from which manufacturer the chassis comes.
The engines for these cars are around horsepower and can cost up to 40, dollars. Most racing series and special events offer different motor options with the use of different total vehicle weights to create an even playing field:. Limited rave models and late model stocks have the same body rules as super late models. The main difference in the two classes is the motor rules. Engine limitations typically include maximum engine displacement size, certain required cylinder head angles, maximum compression ratios, and maximum carburetor size.
Suspension rules typically forbid the use of expensive canister shocks. Tire choice is also typically limited to a certain tire such as the Hoosier D55 spec tire.
Late model stocks have the same body rules as super late models and limited late models. This class typically has even more limited engine rules.
Many different tracks and sanctioning bodies have variations on these rules of what constitutes an open late model, limited late model and a late model stock.
Crate late models use Chevrolet small-block engine engines that have been sealed with a special tag. Typical motors include the GM and GM engines.
Recently the GM CT crate has been a popular choice of racers and some after-market Ford motors have surfaced in competition. Crate engines are sealed at the intake manifold, cylinder headfront cover, and oil pan with special twist off bolts.
Crate engines must not be altered, modified, or changed rwce any way from factory specifications. There are hundreds of additional unsanctioned regional and national special events run throughout the year. These cars are modified manufactured automobiles.
There is a high degree of variability between classes of modified cars. The diet divisions of modified production cars may be completely stock except for having their interior or windshields removed. The highest divisions of modified production cars may have only a few original stock parts, and may be nearly as fast as late model race cars. Most cars have their glass windshields removed and their interiors stripped out. What kind of cars race on dirt tracks original seat may be allowed to be what kind of cars race on dirt tracks in the lowest classes, but a racing seat and what kind of cars race on dirt tracks cage is required to be installed in higher divisions.
Other safety and performance features are added to higher division cars. The engines in lower divisions are completely stock, and higher divisions are highly modified and enhanced.
Most modified what kind of cars race on dirt tracks cars use full exhaust systems. Engines vary firt unmodified 4 cylinders to highly modified V8. Cars in lower divisions use stock tires, and higher division cars use purpose-built specified racing tires.
These cars are automobiles just as driven on the street; including the rave interiors. The engines may be modified as allowed tracos different rules:Saloon. There are three sidecar classes. The continental class has a cc single-cylinder engine, also in Great Britain there are left- and right-handed sidecar machines with the engines up to cc.
Sidecar races are some of the most exciting in Grass Track sport, with tracke driver and passenger working together to obtain the best grip and speed around the corners. Many obsolete race vehicles that were left in barns to rust are being restored ttracks their former glory.
The restored race vehicles are being displayed at car shows and sometimes raced.