Category: SCCA Racing

rontsuspension at midohio

front suspension at Mid Ohio

Talking to the team before practice at Mid Ohio they were cautiously optimistic. They feel that the track was one where being down in horsepower wouldn’t be as much of a disadvantage as somewhere like Road America. However from the very beginning the car had a significant push. They would struggle with this all day Friday.

First order of business was to try to balance the car. To do so they took a little wing out, which required drilling new holes in the mounting brackets. Then a rear spring change was made to try to correct the push issue. But neither issue corrected the problem. All during practice the team had been running on used tires, which may have masked part of the problem.

For qualifying a new set of tires was mounted and the car picked up some speed. Unfortunately everyone else did also and John qualified sixth fastest. Ahead were the Corvettes of Tommy Drissi, Doug Peterson, Simon Gregg and Amy Ruman. Cliff Ebben qualified 5th taking the honor of fastest Ford. The push was still there, but this time a “clicking” in transition was heard, which would have to be addressed.

On Saturday morning, the first order of business was to inspect all the heim joints for play. Once that issue was solved a radical spring change was made in a last ditch effort to cure the push issue. Of course the results wouldn’t be known until the race.

Rather than go into a lengthy report on the race suffice it to say that John was able to finish 4th. One more restart, which didn’t happen as they couldn’t get Amy Ruman’s car out of the sand trap in time, may have allowed him to make a run at the 3rd place finisher. But it didn’t happen, so be it.

Great race, and the dicing at the front was serious but clean. If you get the chance be sure to go out and check out the Trans Am series. Good racing and it offers something that few series do.



Time is important to racers, particularly track time.  Lets face it most of us don’t get but so many chances to actually get on the track. Maybe a Friday test day, if the work schedule, and budget, allows.

And because we don’t have much time we go out and run laps, and think that maybe a new set of tires, or a different transmission or engine package is what we need.  But maybe that’s not the answer, maybe we could improve the car closer to its potential without spending a load of money. (Before anyone says anything I do exclude new tires from this, that is an area that there is no getting around) So how do you make the car better, given the limited amount of time?

Get organized. First, record what is on the car now. Make detailed notes of every part of the setup, sway bars, springs, tire pressure etc. Then record the results, and here you have to be honest with yourself. What did it do?

Then every time you go out on track, change something on the car,. What it is you and your crew can figure out. But try something different and again record the results. And record the data when it is relevant, as soon as the car comes off the track. You don’t know what it is  that may wake your car up.

But one thing is for sure if you don’t try you wont get any better.



So, its almost the middle of February now, and the racing season is just about to get started. Now before anyone gets too excited I know that in some of the warmer climes they have already done a few races.

Baucom Motorsports Mustang

John Baucom and the Baucom Motorsports Mustang. You may recognize the name on the hood.

So what are your plans for the year? Are you going to compete this year, and if so to what extent? Seems like quite a few cars have been built over this past winter. If reports are accurate there were quite a few TA2 cars built. Whether all on them will race in the Trans-Am remains to be seen. Certainly there are other venues that they could be raced in. In addition at least two chassis builders are building cars which could be eligible to compete in either SCCA GT1 or Trans-Am.

Both of these are good signs and maybe it means that either the economy is doing better or people have gotten tired of sitting on their money and are going to come out and play again. We intend to put forth a stronger effort this year than we did last year on multiple levels.

BTW: before I forget, I spoke with a professional chassis builder last week about his plans. He is going to submit drawings of a new chassis to a sanctioning body. Why is that news? Because currently there is only one approved chassis for the class. I wish him well, he does good work and competition is always good.

Dont forget to give us a call or email if you need anything for your car. Check us out at If you dont see what you’re looking for we are constantly adding stuff. Brake Caliper seals and kits for Alcon and brembo will be added today, Performance Friction in the next little while.

Safety Spring for Centerlok type wheel nut. In stock today

Safety Spring for Centerlok type wheel nut. In stock today required in the Trans-Am series. Their price $10.00 each. Our price $9.50


We all know that racing costs a lot of money. And to an outsider it sometimes seems that the large professional teams are almost swimming in it. f course that brings the inevitable chorus of “I hate them, they only win because they have the best drivers, the best equipment, blah, blah, blah”.

