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TA Style Wheel Safety Clip. For use w/centerlok spindles. Required by TA

TA Style Wheel Safety Clip. For use w/centerlok spindles. Required by TA

We now produce  two new products, wheel safety clips and dashboards. This marks our initial foray into manufacturing our own material.  Both will be used on the GT1 Chassis that is being built by Mark.

 

The safety clips as most know are an important safety device  which prevents the wheel nut from backing off on centerlok equipped cars.Which as anyone who has had a wheel run off knows can get exciting quickly. Previous the have been a wide variety in quality and dimensions in these relatively simple parts. We address that by having all clips 3.50″ inches long and made of 304 stainless annealed wire. That prevents the wire from cracking or kinking at the bends. In addition the spring rate is slightly higher than some of our competitors.

Sold individually for $11.00 each or pack of 2 for $20.00

Give us a call at (804) 921-0902.

 

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The Trans Am at VIR  was run in conjunction with the SVRA. I always enjoy looking at the older cars, particularly those from older Pro series. There was a decent collection of older Camaros and Mustangs, even saw an Audi from the ALMS. But what really interested me was a red Ford Capri.

The car was remarkably stock looking. No big flared fenders on this car. The body,, which seemed to sit precariously high off the ground, was steel not carbon fiber.  No 800 HP V8 but rather a Weber carbed 2000cc Ford 4 cylinder. All in all the antithesis of the cars that I generally am involved with. But it was neat and clean, obviously well taken care of by the owner, a friend that I haven’t seen since, well the last time I was at a vintage race.

But this little car, had been involved in the Trans Am, indirectly at least, “back in the day” as they say. In the early 70’s the Trans Am was divided into two groups over 2.5 liters, and under 2.5 liters. Ford in an effort to promote its recently imported Capri raced a couple of cars with factory support.  Compared to the Alfa’s which were dominating the under 2.5 races the Fords were nowhere. They would move over to IMSA where while they didn’t set the world on fire they had a bit more success.

This current owner, (who like myself raced Improved Touring Capri’s many years ago) found the original race car which was for sale. Unfortunately it had deteriorated to the point that restoration, while not impossible, was more than he wanted to tackle. However the backup car wasn’t in bad shape at all. So a deal was made the car went to the metro DC  area and work began on getting it ready for the track again.

Today it races vintage races with some success. The owner is as proud of it as anyone in the paddock, and it shows in the presentation of the car. Guess that what vintage racing is all about.

I regret I didn’t get a picture, but I wonder are there any of these little gems, which never made the headlines, still out there? Maybe I need to start back to looking.


The Trans Am series ran at one of our favorite tracks yesterday, VIR near Danville, Virginia. Actually its outside Milton, North Carolina but nobodies heard of Milton. Run in conjunction with the SVRA the series put on a great event as usual. The field of cars appears to be getting better , at least at the more popular venues. The top four cars were only separated by .4 seconds or so in qualifying and that carried over to the race. So a few quick observations from the day, with apologies to anyone not included.

#86 Baucom Motorsport/Roadraceparts Mustang.

#86 Baucom Motorsport/Roadraceparts Mustang.

– Congratulations to Simon Gregg and everyone at Derhaag Motorsports. Simon was consistently smooth and the fastest all weekend. A well deserved win.

– Amy Ruman’s mechanical in the first couple of laps separated the field, and appeared to hand Simon the win. The late race caution changed that however.

–  Only two of the TA2 cars were ex-stock car Monte Carlo’s. Remember when everybody thought they were going to dominate that series.

– The TA2 field was exclusively GM, not a Ford in sight. Will be good to see some out there as we go forward.

– The TA3 field was also without any GM products. Would be equally nice to see some of them in the field here.

– the Corvettes seem to be slightly better down the long  straightsat VIR than the Fords. Just an observation, no radar data to back it up. Aero or HP?

– For those who don’t like to look at their gauges, it only took one of the cars that spun on Amy’s fluid two laps to peg both oil and water temp gauges.

– For those who have older cars, you may want to go over it and look for things to remove. One competitor told me they saved 55 pounds by going over their car with a fine tooth comb. All the fans, rear wheel tubs, cover over the rear frame, etc. that had been added over the years. Performance improved after that.

– The top cars don’t break. Take care of it at the shop not the track.

