- Sprint car racing
Sprint cars are high-powered race cars designed primarily for the purpose of running on short oval or circular dirt or paved tracks. Sprint car racing is popular in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
Sprint cars have a high
power-to-weight ratio, making speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour(230 km/h) possible on some tracks. This speed often also makes racing sprint cars very dangerous. 850 horsepower is commonplace for these machines. The safety record of sprint car racing in recent years has been greatly improved by the use of roll cages to protect the drivers. Wings provide down force, increasing traction. Wings also provide an amount of protection in case of an accident. Wings are sometimes referred to as "aluminum courage".
IndyCarand NASCARdrivers used sprint car racing as an intermediate stepping stone on their way to more high profile divisions, including Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, J. J. Yeley, P. J. Chesson, Sarah Fisher, and Ed Carpenter.
For a complete history of sprint car racing, the
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museumlocated in Knoxville, Iowa, USA features exhibits to highlight the history of both winged and non-wing sprint cars.
Non-winged Sprint Cars
There are a few sanctioning bodies for non-winged sprint cars. The
United States Automobile Club(USAC) has become the premier series for non-winged sprint car racing throughout the United States, especially after taking over the Sprint Car Racing Association(SCRA) and turning it into the USAC/California Racing Association (USAC/CRA). This series has become the premier non-winged sprint car series on the west coast of the United States. USAC also has hosted the Silver Crown series based in the Midwestern United States state of Indiana for decades. The Silver Crown series was started in 1971 as an offshoot of the series that competed for the National Championship Trail including the Indianapolis 500, known as "big cars". [ [http://www.chicagolandspeedway.com/cgi-bin/r.cgi/cls_usac_basics.html?SESSION=we5LejjtI&N= USAC Silver Crown specs and history] ]
Winged Sprint Cars
The world's first winged car, known today as a winged sprint car, was created and driven by Jim Cushman at the Columbus Motor Speedway (Ohio) in 1958.Fact|date=March 2008 In the early 1970s, many sprint car drivers began to put wings with sideboards on both the front and top of their cars. The added wings increased the downforce generated on the car, with the opposite direction of the sideboards helping to turn the car in the corners. This makes the car easier to control. The added downforce also lessens the likelihood of going airborne. When cars do go airborne, the wings frequently break off or absorb some of the impact of the flip, lessening the impact on the driver. In some cases, teams are able to replace the wing during the ensuing stoppage and are able to race once the race resumed.
With the addition of wings, a new sanctioning body and touring series to promote the sport was founded. In 1978, Ted Johnson formed the leading promotional body for winged sprints car called the
World of Outlaws. Racing throughout the United States from March to November, the World of Outlaws is the premier dirt sprint car racing series. Famous tracks featured in the series included the Eldora Speedwayin Rossburg, Ohio, the Knoxville Racewayin Knoxville, Iowa and Williams Grove Speedwayin Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Each August, the Knoxville Racewayholds the paramount sprint car event, the Knoxville Nationals.
The World of Outlaws (WoO) is a division of winged sprint cars that run all over the United States and have a few events in Canada. The cars have 15 inch wide right rear tire and a 410 cubic inch engine with mechanical fuel injection. These sprint cars have no battery or a starter in them which means they have to get push by a quad or a truck to get them started. They do this for weight reasons, and tradition. Another tradition the WOO has for their A-main (the last race of the event) they line up four wide just before starting the race.
United States Automobile Club(USAC) is a division of sprint cars that run throughout the United States. They race non-winged 410 cubic inch sprint cars on asphalt and dirt tracks.
The United Racing Company (URC) is a division for winged sprint cars that run mainly in the northeastern part of the United States in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. URC started in 1948 with 11 races in its season. It slowly progressed to 28 races. URC uses a 360 cubic inch engine which generates approximately 550 horsepower. They race with alcohol fuel and use mechanical fuel injection (MFI) to deliver it to into the combustion chamber.
Television coverage in the United States
Non-winged cars were televised first when USAC had an
ESPNtelevision contract. The first national live television deal with winged sprint cars came on The Nashville Network (TNN) in 1992-93 and again in 1993-94 with a winter-based series in Arizona, which featured Mike Joycalling the action. Live coverage of the Knoxville Nationalson The Nashville Network began in 1995. A year later, a next-day tape deal with CBSfor one race at Eldora Speedwayaired while TNN coverage expanded. By 2000, CBS (which owned TNN at the time) announced TNN would air 15 live events, including the King's Royalat Eldora Speedwayand the Knoxville Nationals. By the 2001 season, plans were to cover 18 live races, but midway through the season MTV Networks closed the CBS motorsports operations. This move relegated the remainder of the World of Outlaws season to tape delay races. A tape delayed deal with the SPEED Channelfollowed for the next season. Television coverage began on the The Outdoor Channelin 2003. Events are usually tape delayed for two weeks or more. The Knoxville Nationals were on Speed Channel. The 2005 Knoxville Nationals did not air as bad weather postponed the event, and there was not enough space for Speed to air the event, won by Kraig Kinser. In 2003, Johnson sold his organization to DIRT Motorsports. Because of complaints about DIRT Motorsports and the lack of television coverage, Northwest Sprint Tour owner Fred Brownfield formed the National Sprint Touras a rival to the World of Outlaws Sprint for the 2006 season. Notable teams in the NST included Steve KinserRacing (#11), Roth Motorsports (sometimes known as the "Beef Packers" team) (#83), Tony StewartRacing (#20). After Brownfield Promotions' owner Fred Brownfield was killed in a crash, Kinser and principals of two other teams purchased the entire Brownfield promotion. That series folded after the 2006 season, while the Northwest tour, a regional tour, was sold. The SuperClean Summer of Money aired on ESPN2starting in mid June 2088 with the World of Outlaws at Knoxville Raceway and for 8 weeks straight leading up to the Knoxville Nationals which were live on SPEED.
List of National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductees
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum
World of Outlaws
National Sprint Tour
* [http://www.usacracing.com/ Official USAC website]
* [http://www.sprintcarhof.com/ National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum]
* [http://www.knoxvilleraceway.com/ Knoxville Raceway]
* [http://www.scra.com/ Sprint Car Racing Association]
* [http://www.woosprint.com/ World of Outlaws]
* [http://www.sprintcarworld.com.au/ SprintcarWorld - Racing in Australia]
* [http://www.australianquarterscale.com/ Australian Quarter Scale Speedway Association]
* [http://www.hammerdownusa.com/ News and history @ HammerDownUSA.com]
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