That complaint ranges from the club racer in SCCA road racing, or your Saturday night short track right up the ranks. Well, today there was an interesting article on the website which I have shamelessly copied. Here are the thoughts of the chief executive of the Sauber F1 team. An interesting comment of a form of racing that we think is immune to financial woes. Check it out:

Sauber throw weight behind budget cap

Tuesday 3rd April 2012

Sauber throw weight behind budget capSauber throw weight behind budget cap

Sauber chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn has backed Bernie Ecclestone’s calls for a budget cap in F1, saying it would make the sport “more interesting”.

Formula One commercial rights holder Ecclestone recently re-opened the debate about a budget cap as he felt there are still too many people “running around with rose-tinted glasses” when it comes to the spiralling costs.

“The teams have to learn to be competitive without tonnes of money,” he said.

“They have to refocus again on the basics – on racing, spending on the sport – and not on baronial motorhomes and all kinds of entertainment.”

Kaltenborn says the Hinwil-based Sauber is in favour of limiting the spending by teams.

“We started it with the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), and that in itself was already an important step, but of course it is far from the only one you need,” she told the official Formula One website.

“We now have to evolve it to the next step, and in my view the future should indeed lie in some kind of budget cap under which each and every team could do what they want to, because we all have different strengths. Looking at our team, for example, we have a good infrastructure and a good wind tunnel, so it would allow us to benefit from that.

“Others have other assets. Overall I think it would make Formula One more interesting as it would also mean that we would all use different strategies and take different approaches to the business and the sport.”

Ecclestone suggested cap could come into force from 2013, and Kaltenborn also feels it should be introduced “very soon”.

“I think we should have the next step already in place for next season and take it from there,” she said.

“Next season for me should already see a major step forward in the financial feasibility of a team.

“When the current Concorde Agreement comes to an end at the end of this season, I think it would be a good time to set some kind of rules.”

When the budget cap idea was first mooted by former FIA president Max Mosley a few years ago, some of the big teams refused to back it with Ferrari even threatening to pull out of the sport.

Kaltenborn, though, believes all teams know that something has got to give.

“By now even the big teams should appreciate that Formula One with four teams would not be overwhelmingly attractive to fans,” she said.

“That would be a very wrong message.

Perhaps there are other forms of racing (Nascar?) that would do well to heed her comments. Preparing a Plan B before you need it isn’t a bad idea.


If you follow motorsport, this is a bittersweet time of year. Until the Daytona 24 hours there is almost no racing, and in fact precious little testing. Therefore up passes for news is generally pretty uninteresting, and obviously was a streetch on the authors part.

The exception to this is the constant flow of information about the two largest racing series in the world, F1 and Nascar. Before anybody starts to aim their digital flamethrower in my direction, let me say that I know F1 is far and away the king of motorsport. And as you look at the news articles you can see why.

But every now and then somebody does something to make you sit up and take notice. This time it was Caterham F1,one of the newer F1 teams, formerly known as Lotus F1. But lets not get sidetracked as to why they are Caterham, and the former Renault team is now Lotus. I can explain, but I wont.

As you may recall, every year all the F1 teams unveil, or launch, their new cars. And this is one of the highlights of the winter doldrums. To finally get to see your heros and the all new car which will, hopefully, win the World Championship. Its the motor racing equivalent of when we were kids getting to see the new model Chevy/Ford/Dodge. Remember those days, when the cars were brought to the dealership all covered up so nobody could see them? Well, those days are gone, but not the F1 launches.

I digress however. So why if this happens every year was I impressed by the Caterham launch? After all these things happen every year, and they have been done in every type of location from exotic to mundane. From elegant and understated to way over the top. In fact, I was beginning to believe that the only way they could come up with something different was to shoot it out of a cannon and land it in a bunch of Hooters girls.

But instead they did something so different, yet simple that you have to wonder why nobody (that I know of) had done it. They simply announced that their launch would be the first of the year, AND it would be on the cover of F1 Racing magazine. Only the most widely read F1 magazine in the world. And of course they would follow with Facebook, and other digital media.

Of course some people got their issue early and the news was broken a day early. Which I’m sure caused a lot of crocodile tears at Caterham. And now ScarbsF1 has a great analysis of the car, F1 racing had a article to go along with the photos, etc.

All of this is just a long winded way to say that in a time where we wring our hands and blame the economy for every ill in motor sport what was this worth? In the name of full disclosure I must admit that I have been impressed by this teams PR savvy ever since its inception. That said,how much uncontested FREE publicity did those guys get from just having a simple idea? If you were a potential sponsor what would you think of such out of the box thinking.

