410 Sprint Car Build: Introduction
We're here to announce a new project that we're really excited about! We're going to build a 410 sprint car, in-house, using our own parts and our own racers. Here at the Museum of American Speed, we're going to chat with a couple of our experts about how this project came to be and why it makes sense for Speedway Motors.
Charles is here with Greg Nicol, our race product manager. Greg responds to the question, “How did you first hear about this project?”
“Well, Bob Baker from the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame called wondering if Eagle Motorsports would be willing to do a chassis for the 13th giveaway. Bob and I talked a little bit and I talked to the Smiths. After these discussions, we decided that it would be a good project. We also decided we would build an engine because we have our engine shop now. So, basically everything for this car you'll be able to get from the Speedway Motors catalog. We've got parts starting to show up from all of our great vendors.”
“Why did they choose Speedway Motors?”
“Speedway has been around since ‘52. Bill Smith, the founder of Speedway, was on the original board of directors to launch the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.”
Greg is excited to see how this project turns out!
Joe chats with Bob Mays, a resident researcher here at the museum. Bob spends all day researching old race car stuff and he can give us some information about why are we building a sprint car.
“In the 40’s, when he was in college, Bill Smith was a racer. He raced motorcycles, and then he went on to race roadsters and stock cars. He had this ability to find speed equipment for himself, as well as his fellow racers. If somebody needed a high-performance intake, carburetor, or a special wheel, he was able to get it. A lot of guys came through Lincoln that you wouldn't have expected, including Indy 500 racers. For this reason, Speedway Motors was very highly regarded within the racing industry. In the 70’s and 80’s, Speedway Motors was the leader in sprint car manufacturing with both Maxwell and Winters building cars. That continues today with Speedway Motors’ partner, Eagle Motorsports, who is now the leader in sprint car manufacturing.”
Because of all that history, Speedway Motors has become a magnet for open-wheel racers that want to continue to be a part of the racing tradition. Sprint cars are everywhere at Speedway Motors. You can't walk down the hall without stopping to talk to someone about how last weekend's race went or what they have planned for the season. Those are the guys that are going to build this car. Let's meet the team!
“The appeal of a sprint car is that they're the rawest race cars on the planet. The horsepower to weight ratio is 900 horsepower to 1,400 pounds. The only thing that beats it is a Formula One car.”
“I love the competitiveness, the adrenaline rush, and the fact that it’s just me in the car.”
“I like the challenge, but it's really tough. There's a lot of good competition out there, no matter where you go. You always try to get your car set up the best you can. It's a guessing game and whoever has the best setup wins.”
"I've always known that I'm good with my hands. Whenever I can take a race car that's not working and make it go fast or take a piece of straight tubing and turn it into a race car, I’ve accomplished something. "
“This has been my life. I watched from the time I could walk until now. It’s important to really know what these cars can do. Little changes can put you at the front stretch at the end of the night.”
“Each car is a little different so you have to use your head a lot more when building them. Putting stuff together is always fun and so is tearing stuff apart.”
"I started building cars in '93 back in Wisconsin and Illinois. Going out in a car that you designed and built yourself and beating factory built cars feels pretty good."
“Continuing the passion I do on the weekends at work by building a car is something I’m on board with!”
That’s our team that will be building the sprint car! We're going to do this a little bit at a time and in a few different phases. The first phase is already complete. Eagle Motorsports put together a brand new chassis and body for us and they'll be bringing it back across town. Once it's here in our shop, we're going to assemble it into a roller. The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame is going to tour around selling raffle tickets for it. Once that tour is over they'll bring it back to us. We'll put a fresh 410 engine in it, built by Speedway Motors Racing Engines, and it'll be ready to hit the track. We’re really excited about this project and we hope you'll stick around and watch this car come together!