OFF-SEASON RULE CHANGES MAKE HEADLINES AT LINCOLN ; Weight Rule for 410 Sprints, Hoosier Track Tire Rule for Both 410 & 358 Sprinters, and Several Others. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 1/31/03 - Off-season rule changes were the norm for many Central ...
OFF-SEASON RULE CHANGES MAKE HEADLINES AT LINCOLN ; Weight Rule for 410 Sprints, Hoosier Track Tire Rule for Both 410 & 358 Sprinters, and Several Others.
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 1/31/03 - Off-season rule changes were the norm for many Central Pennsylvania racing facilities over the Winter. With that said, Lincoln Speedway promoters Don & Bob Leiby, along with Alan Kreitzer, consulted with several of the surrounding speedways to put together a very aggressive set of rule and specification changes for the Pigeon Hills oval in 2003.
Many of the rule changes further defined existing rules to eliminate "gray" areas while others were added in an effort to try and curb the trend of rising team costs. And in some cases rules, rules were tweaked in an effort to make more teams competitive within a given division. Race format changes, purse increases, and pit rules for four-wheelers are just a sample of the many other changes in the 2003 rule book.
Some of the more "high profile" changes occurred in the 410 sprint ranks with several area speedways adopted a universal minimum weight rule of 1,375 pounds for the headline division.
In addition, after much consideration, a track tire rule will be employed for both the 410 and 358 sprinters. A Hoosier right-rear tire will be required for the 2003 season in both divisions. This tire rule is not to be confused with other new tire rules being used in 2003. There is no limit as to the number of tires used on a given night of racing. The only requirement is that the right-rear tire be a Hoosier brand tire. The other three tires on the car can be of any other make or type.
In conjunction with the new tire rule, there has been an increase in the regular weekly 410 & 350 sprint purse. In the 410's, the back half of the finishing field (positions 10 thru 24) will be seeing increases in there payout. The total increase amounts to $590 a race. Multiply that by the 29 races scheduled for the 410 sprinters and it amounts to an additional $17,110 over the course of the year.
As of this date, the 358 sprinter purse will be increased, with the winner to receive $1,000. Further changes back through the finishing 358 sprint field are still be discussed.
Also for the 358 sprints, a major change in race format will be made in 2003. There was much concern last season as it became very clear that qualifying for a normal 358 sprint show was becoming a very tough job for those handicapped to the rear of qualifying races. With 30+ cars in the pits each night, and up to 12 cars in each heat race, the handicapping of the top point teams to the rear of the eight (8) lap heat races was becoming more of a penalty than a simple handicapping procedure to give the lower point teams a chance to run up front. With that in mind it was decided to increase heat races for the 358 sprints from eight (8) laps to 10 laps. Heat races are the only change in format, as consolation and feature races will continue on with the same length as in the past.
Competition for the coveted Cindy Rowe Auto Glass 410 Sprint Championship begins with the first point race of the season - the Northeast Season Opener/Ice Breaker 30 - on February 22nd, and will end with the running of the 9th Annual Bobby Abel Memorial on August 30th. All races in between will be point races towards the Cindy Rowe title, with the exception of Saturday night August 16th - to allow those teams that wish to travel and compete in the Knoxville Nationals without the repercussions of missing a point race.
Another rule change that will definitely have an immediate impact is the customary flat-tire two-lap rule. Previously, only the 410 sprinters got two-laps to change a flat tire during a feature. Now this courtesy will be extended to the 358 sprinters during features as well. This rule only applies to flat tires during the course of a feature race, nothing else.
With technology trying to creep into racing at every avenue available, it has been a standing rule in the sprint car ranks for some time that no computer operated or controlled parts such as fuel injections, fuel systems, or chassis adjusting systems were allowed. Now with recent findings, this rule has been expanded to include data gathering systems and traction control devices for the 410 sprints in 2003.
One other significant rule change in the 410 sprints has to do with the top wings. There will be no turn up or wickerbill permitted at the rear of top wing in 2003. Additionally, the deepest point allowed on the top surface of the wing will be 2-1/2 inches measured from the top front of wing to rear edge. The dish may not be concentrated to the back one foot of wing. Beginning in 2004, the maximum dish will be reduced from 2-1/2 inches to 1 inch.
This seemingly minor wing change could be one of the most significant changes in regards to the handling characteristics of a sprinter. By eliminating the wickerbill and reducing the dish size, this will effectively "unhook" the cars, placing more emphasis on the driver than the motor.
The ever-so-competitive thundercars will also have some rule changes to deal with as well.
Thundercars run under a set of rules that require much of them to remain as close to stock from the factory as possible. The basic "stock" rule was revised to accommodate a wider range of options. The complete body of the car must remain stock appearing. No sectioning, channeling, chopping, lengthening or shortening. Must have full factory floor back to original firewall. In case of rust, floor can be patched, but it can not be removed. Full factory floors must remain intact on all uni-body cars from front to back firewall to prove originality of frame rail location. Trunk floor may be removed. Door panels must be steel and stock appearing. After market stock appearing nose pieces permitted with a minimum ground clearance of 10 inches. Length may not exceed 40 inches from center of wheel to end of nosepiece. GM to GM, Ford to Ford. Body parts may be homemade with 22 gauge steel only, providing you bend all pieces to look as close to manufactured specs. No shortening or lengthening of original size. No straight down looking sides.
In addition, no cockpit operated weight-jackers allowed, and brake master cylinders may now be aftermarket cast iron or aluminum. No more than three (3) inches set back from stock location.
And the transmission rule was tweaked to be more clear. Transmissions must be GM for GM cars, Ford to Ford cars, etc., and must have a working reverse gear. AND, most importantly, they MUST have factory OEM numbers on them.
This is just a small sampling of the many rule changes being employed in 2003. For further details, go to www.lincolnspeedway.com to view the entire rule book, or download the Adobe Acrobat version. Printed versions can be obtained through the speedway office as well.
So don’t forget to mark your calendar with Saturday afternoon’s February 22nd’s Northeast Season Opener featuring the 410 sprints and the thundercars. Gates open at noon, with hot laps getting underway at 1:30 PM, and the first heat taking the green at 2 PM.
To get all the latest news, results, schedule changes and rule changes, visit Lincoln Speedway’s website at http://www.lincolnspeedway.com to stay up-to-date on all the action or pending weather conditions at Central Pennsylvania’s premier Saturday night race track - Lincoln Speedway.