So, if you’re out there trying to get somebody to help you with your racing, and your by the numbers presentation isn’t working, maybe you need to think about a different approach.

Spindle for Centerlok

Rear Spindle for Centerlok

What an interesting couple of days. As most of you know we have focused most of our efforts on the Trans-Am style cars. They along with F1 are our first love, and we really want the series to succeed.

However in the last couple of days we got a call from the organizer of another series. This series also races full bodied cars on road courses. After some discussion we have agreed to start writing on a monthly basis about the cars in that series, as well as some other information. Hopefully by Monday we will have some more information to share on this.

When we founded a few years ago our first customer was a fellow from California by the name of Russ Thurber. Over the years we have cooperated with Russ in selling several racecars out in California, as well as some other parts.
Recently Russ returned to a business he had operated “back in the day”. He had opened a business call Vintage Racing Tees, which offers a range of racing themed tee shirts with a nostalgic twist. These are all printed in facility there in Ca. and shipped directly to you. Check them out at (a little secret- we will soon be selling them on the website or directly at selected tracks in the southeast)

So you have my apologies for being a little slack in posting. We will get back on track this weekend.

Chevy Beretta Trans-Am type car

While running around getting ready for Christmas I thought I would throw this picture up.This is a car that was built to be a spare car for the team. Never finished, it was recently sold to someone who hopefully will complete and put it on the track. Very nice piece though.

We haven’t forgotten the post on sway bars, but it may have to wait until after Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all, be safe and spend as much time as you can with family and friends.

Most of use know that since the 358 engines, with their big horsepower and torque numbers, have become standard in the Trans-Am series and elsewhere, so has the Hewland wide gear transmission.

But I was speaking yesterday with one of the competitors who is still successfully using a standard STA200 (aka narrow gear) tranny.
This fellow has been using this transmission for several years, graduating from a 700+ horsepower 310, to todays 850 horsepower 358. During that period he has had only one failure, a broken tooth on a 3rd gear during a race when he was running a 310.

When asked about the durability with todays motors, he first qualified his response by saying that he was pretty easy on transmissions. That the driver was a major contributor to the success or failure of any transmission.

But that aside, the big motor does require much more maintenance on the transmission. That the gears had to be closely inspected after every race. And, at the first signs of pitting they MUST be discarded. Otherwise they will soon fail. Other than that they follow a normal maintenance schedule for the rest of the components.

When asked if he felt that the wide gear was the proper way to go, the response was that yes it was better, but he needed other things first.

So, I guess like most things in a race car, it depends on your priorities, but if you dont have a spare 15k, you can still survive.

View of the naked cockpit - Riley chassis TA car circa 2010Well, congratulations to Tony Ave, the 2011 SCCA Trans AM Series Champion! With his win in the second race at Brainerd yesterday he clinched the championship.

So lets take a look at these cars, again. Its interesting that many of these cars have been around a pretty good while. And that in one way or another they all go back to a common theme. The tube chassis built by Pratt and Miller back in the day. That was a quantum leap from the unibodies and stock car chassis that had gone before. In one fell swoop those were obsolete.

Before you go any further let me say that the following is MY OPINION, based on conversations with professionals. And hard to quantify given the constant changing of tires and car weights, engines, etc.

Even today I think most people would say that the Pratt cars are the Cadillac of all the modern TransAM cars. Now I know that some people will say, “NO!” that Rocketsports cars were the dominant cars. But I disagree. Rocketsports became the organization that P&M had been, and still are, but they weren’t better.

But the P&M car was one that was for the expert, not the average driver. And this led to the Riley and Scott, which was more comfortable for more drivers, and in the right hands just as fast.

And of course dont forget the many cars that Pancho Weaver built that were successful as well. These even more than the R&S were for the bulk of the competitors.

And I don’t mean to overlook the Roush cars, which had more success than any of them. But they had the benefit of more testing, more data collection than any team before or since. And, of course, absolutely first class fabrication and maintenance. They are deservingly collectors items today.

These were just the most widely known of the chassis, there were and are others. Peerless,Riggins, and  some teams built their own, particularly backup cars, and then the chassis Tony Ave is building has to be considered.

I invite any opinions or discussion you have about the subject.

Next time we can talk about the hardware. Transmissions and engines.

John Baucom's Mustang at 3Rivers. Note the "Roadraceparts" decal on the door

John Baucom's Mustang at 3Rivers. Note the "Roadraceparts" decal on the door