The Boy's 2009 Race Season - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

View Poll Results: What Should G Race This Year?
Mini-Cup (NASCAR Style, Oval racing) 0 0%
Quarter Midget (USAC Style, Oval & dirt) 2 25.00%
Thunderbolt (IndyCar Style open wheel, Oval racing) 2 25.00%
Karting (Traditional road racing) 5 62.50%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR View Post
For those with an interest or passion for motorsports, please help me decide what course we should pursue with my son's nascent racing career. Here are the options:


These are small scale full bodied NASCAR Nationwide Series replica cars. They have a full suspension, centrifugal clutch/single gear transmission to a solid rear axle with fully independent coil-over suspension. They run approx. 13hp 4 cycle sealed engines, have fully adjustable camber/toe/ride height/weight capabilities, rules for car weight with driver that specify ride height, cross weight, etc. They are very safe cars, and look very realistic with full fiberglass bodies. A set of tires should last a full season. Car cost would be around $5,000 and includes a few spares plus a great data acquisition system. I'd need to get a trailer, some additional tools, and do much of the work myself. Track is 1/4 mile paved oval. Races would be twice a month, on Saturdays, but at NOON. In the summer. There has been a falling out over this, and the field may be very small or non-existent.

Quarter Midget

These "point two five" cars are literally 1/4 the size of a USAC sprint / midget car the likes of which compete at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, etc. Lots of fast open wheel and NASCAR guys came up from midgets, including Jeff Gordon. Full coil-over suspension, direct drive 160cc two stroke motor. Track is primarily a 1/20 mile paved flat oval. A set of right side tires will last 3-4 races, and the season includes nearly 20 including some travel. Chassis can run on dirt with the right tires. Car cost would be around $4,000 - would need trailer, tools, lots of tires, additional travel costs, would have some help figuring out the car (might be able to lease it from the builders). Uncertain as to actual schedule as far as time of day is concerned. Field size is probably 6 or more cars regularly.


These are roughly 1/2 scale open wheel cars, but with rigid chassis, using roughly 350cc snowmobile engines and centrifugal clutches. Only tuning available is tire pressure, and handling is much more kart-like. Speeds are faster here than any other option, but cars are custom built by the promoter (a respected instructor and former IMSA racer) and safety might not be what we'd want. Car would be acquired on a lease program, so no tools or trailer would be involved - expecting around $2,500 a year to race. Field size is probably 4-5 cars tops. Track is same 1/4 mile paved banked oval, race time is still NOON on Saturdays.


These are the traditional racing go karts by Birel, etc., probably not shifters yet, with 2 stroke motors and centrifugal clutches. Very lightweight and fast. Uncertain as to size of the field & classes or car costs, but there is an active club in town that does road racing on a challenging paved track at least twice monthly. Travel may be involved. This is of interest because it's a more traditional route to open wheel driving - the fast pace and short laps better prepare one for pro racing / endurance / GT. Cars drive in the wet unlike the other classes, which presents unique learning opportunities. No new investment in driver gear is required, unlike other classes that need specific SA / SFI certified uniforms & helmets.

We do have some sponsorship money to apply to any of these options, but most of the funding comes from the Bank of Hip Pocket. Costs that are common to all options are not reflected.

Thanks in advance for your considered input.
Option A sounds like the promoters are unaware of how a solid axle cannot have truly independent suspension. Also, does not sound like the "next" step in a program moving in a particular direction.

Option B sounds about as exciting as a video game, with one side of the car working and the other side, well, going along for the ride. One direction, one radius, over and over. Another step to local redneck entertainment but not likely a challenge for your son.

Option C sounds like a more dangerous version of Option B, and I would be less inclined to entertain the rednecks at the expense of safety.

So, that leaves option D. Which sounds like the most value for your son's efforts. He will learn something about vehicle control in more realistic conditions, including rain. Safety is a concern, but I presume you have satisfied yourself the Karts are designed to protect the kids, as well as the track.

So, I vote for Option D. Karting. Many a F1 driver has come from the ranks of Karting.....

Good luck,

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 10:37 PM
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Karting. It has a very good ladder up.


Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 10:41 PM
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The Pinewood Derby is relatively safe, and can be dominated quite handily if you liquidate your competition
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