All in all a great weekend, good to see the series is growing at least in the car count. Come out and see some of the best road racing in North America.


One thing that we do a lot with race cars is pull the engine and transmission. And as everyone knows this can be a messy business. Particularly from the transmission. Everyone uses a hydraulic clutch. Therefore you have a fluid line between the clutch cylinder and the throw out bearing. This line has to be disconnected in order to remove the transmission. And what happens? You have brake fluid running everywhere and air getting into the system. In short a real pain.

But there is a way around this. Simply put a quick disconnect between two sections of braided line. Then when you break the connect, you dont have fluid running everywhere. Not only that but the amount of air invading the system in minimal at best.

Makes your life a lot easier.

Aeroquip aluminum quick disconnect  Available in -3 and -4

Aeroquip aluminum quick disconnect Available in -3 and -4


Generally speaking I stay away from the subject of Nascar. Obviously a blog named Roadracepartsman.wordpress.com isn’t primarily about stock car racing. However today I want to change that policy a little bit.

Today Ganassi Motorsports made the announcement that next year they would be leasing engines from Hendricks Motorsports. So what is interesting about that? After all its just an engine deal right?

No, its way bigger than a simple engine deal. It is a signal that GM has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of  Ford and Toyota with the engine programs. Both of those manufacturers have realized that in an age of “parity” there is nothing to be gained by having multiple programs. Its much more efficient, read less expensive, to pay one shop to build all your engines. GM as is their style has been slow to start down that road. But now started you can bet that its only a matter of time. And as for RCR claiming that they would have several new customers to take Ganassi’s place – its hard to see who they may be given the lack of teams coming in to Sprint Cup racing over the past several years. So it seems to me that it will only be a matter of time before they accept the inevitable and also begin to get their engines from Hendrick’s.

But lets not stop there, imagine this if you will. As we all know the auto companies operate large plants which produce millions of cars every year. They do that for reasons of ease of distribution as well as economies of scale.

So, with the engine operations consolidated, how long before one of the manufacturers has all of the chassis for its various teams built-in one location? You could say that Ford is very close to that now, Toyota slightly less so. Interesting thought isn’t it?

So for all of you that want “old school” racing, you may be on the verge of old school Nascar. A Nascar of Holman-Moody and Petty Enterprises.

The times are changing right in front of our eyes.

Of course this is only my opinion, I could be wrong. (apologies to Dennis Miller)


It’s probably not a good idea to start a post with an apology, or an excuse. But in this case it’s probably necessary. Seems like this entire summer has consisted of  a series of events that kept me from writing here. When you’re young you have a vision of a quiet old age with little to do.  Perhaps sitting in front of a cozy fire in the armchair with a good book, and an adult beverage, while the trusted hound lies at your feet.

While it’s a comforting picture I suppose that time hasn’t arrived for me yet. Too many interests and things to do yet still only 24 hours in a day. So for the first and last time I apologize.

But a quick review, partial I am sure of what has happened this year.

In Formula One it looked like Red Bull’s dominance of the last several years was ended. McLaren and Lotus (formerly Renault) had cars that were noticeably faster than the Bull. At the same time Fernando Alonso was doing miracles with a Ferrari that was at best the  fourth fastest car on the grid.

Now  however it looks like Red Bull has found its edge again, Ferrari may still only be third fastest, and McLaren has lost its way. The prediction here is Red Bull all the way.

Indycar which I had hoped would make use of the out of the box talents of Randy Bernard to reclaim its glory has reverted to form. A palace coup by the owners has forced Bernard out in the past few days. Does anyone believe that the owners, who created the split of open wheel racing in this country, with disastrous results, can pull this one out? If so I hope you are right but I doubt it.

Panoz after years of trying to sell ALMS finally was able to sell it to another competing series, Grand AM aka Nascar secret twin. Its been no secret that Grand AM has been struggling in recent years to attract cars, other than those owned by the Nascar teams or associated manufacturers. ALMS on the other hand had a more diverse group and was heavily supported by international manufacturers. So what does this portend, that Nascar will try to impose its brand of “entertainment” marketing on road racing? Or, is this an attempt to stop the bleeding in Daytona?

Trans Am continues to limp along and I think this is a subject for another time.

