Motorsports 4 the Masses teamed up with the Stock Car Classics Facebook group to bring all these guys out on the same day! Everything from current Xfinity series cars to 1950s tribute racers and museum quality stuff! North Carolina Motor Speedway hosted its last Cup series race in 2004. After a half life with some events and a period of complete neglect it is finally coming back!
Word on the street was that Detroit was introducing downsized cars for 1977. When NASCAR got wind during the ’76 season, it began exploring the idea of initiating a rule change that would mandate a 110-inch wheelbase chassis, versus the then-current 115-inch design. But once that process began, developmental cost was a concern, prompting Bill France Jr. to issue a statement: “Eventually, we will have to follow Detroit’s trend. In order to curb expenses, the teams will be permitted to use equipment they already have instead of letting new equipment become obsolete in a short time.” The changes Bill hinted at were finally scribed into the 1981 rule book, with one exception: the outgoing cars would be permitted to race at the season opener at Riverside International Raceway (in Riverside, California) on January 11. Bobby Allison won at the helm of a 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. New downsized cars were permitted to compete side-by-side, even though they were not fully mandated yet. Dale Earnhardt finished third in one such Grand Prix, owned by Rod Osterlund.
When NASCAR was formed in 1948, the first season was filled with races featuring older, modified coupes from the prewar era. But when “Big” Bill France envisioned a stock car series, he wanted the cars on his racetracks to be real, stock cars. The rules were fairly simple for the first “strictly stock” season of ’49, stating that both the car and engine had to be available to the public. Racers, as they do, pushed the boundaries of the rulebook, eventually leading to homologation rules that stated manufacturers must sell a certain number of a car or engine to make it legal for competition. The number fluctuated over the course of the rule’s lifetime, larger or smaller when convenient to encourage competition (and manufacturer dollars) and sometimes determined through a formula, but 500 units was a rough average.
The fastest street cars made the fastest race cars, and machines like the 1949 Oldsmobile with Rocket V-8 power and the low-slung, aerodynamic Hudson Hornets of the early 1950s dominated. But there was clearly a cat-and-mouse game between NASCAR and manufacturers, both in an effort to control speeds and level the playing field. During 1957, NASCAR outlawed the use of “exotic and multi-carburetor induction systems,” which effectively outlawed the famed “Black Widow” Chevy, and the E-code and F-code Ford engines, for example. By the 1960s, as the street performance game was really heating up, wins on the NASCAR circuit meant sales in the showrooms, so many manufacturers were really pushing the rules, and France wasn’t enforcing his homologation regulations as strictly as he once was. In 1962, Pontiac’s championship-winning Super Duty 421 Catalina, for instance, wasn’t exactly homologated. Nor was Chevy’s “Mystery Motor” or Chrysler’s 426 Hemi, which dominated the 1964 season. These engines weren’t available at any dealership
.After the Hemi blew everyone’s doors off, and following the deaths of three superstars, Bill France laid down the law once again. Starting in 1965, NASCAR implemented rules dictating that all engines conform to a maximum displacement and be of a production design only, and only a single, four-barrel carburetor was allowed. There were several more details and updates to the rules and it all meant the free-for-all was over. To get extra speed on the track automakers quickly began creating homologation specials – street cars with sleeker aerodynamic bodies and more powerful engines to increase their performance. Here, we’ve chosen our 10 favorites and listed them in chronological order.
If you get our weekly Hemmings Muscle Machines newsletter, you’d see that we’re currently geeking on a certain 1940 Ford coupe hot rod, built and owned by one David Pearson. Yes, that David Pearson – the legendary stock car driver. Not only did Pearson drive one of our favorite race cars, but he drove during our favorite period of NASCAR: the late Sixties.
