THE SHOP

December '18

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20 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 Hot Parts for Next Year Looking forward to next season, sources open up about their newest circle track products: "We have our gun-drilled Sprint car 30-inch torsion bars that we've devel- oped over the last year-and-a-half. They are being run on some of the top Sprint cars in the nation and we just started marketing them for sale in September. We also have our cam- bered 5-on-5 asphalt late-model drive plate. It's a bulletproof piece that doesn't have to be removed in order to pull your axles out—just pop the hub cap off and slide the axle out of the rear-end." Jim Kontje Strange Oval "MAHLE has performance rings, bear- ings and gaskets for many racing applications for high performance on the track. MAHLE continues to develop new ring packages with our latest PVD face coatings, enabling engine shops to have the face coating technology on performance rings. Additionally, Clevite is evaluating and making changes to engine bear- ings to reduce oil flow in the engine. We are also making some H-Series bearings into a V-Series option for the higher-stressed engines. Also exciting is the expansion of MAHLE's new performance gasket line." Dan Begle MAHLE Aftermarket "Our off-the-shelf SBC 350/400-ci domed PowerPak Plus piston kits are custom pistons using lightweight, ultra-strong external strutted forg- ings, machined with racing 13+:1 compression ratios, gas ports, dual- coated and supplied with our HV358 all steel 1.0mm, 1.0mm, 2.0mm ring package. We also offer small-block Ford WISSOTA spec engine piston kits, two levels of SBC 2bbl light- weight piston kits and two levels of SBC 305-ci piston kits." Trey McFarland MAHLE Motorsport "For 2019, we are excited to have bleed-adjustable circle track shocks available. These allow the racer to adjust their rebound or compression valving with an external adjustment knob. This option will complement our existing line of non-adjustable circle track shocks including steel and alu - minum-body shocks with both twin-tube and monotube construction styles." Marshall Fegers QA1 Precision Products Another Round To combat that trend, he says it's impera- tive that manufacturers and reputable builders get involved however possible introducing quality technical contribu- tions. "There is a huge need for credible and tangible technical information," he believes. Fegers agrees. "I think the biggest thing for racing shops is the internet. It hasn't been a big secret— people buy more and more things via the internet and it has enabled people to price- shop easier than ever. This is good for the race shops with a strong online presence, but can be tough to manage for brick-and- mortar race shops." Another specific factor he's noticed involves racing tires. "The race shops have commented that racers are no longer doing preventative maintenance to their cars like they used to, and instead are spending all of their money on new tires," he reveals. "One even said 'I've got guys who will run their brake pads until they're metal on metal but they'll put new tires on every night.'" MAKING CHANGES Understanding that racing in all its form is driven by changes and innovation, it's important that speed shops keep up with the new normal. Here's some insight on how things have changed in the past decade. "Overall, the engine shops have become more specialized in specific racing classes," says MAHLE Aftermarket's Begle. "Some shops have reached out to performance parts manufacturers to keep up with the latest technologies. They have also con- tinued their education through manu- facturer-supported trade and technology events. It is difficult yet possible for engine builders to compete against the larger shops." The intensity of the market is not lost on MAHLE Motorsport's McFarland. "There is more competition from outside for the customer's dollars, more accessi- bility to knowledge for the customer— some good, some bad—and more rules and restrictions aimed, sometimes poorly, at reducing costs for the racer. All of this requires the shop to be more proactive, competitive and smarter." Kontje from Strange Oval notices that shops are becoming more specialized and knowledgeable about the products they sell. "Also, parts manufacturers are playing a greater role in educating racers about their products and then turning racers over to distribution outlets selling their products for the purchases," he says. "In today's racing world, manufacturers and distrib- With more information available to racers, shops must be proactive in their approach to serving circle track racers. (Photo courtesy MAHLE Motorsport) MAHLE Motorsport's 23-degree performance piston was developed for circle track racing. (Photo courtesy MAHLE Motorsport)

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