Tag Archive: racecar preperation

In car video of the 2012 Road Atlanta Trans Am race. View is from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang.



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.


Some of us can remember when 300 Horsepower was a lot for the street, even some pretty exotic cars were fairly hard pressed to meet that number. But in case you haven’t heard time isn’t the only thing that has moved on.

My first GT1 car.

My first GT1 car.

The car in the picture was my first GT1 car. It had about 550 HP, on its best day, back in the late 80’s. Not bad for a club racer but its 351 engine was almost certainly the best thing about it. The professionals however wouldn’t have considered it.

By the time the second coming of the TransAm series ended they were running 310 cid engines with rev limiters. These engines were, at least for those at the front end of the pack, in excess of 700 horsepower.

But now things have really changed. The 310 has gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced by the 358 cubic inch V8’s. Initially a lot of these were refugees from Nascar. Bought for less than one could build a 310 and producing big horsepower numbers. Initially some people just changed the cam, and maybe something with carburetion and exhaust and went racing. Worked pretty well and now the horsepower numbers were over 800.

But today the bar has been raised again. Some people have realized that an engine built purposely for road racing will out perform a converted stock car engine. This despite the fact that the horsepower numbers are the same.

And what are those numbers today? One racer who reportedly has about 830 HP told me recently ” I can’t pass them (the top cars) on the straight, but they can pass me.” His opinion is that he is 30 horsepower shy of the top cars.

So times have changed my friend, times have changed.


2014 is off to a rousing start both on the racetrack and in the shop.


At the track John Baucom and the Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts Mustang has gotten off to a good clean start. At the opener at Sebring he enjoyed a solid run all day. The result was a well earned a much deserved fourth place. While his best ever finish was a second at Cleveland a few years ago  this tied his best recent effort.

At Homestead again the car qualified in the top five in one of the toughest fields in recent years. Morning warmup was extremely promising and hopes were high going into the race. However it became apparent fairly quickly that the setup had been missed. The car was too stiff resulting in poor low speed grip, and running the rear tires off. Still a ninth place finish while disappointing gave hope.

All in all things are positive. The reliability issues from last year haven’t resurfaced, and the Hoosier tires haven’t been a problem. The break before the next race gives time for an engine rebuild and other things.

On a separate racing note we are involved in sourcing and supplying parts for a customers restoration project. He is doing a ground up restoration of a mid 90’s IMSA car. While finding some of the pieces is challenging we are delighted to  be involved in such a rewarding project.

Parts Business

Are you having trouble finding replacement parts for your Stasis brake kit which uses Alcon calipers? We can help. We can supply parts as well as rebuild assistance. Just give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or email us at info@roadraceparts.com

Have you checked your spare parts lately.  Not only do we carry all the seals and knock-back springs for Alcon, but Brembo, Performance Friction and Wilwood as well.

In addition we can provide custom brake hoses to your specification. Just tell us what sizes and dimensions and lest us give you a quote. Look For The Quotation Form on the Store soon. In the meantime just give us a call.

As always we have a great supply of Aurora rod ends, something that every racer is familiar with.

In addition we have recently started to get involved in some light manufacturing projects. The first of these will be up on the store this weekend.

 Social Media

Look for a expanded presence on social media going forward. We look forward to being able to interact on our Roadraceparts Facebook Page as well as on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @roadraceparts come join us and exchange ideas.


We hope to soon be able to announce that we are moving. Its been a long time coming but its now on the horizon.

So I want to thank everyone for their support and look forward to a great year.

(And yes I am trying to talk Mark into some caps and shirts)



We also



Roadraceparts logo

Roadraceparts logo


Probably all of us, or maybe just some of us can look back on some awkward moments.  For me at least they generally are of the beautiful plan gone horribly wrong category. as a case in point I offer the following example.

My first experience with a GT1 car was a sobering one. Having raced a ITA Mercury Capri for several years with indifferent results I had to take the plunge.  One of those times when you know you shouldn’t do it but everything works out so you can. An acquaintance had a Thunderbird bodied stock car chassis that he was about to give up on trying to make work. At the same time a guy walked up to me at Summit Point and offered to buy my car. So he became the proud owner of an ITA Capri, and I became the owner of a GT1 car. Well almost. To get it to where I could afford it, a lot of parts were not included. But with the help of my best friend, and a patient wife it once again became a car.

The first time it was out on the track was a drivers school, held in a monsoon, at Summit Point. The second was my second drivers school.  These revealed a couple of things in graphic detail. One we had a really good engine. Two the brakes, from a late-model stock car, were marginal. Marginal with a capital M. Lastly it was a pig. The handled was so bad I didn’t have a clue on how to make it better.

So, rather than address the handling I bought myself some brakes. Straight from the bigger is better school of thought (low buck edition) I bought the entire front brake setup from the #31 Mike Skinner Sprint Cup car.  They had run it at Sears Point that same year. A great deal, 2 giant Wilwood calipers, about 10 rotors, several sets of hats, and bunches of sets of brake pads. All for a reasonable, it seemed, price.

So we redid the caliper brackets, bolted everything in place, bleed the brakes and awaited our next race at Summit Point.

When the time came we loaded the car, drove the 126 miles to Summit Point, unloaded the car and awaited our turn to get out on track. When that time came we went out on the course feeling that this time it was all going to be good and we would be a contender.