Nascar is an interesting study. One looks at TV ratings which week after week are stagnant at best, attendance that continues a gradual decline. Yet they continue to make amazing amounts of money, so what is the real story there? Is it just a victim of an economy that continues to limp along? Or, as some have said, is it a sport that has lost relevance with its audience.

Vintage racing seems to be struggling as well. This would be the one area that I thought would not be impacted as much as it has been. SO like Nascar the question is why.

Anyway, during the coming weeks we intend to address these plus a lot of other stories.


This is going to be a great weekend. The winter is finally over, F1 is back! And in between sessions there is NCAA basketball.

The season opening Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Australia is underway. The first two practices have been on a damp track, so its hard to tell who has what. However, the usual suspects are on top so far – McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari. Seems like McLaren is as usual pretty good, Mercedes has improved, and Ferrari may not be as bad as we were led to believe. The midfield looks close, and Williams looks better. The question is how good is Red Bull? They havent shown brilliance so far, but that was the pattern last year, nothing on Friday, but come qualifying look out.

More and more manufacturers are entering hybrids in international road racing. Audi and Toyota have entered prototypes in the 24 hours of LeMans. Honda and Toyota will go head to heat in the GT class. Makes sense as more and more hybrids appear on the street. I’m really interested to see the result of this one.

Nascar will be at Bristol, Tenn. this weekend. The first Nascar race I traveled to see was at Bristol back in 71. Used to look forward to it, but haven’t been in years. But I dont think that is why they haven’t had a sell out in 3 years.

Just a thought: What would you think about Nascar loosening up some of their rules, and do this. Allocate every team enough gasoline that the cars would have to get a certain mileage to finish the race. Say, 20 miles per gallon?  Anything you want to do, but this is the mileage you have to get. Put some real world engineering back into it again.  Dont do away with the templates, or safety stuff just mandate a mileage.

Crazy huh? It may take something like that to turn it around.

Lastly, name one major sport, other than Nascar or another form of  auto racing, that isn’t run by a commissioner appointed by the team owners.


First my apologies for not having the time to write something this past week. I wont bore you with the details, but over the years I have come to realize what it is about work that I hate so much. It just takes way too much time.

So with that out of the way, just a couple of things to quickly comment on.

The news that two drivers who arguably made their name driving for Roush Racings Trans-Am program are returning to the series. Interestingly enough it will supposedly be in the TA2 class. In addition I had a conversation with a friend who was building a TA1 chassis. I say one because he is going to instead build a TA2 Camaro. As I listened to his reasoning it was hard to find an argument against it. As much as I love the “big” cars, it makes more sense perhaps to go down the TA2 route.

Its good to see that Williams F1 was atop the time sheets yesterday at Barcelona. That team which is has fallen from the top of the sport to mid pack certainly needs to have a good year. A note of caution creeps in though when you remember all the years that they were really fast in winter testing. Unfortunately as soon as the season started reality reared its ugly head, and they went straight to the mid pack. Hopefully this year will be different.

Now that Nascar has returned to Daytona, how do you feel about it? Is it living up to the Barnum and Bailey style hype, or will it quickly return to the ho-hum of recent years?  If you take away the wrecks in the Bud shootout, it was hard to find excitement. I must admit seeing Kyle Busch save it a couple of times was pretty amazing. How much of that was the car high centering on the banking?

Lastly, as most of you know, a fair amount of competitors buy hand me down Nascar parts. With the introduction of EFI the supply of carbs will be finite now. So if you can find a good road racing carb for a reasonable price, you may want to snag it.

As I said a quick burst, but I warn you I should be able to find more to write about this weekend.


Just going to throw a few odds and ends together  about motorsport on this Sunday morning. Sure many of you have seen some if not all of them.

The V8 Stockcar series opened its season this weekend, at Sebring Florida. This marked the first time the Nordic Camaro challenge had raced over here. The first race was won by Jan Mangussen, who many remember from his exploits in international endurance racing. Mike Donahue has some good pictures of the cars on his Facebook page. I hope to have reports on the other races soon.