So, it’s fair to say that we want that ’40 coupe, but we also want to now build a fastback Torino cut to look like David Pearson’s famous Holman Moody #17 car. Ugh. Too many ideas, not enough cash on hand. But look, what kind of car nuts would we be if we didn’t have a fairly insane wishlist of cars we need to build? Tell you this much, though: we’d build a Pearson car and drive it every day for a year. Welded-up doors, cage and all. Sure, turn signals and head/taillights, but also shorty headers and even shorter pipes. The fun part would be figuring out how to run it as a commuter car without getting pulled over every 3.5 miles and kicked out of the neighborhood for firing it up before 8 a.m. every weekday.
Joe Merola of Braddock, PA entered the Tucker in the 1951 Memorial Day race
One of the things you learn very quickly here is that there’s never any telling what the Hemmings Nation can uncover, especially on this blog. In that spirit, we present this photo, furnished by Ron Pollock of Niles, Ohio. If the name’s familiar, that’s because we recently posted a photo from Ron’s sold-out 50-year history of Sharon Speedway in northeastern Ohio, which depicted a 1961 Chevrolet bubbletop turned into an uncommonly good-looking pavement Late Model.
Ron checked in again this week. The photo above depicts what may be the only Tucker Torpedo ever used in a racing event. He used the image in another book he authored, a history of Canfield Speedway,Â a half-mile dirt track that operated between 1946 and 1973 at the Mahoning County Fairgrounds, outside Youngstown. Ron was trying to respond to an earlier question on the Hemmings blog about whether a Tucker had ever been raced in NASCAR. The date on the photo suggests it ran at Canfield over Memorial Day in 1951.
Do you think the stock car racingaero war ended in 1970? NASCAR rules may have dealt an evolutionary death blow to the winged Mopars, and nixed Ford’s King Cobras as the prototypes emerged, but it didn’t eliminate wind cheating designs. In the ensuing decades, Detroit learned that the challenges of meeting CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and increasing racetrack speeds could be served by continuing to improve aerodynamics, often with pleasing visual results. We can think of a few post “aero wars” examples, like the 1975 Chevy Chevelle Laguna S-3. Its laid-back front fascia helped lower the coupe’s drag coefficient. Buick affixed a similar design to its mid-’70s Special and Century, and Olds didn’t hesitate to lay back the front end of its Cutlass 442, though its superspeedway prowess began in ’78. This was the subtle aero war, a trend that continued when NASCAR finally embraced Detroit’s downsized intermediates for 1981.
Buick’s Regal was an instant hit, taking 47 wins in 61 races through 1982. Ford’s nine wins during that span led to a completely redesigned, well-rounded Thunderbird, while Chevy’s embarrassing four wins (one by a Malibu, another by a four-year-old Monte Carlo) led to the reintroduction of the Monte Carlo SS, which included a sleek windswept nose with a flush-mounted integral grille. The new SS helped land Chevy a season high 14 wins in 1983, and another 21 a year later. But by 1985, Ford regained momentum and the two makes ended the season with 14 wins each.
For 1986, Chevy brass tasked its engineers with creating an enhanced Monte Carlo SS that would further reduce drag at triple-digit track speeds.
Ford Performance reveals NASCAR Xfinity Series Ford Mustang that will race in 2020, the fifth all-new motorsports Mustang in the past year The latest Mustang race car was developed as a joint effort between Ford Design and the Ford Performance Technical Center, where development tools and simulators are advancing both race and production vehicles for […]
Somehow, despite the constant churn of Florida real estate, the decades-long dilapidation, and the drug-use problem that plagued the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, the facility remains in pretty much the same configuration today as it did when it was built in 1941. That includes the Ebony Club, a rooftop bar where Bill France laid out his plans for NASCAR, which makes the hotel’s upcoming auction more than just another real-estate transaction.
It was consistency, not race wins, that carried Benny Parsons to the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. The story of the season’s last race, where Parsons wrapped up his sole NASCAR Cup title, is the stuff of legend, and on January 12, 2019, the 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna that propelled him to victory will cross the auction stage as part of Mecum’s Kissimmee sale.