That good feeling lasted for maybe two laps of practice. It became apparent to me that some thing wasn’t right. The car wouldn’t accelerate like it should, and the brakes were weird. So I pulled into the pit lane, my friends came out to see what was wrong, and after a short conversation we agreed I would go out and try it again.  It immediately became apparent that we had a major problem. The engine for all its power would barely move the car along pit road.

Finally after some head scratching and oohing and wtf’s? Somebody put their hand on the center of the front wheel. Wow! It sure wasn’t supposed to be that hot. So even to the rookies that we were it was obvious that we had a brake problem. After taking the front wheels off we were able to push/pull the car back to the pits. Obviously too hot to work on we went to find help. Fortunately a fellow competitor was not only able to diagnose the problem as a stuck front caliper but point us toward someone who had spares. (Of course we didn’t, after all we’d just gotten the brakes).

So now came the process of fixing the problem. Once they had cooled sufficiently the calipers were removed from the car. Before the pads were removed, a block of wood was inserted between the pads. Then an airline was put onto the fitting where the brake line attached. A slight puff of air and the pistons pressed the pads against the wooded block. Than the wood and pads were removed so that the pistons could be removed from the bores.

So now we had to correct the problem. The old seals were removed, and the pistons lightly sanded, LIGHTLY sanded, with a fine emery paper. New seals were placed on the pistons, which were then reseated in their bores. Calipers were bolted onto the front uprights and brake pads installed.

No more problems, and a very valuable lesson learned. Always check, no matter what the pedigree, new or used. And spares are necessary whether you need them or not.

So if you want to avoid a similar situation give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or visit our store at http://www.roadraceparts.com

I know its been a while since I posted anything, and there’s a reason for that. But fear not a new article is on the way. But knowing you’re going to be busy, read really busy, until Xmas is over I think I’ll hold off a little bit. Maybe after Christmas you will actually have time to read it.

As you know I’ve been saying that you need to take a look at the brakes on the old race car over the winter, and doing a little maintenance on the calipers is a pretty smart thing. So I’m going to tell a story from my experience, with the new, at least to me, brake calipers I put on the car. I don’t want to spoil the story but a hint is that 500 horsepower sometimes can’t move your car down pit road.

So be prepared, it will be up for a New Years present.





Do you have a maintenance plan for your car? While many of us, if not all of us have a checklist that we go thru between races that may be it.

Do you know when various items on the car were replaced? You probably change the oil and filters on some schedule, it only makes sense. But how long have the rod ends on the control arms been on there? Or the spindles (that probably came with the car when you bought it)?

Part of getting organized is having a plan that includes every critical item on the car, when it was installed, when it was inspected, and when you intend to replace it. Yes, it can be a pain, but think what happens when a rod end or a spindle breaks. We all either have had it happen to a friend or ourselves, some little part breaks that should have been replaced a long time ago.

It will save you money in the long run.


Ever had the mishap of a “stuck” caliper? If you have it’s probably something you haven’t forgotten. What happens is that when you apply the brakes the pistons in the caliper press the pad against the rotor and the car slows. All good, right?

But when you release the pedal the piston does not return to its seated position, allowing the pads to release the rotor. How much of a problem is that? When it happened to me a 550 hp engine could barely move the car down pit road. Not good.

Several things can cause this, just disuse, like in a car that has sat for a period of time. Or, more commonly the heat cycles that the brakes go thru eventually deteriorate the seals.

The answer, is of course to add caliper maintenance to your check sheet. Every 2 or 3 races, pull the pistons, check them over and replace the seals. Seals are cheap insurance and it could save a lot of heartache.

Brembo pressure seals available from 28-44 mm.

Brembo pressure seals available from 28-44 mm.


For those of you using Brembo calipers, they have a new design of anti-knockback seal. A direct replacement for their regular pressure seal it reduces the issue of pad knock back.

We carry AP, Alcon, and Brembo caliper seals in stock ready for immediate delivery.

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.



Under construction. The lower portion of the chassis taking shape.

Under construction. The lower portion of the chassis taking shape.

Can you guess what type chassis this is under construction? Brand? Well the type is pretty obvious. Its a GT1/Trans-Am/IMSA style road racing chassis.

Brand may be a little more difficult, because it is only the second one built.

Everyone that is involved in racing does so because they have a passion for it.  And part of that passion is a dream. A dream to succeed at the highest level. And of course  we all love to tackle those projects that are a challenge.

Thats how it is for Mark K. one of the principals in Roadraceparts.com. A veteran vintage racer he had dreamed of driving a Trans-Am car. Not just drive it but own it as well. So when the opportunity came about to purchase the engineering drawing for a professionally designed chassis and spares he jumped at it. Of course, knowing that one car had been built and successfully raced made it a little easier.

a start

A start. one of the sections that will become part of the lower chassis.

So in this brief article you can see several photos of the chassis on the surface plate. Work continues and all indications are that the results will be well worth the effort.

A professional at work.

A professional at work.

Bottom section of frame completed.

Bottom section of frame completed.

So that’s our little sneak preview. Hope you enjoyed it.

Chicago Rawhide spindle seals.

Chicago Rawhide spindle seals.
CR26144 – their price $22.49 – ours $17.99
CR27271 our price $14.49

So give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or email at sales@roadraceparts.com