The first F1 test session of the year is over. Four days at Jerez Spain. And as is always the case its hard to tell who was fast, and who wasn’t. While we can speculate that everyone was on a different program, the stopwatch  does give us some hint.  The Lotus, both with Kimi and Grosjean driving was fast.  This of course is the former Renault team. Ferrari, after struggling with trying to figure out what they had set the second fastest time of the entire four days. The usual suspects, Red Bull and McLaren appear to be solid and just concentrating on development. Caterham, formerly Lotus, appears to have made big improvements. Williams remains a question mark. With the next test at Barcelona we should know a little more.

One of the more interesting things floating around is a photo of an alledged invoice from Williams to Pastor Maldonado for the ride in their car this year. The amount? 29,400,000 pounds! That is over 46million US Dollars! In candor there is some doubt as to the validity of this document. However it is in the realm of what Williams was believed to be asking for the ride. The people who would be paying this bill? The government of Venezuala.

So if you think that the pay drivers in Nascar are a little off color compare them to that.

Speaking of Nascar, they fine new EFI systems they will begin using this year – made by McLaren and one of its subsidiaries, Freescale.

Hope to have some more info from Sebring shortly. Now back to my nap.

 


Some of you may know that “the lump” is a term used to describe the engine in a car. Normally it refers to a race engine. That huge mass of iron, aluminum, titanium, unobtanium and who knows what else that resides under the hood of the car.

For most of us, I dare say we really have no idea what is inside of that big piece of metal. We rely on people who, because they are “engine builders” , tell us all kinds of stories about how complicated they are, how every piece is hand polished and machined to .00000000001 of an inch.  And of course since so much is involved it is a bargain indeed, regardless of the price. A price which no rational person would pay, and makes us live in mortal fear that the wife will discover. Having listened to many of those stories both as a former racer and a parts man for quite a few years, today I just smile.

So I thought I would share with you the tale of a couple of engines in my experience. Now what is special about these engines?  Not a thing. Two engines from different stages of my racing career, if you want to call it that. Just two collections of metal that started life at a couple of Ford plants somewhere in the world.

The first one was a V8, size and engine builder omitted to protect the innocent. Or maybe the guilty. But this was my first experience with a Gt1 car. And of course i had read all the stories and articles about the powerful Gt1 cars. So I had a local engine builder who specialized in short track cars build it. The only thing left from Ford was the block itself. One of the proudest days in my life was when I picked it up and paid the bill.

First let me say that we were/are amateur racers, and everything we knew could dance on the head of a pin. That thing was a pain from the day I got it. Constantly ran hot, not a lot of power,  despite the engine builders claims, or maybe I didn’t know what to expect, etc. On one occasion when we shut it off it was running fine.  When we next cranked it up it was missing, checked – bent pushrod.  Finally at its last scheduled race before it was to be replaced, the oil pressure began to drop,  and 10 laps later we drove it into the pits and retired. My brother looked under the hood and said “you might as well shut it off you have water coming out of the breathers”. When pulled out  and inspected, the webs in the block were busted in three places. needless to say was a great conversation piece and I still have some paperweights I think.

The other was a V6 Ford. We pulled this out of a juck car we bought for $200 to use the engine and transmission. Put it up on a stand, and scapped all the oil and dirt away so we could pull the pan off. Pulled all the rod and main bearings out. Didn’t measure anything, and replaced them with new std. bearings. Torqued everything back down, put the pan back on, and put the engine back in the car.

This engine ran  through the drivers school at Daytona and Charlotte. At Charlotte it got so hot, (idiot owner and friend had forgotten to tighten down the hold down clamp on the distributor so variable timing) that we finally had to put it in 4th gear, hold the brakes and choke it off. Did I mention that it had water running out of both exhaust pipes?

So we let it cool down, found every plastic pepsi bottle we could, filled them with water, put 2 cans of Bars Leak in the radiator and drove it the 200 miles home. After a couple of stops it sealed up and ran fine. Shaved both cylinder heads and it was as good as new.

Now this was no race engine of course, and didnt pretend to be one. But every time after that when the hand built race engine blew up or screwed up, we put that engine in and kept racing. You just couldn’t kill it. In fact a friend now has the car, and has had some more exotic, modern engines built for it.  But you know what he does when they go bad? Yep, back in goes that same old motor.

And the moral of this is that sometimes things exceed your expectations. Or, maybe you don’t know when you are well off.

Are you ever amazed how the old family cruiser keeps running after all this time? Remember the days when nobody had a car that made a 100,000 miles? Well I do.