Tuesday, June 7, 2016
TDN presents, Dobie's "Quarterly $tock Report"
I must confess, I have always been a fan of the longshot, the underdogs, the "back gate" gang. The class that raced their features last most weeks after many fans had made their way to the parking lots. The street stock class in particular, have a spot in my racing heart. This group of driver's used to help each other prepare their cars during the week or swap in a set of valve springs on a Friday night at 2am. I was a fan of that nose to the grindstone mentality, where weekly trips to the salvage yards yielded the parts needed to make the race that week. There were no wraps, and crate motors yet, (more on that below.)
My father took me to Challenger raceway one night to watch a new driver he had just built his first race motor for, it was "super" Joe Kelley. I grew fond of the hard racing and how cool the stocks looked. Those hard-nosed, shade tree mechanics in the street stock class rarely left me with a sub par race at the local track. Years later I remember being juiced up to watch the Fall Fest at Challenger raceway, which would bring the area tracks best stock drivers all to a neutral site to see who was king. Different cars, motors, heck not much was similar between them except the four tires and an engine.
That gets me to our current state in the street stock class. Not 100% sure if you can classify it other than each track in western Pa seems to be doing what they feel works for them. I can't knock that, and the economy has limited drivers from racing two and three nights a week. One track is running crate motors only this year, another says steel block and heads with 412 cubic inch limit. And others have tweaked their rules to allow most engines to run together with a weigh break for the smaller cubic inch engines. Throw in the fact that some allow late model size tires and transmissions, and further rules on spoilers, bodies and shocks can really limit a drivers options.
Those Crate motors i mentioned are the latest thing to ruffle feathers of some veteran drivers in a class where car counts seemed to be falling off. Most of us were skeptical when Lernerville made the major change to run those motors exclusively this season. I must say I have been pleasantly surprised by the 18 to 20 cars they are getting and the racing has been as exciting as ever in my opinion. Young drivers are entering the class and winning. It is fun to see some of the veterans of the class battling the young guns with similar equipment. Heck, just this weekend, the Ed Laboon memorial race at PPMS had 50 street stocks entered! As long as chassis design does not get outrageous like it has in the late model division, i think the future is bright. Hopefully my next Stock Report will include more on western pa tracks and some rules unification between them. I am a proud dirt track and street stock fan and I can dream, can't I?
- Brian "Dobie" Compton