In one corner of the massive BDR main shop building sits the Caterpillar and Hills Brothers Coffee haulers being restocked and readied for the next race by hauler drivers John Pounds (No. 22) and Rick Simmons (No. 23). Just to restock these with all the spare parts, engines, nuts, bolts, and everything else you might need 36 weekends a year is a full-time job.
Can you imagine carrying enough parts to rebuild two-plus cars at every race, and keeping track of that inventory?
Along the back wall are the surface plates-the perfectly level areas where the proper suspension setup is applied, along with the shock/spring packages for each track. These guys are under the direction of Head Engineer Todd Holbert, son of the late road racing great Al Holbert.
If you look closely you can see the team's setup notebooks for each track sitting on the back cabinets-full of those deep, dark chassis secrets.
Stepping through the back doors and into the fab/paint shop is the room where some of the 150-plus employees of BDR work on repairing, fabricating, adjusting, and conforming the chassis to meet the strict regulations of the NASCAR Winston Cup series. Here the Intrepids go from a bare Hopkins chassis to painted, decaled, and aerodynamically perfect vehicles ready for the wind tunnel or racetrack.
Unlike other shops that aren't built to suit the needs of the workers, BDR long-time employee and Director of Operations Lee Robertson designed each space to make life easier on the mechanics.
The fab shop houses three lifts that hoist the vehicles overhead for underbody work, allowing the mechanics to stand under the car-reducing the wear-and-tear on the hard-working men in the shop. Once the bodywork on each car is finished, they're rolled across the room into the paint shop.
Across the street from the main race shop is the engine shop (the only "off limits" area in the place). But this is unlike anything you might expect to see in a manufacturer's assembly line. Normally, engines are built as they travel down the line and workers install their pieces until it's completed. But not here. Each Dodge powerplant Is lovingly built by some of the most skilled mechanics in the business.
The engine builders at BDR all have more than a working knowledge of each aspect of the engine-building process. They know that it's the heart of the vehicle, so no expense is spared (within NACASR rules) in building them, and any problems here will make for a short Sunday at the track.
The engine shop is led by Head Engine Builder Terry Elledge, one of the most valued members of the BDR organization. He and his staff helped develop the stout Dodge engine for Winston Cup competition.
As in all forms of racing, the exact specifications of each engine is a closely guarded secret, but we can tell you that under the hoods of the No. 22 and No. 23 Intrepids live Dodge's NASCAR-approved V8s. Producing 750 bhp with 530 lb-ft of torque, these monsters run a 12:1 compression ratio, with a 4.125x3.330 bore and stroke using BME pistons and breathing through a Braswell carburetor.
With the '01 Daytona 500 victory under their belts, we'd say Terry Elledge and his staff have a good understanding of Dodge's Winston Cup engine.
Here And ThereWe've walked you through almost every corner of the BDR High Point shops, and now it's time to follow the guys to the track and see what else it takes to put a Winston Cup Dodge Intrepid on the asphalt.
Getting the car properly prepared at the shop is half the battle in being fast off the truck. Being able to quickly pass through the required NASCAR technical inspection is critical to getting as much track time as possible. This allows the team more time to dial-in the qualifying and race setups.
"I'm real proud of the effort the guys put in the car," says Burton. "Most of our guys have jobs at the shop. They aren't the hired guns (race-day-only pit stop specialists) some teams use."