Carefully setting up the car makes a big difference, and a small-block engine package is great to work with due to the Stock class tire limitations. We have converted the car to create a '76 Dart Sport with the help of Darren's Custom and Restoration in Green Cove Springs, Florida, to give me the advantage of a functional hoodscoop. These changes worked well enough to again get me to Second in the Division 2 HSC standings and another Third-Place showing in the nation-wide Summit series.
So, for me, going to the Crate Motor classes has been very gratifying, and I couldn't have been this successful without the help of my friends and quality parts and services from several companies. As for how this stuff fits together, well, I'd tell you more about how I did, but then I'd have to kill you. Maybe after we win the World Championship.
Myron's 12 Tips to know before coming to the track
1) The Event Schedule-duh! It has been known to change before an event and from track to track.
2) Track location and, if possible, the track layout and track radio station channel. Many have Web sites and e-mail addresses for info, and nobody likes being lost in the country 400 miles from home.
3) Location of motel if staying at one. Try for the closest proximity to the track and ask around the pits to avoid "dumps." The sanctioning body will normally have a list of locations, but call ahead, because these will fill up fast.
4) Fuel prices in states you are traveling through and locations of gas stations, if possible. Sometimes, the prices vary enough that it would be worthwhile to plan stops accordingly, and towing makes fuel economy important.
5) Time zone you will be racing in. Adjust accordingly so you are not the proverbial day late and/or dollar short.
6) Weather forecast just to be prepared mentally. If it's not raining on that quarter-mile, it's not raining. (Forecasts and radar can be tricky, but if one is in a tight points battle, going and getting rained out may be better than not going and finding out they raced!)
7) Closest retail locations for vehicle parts, restaurants, and/or grocery stores. Computer research can be helpful here, and it beats driving around in the truck looking for it.
8) Travel options if race is delayed one day or postponed (i.e.: Can you take one more day off? Is there a place to leave the car if you have to return in one or two weeks? Is flying a feasible alternative to driving back and forth?). Not a pleasant subject, but it's best to have a plan in advance.
9) Current class info for the index, which class the car falls into, and other rules. Rules and horsepower factors change, so keep up with the latest info through Drag Review magazine or ihra.com.
10) Sanction membership and entry info. Know when your NHRA/IHRA membership expires (this is required to race in class and noted on your tech card), and be aware of the cost associated with the class you plan to run. Unlike NHRA, IHRA does not require pre-entry to national or divisional events.
11) Car/engine legality. Don't tow out for nothing but trouble; make sure your car is legal. Blaming an obvious infraction such as engine spec, safety item, or car weight on your engine builder, helper, and so on doesn't work. Make sure THEY are doing their job. If you have any questions, call a tech official. Fixing something at the track isn't always possible. Also, carry extra LEGALLY INSTALLABLE (bolt-down or boxed) ballasts to compensate for possible scale discrepancies.
12) Contingency decals. If you want to get the money when you go racing, make sure you have, or can get, the rest of the applicable contingency decals at the track. The tech trailer does not always have them all, so get with your product manufacturers to ensure you have the proper ones on your car. Putting on any decals after the first round of eliminations is a BIG no-no and can cost you ALL eligible contingency payouts for the event!