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Forum: HoseHeads Sprint Car General Forum (go)
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Topic: Top Shelf contributors/innovators in sprint car racing Email this topic to a friend | Subscribe to this TopicReport this Topic to Moderator
Page 1 of 2   of  38 replies
blazer00
October 20, 2017 at 03:29:26 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 1394
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I'm referring to the time period of the early '70's to today, when the sprint car became the norm at the local tracks, and flourished from there. Comprise your list of who you feel made the outstanding contributions to the sprint car that really influenced where we are today in the sport. My list in no particular order would include: Bob Trostle, Karl Kinser, Don Maxwell, Bobby Allen and Ralph Heintzelman as examples.  Aside from the engins department, it all pretty much reflects back to what those five individual did in their careers. I know there are many who have made major contributions, so let's hear about them.......




captrat
October 22, 2017 at 09:55:19 PM
Joined: 08/11/2008
Posts: 78
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Just as with the earlier thread it about top tier drivers this makes for interesting bench racing.  My only criticism is the apparent lack of understanding about the history of sprint cars.  It did not start in the '70s.  There was racing all over the country both sanctioned and not as far back as the 30s.  These discussions have far more relevance when one has a historical perspective.

 



blazer00
October 22, 2017 at 11:43:37 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 1394
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Reply to:
Posted By: captrat on October 22 2017 at 09:55:19 PM

Just as with the earlier thread it about top tier drivers this makes for interesting bench racing.  My only criticism is the apparent lack of understanding about the history of sprint cars.  It did not start in the '70s.  There was racing all over the country both sanctioned and not as far back as the 30s.  These discussions have far more relevance when one has a historical perspective.

 



The reason I chose this time period is because of the evolution to sprint cars at the local level. Sure there have been sprint cars for much longer, but they were devoted to the sanctioning bodies. The weekend racer all over the country started in the jalopies after WWII, not in sprint cars. The jalopies transformed into the modifieds, and the modified drivers transitioned into the sprint cars in the early '70's. The basic design of the early seventies replaced the old sprint car suspensions, and is still the chassis/suspension design used today....the four bar set up. 



linbob
October 23, 2017 at 04:18:38 PM
Joined: 03/12/2011
Posts: 1119
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Reply to:
Posted By: blazer00 on October 20 2017 at 03:29:26 PM

I'm referring to the time period of the early '70's to today, when the sprint car became the norm at the local tracks, and flourished from there. Comprise your list of who you feel made the outstanding contributions to the sprint car that really influenced where we are today in the sport. My list in no particular order would include: Bob Trostle, Karl Kinser, Don Maxwell, Bobby Allen and Ralph Heintzelman as examples.  Aside from the engins department, it all pretty much reflects back to what those five individual did in their careers. I know there are many who have made major contributions, so let's hear about them.......



You would also have to include Nance as a car builder.  Trostle ans Kinser  realized, maybe because they drag raced, how inportant a lite weight chassis would be and they reduced the weight of sprint cars alot.  Bob Trostle book should be read if you are interested in how modern day sprint car racing came about.  I hope Karl will do a book.  Must say something about engines.  The chevy V* made modern day racing affordable.  It was thought that 1 hp per cubic inch was your goal in say 1956.  A 265 cub chevy put out about same HP as an Offy.  Alot of racers could afford a chevy, but not an Offy.  You could build a 56 chevy  engine for one-fourth price of Offy.  I do not know if this is what your question wanted.



blazer00
October 23, 2017 at 04:50:35 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 1394
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Posted By: linbob on October 23 2017 at 04:18:38 PM

You would also have to include Nance as a car builder.  Trostle ans Kinser  realized, maybe because they drag raced, how inportant a lite weight chassis would be and they reduced the weight of sprint cars alot.  Bob Trostle book should be read if you are interested in how modern day sprint car racing came about.  I hope Karl will do a book.  Must say something about engines.  The chevy V* made modern day racing affordable.  It was thought that 1 hp per cubic inch was your goal in say 1956.  A 265 cub chevy put out about same HP as an Offy.  Alot of racers could afford a chevy, but not an Offy.  You could build a 56 chevy  engine for one-fourth price of Offy.  I do not know if this is what your question wanted.



Thanks! Not many know why the Offy fell by the wayside. I have the books, old magazines, current stuff, also. Was really looking for imput from Hoseheads readers like yourself to create conversation. Trostle and Wolfgang were amomng the earliest if not the earliest weight reducers of sprint cars. More out of necessity because Trostle at the time didn't have the resources to have an engine that could keep up with the Kinser car. After going up against Kinser and Gaines in 1976 at a race for the first time they realized they needed to find a way to keep up with them. That winter they shaved about 500 pounds of the car and in 1977 Trostle and Wolfgang kicked butt all over the country. It didn't take long before everybody in the pits could see what they had done. The Trostle car weighed in at about 1450 pounds.



madsen
October 24, 2017 at 12:14:36 AM
Joined: 10/09/2010
Posts: 353
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I'd put the late great crew chief/driver/car owner George Fisher on that innovator/contributions list (engine builder Charlie Fisher's brother).  A little known fact about George while in the hospital with cancer a few months before he died, this from Sprint Car and Midget magazine Racer on Racer, Janet Holbrook who he worked for on the Dale Blaney/Muddy.com car

He told Holbrook in the hospital that he felt like a brother to Dale, thought so much of him that he wanted her to help "take care of Dale" and this inspired her to continue as a sponsor, to this day, of Dale Blaney in a couple of the cars he's running as a tribute to George Fisher. 


Europe died during Hitler's deathcamps. If not 
for WWII, Jewish people in Europe would number 30 
million-all making important contributions. Instead 
Europe has 30 million people of another persuasion 
trying to destroy Europe. 

alum.427
October 24, 2017 at 07:08:30 AM
Joined: 03/16/2017
Posts: 387
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Gary Stanton,  Tommy Sanders  2 guys that could just make cars fast. Sammy, he was and is a engineer behind the wheel, shock development,  tires, brake systems. Blazer, I would say one of the earliest teams out there as far as weight reduction was Karl kinser and his #11.  He started out in Mitchell cars and built the bolt on parts out of magnesium.  Front axles, spindles, motor plates. Wolfgang as far as a chassis guy goes, remember when he and the 29 car won everything he designed that car on a garage floor.  It was said the bar heights and motor location he changed were within a 1/2 inch. Let's also not forget the stacked rack cars. Today's tracks being dry and slick I'm somewhat surprised those have not made a comeback. If anything it's shock technology that has kept minimal change in Torsion bar design. 



Murphy
October 24, 2017 at 07:39:56 AM
Joined: 05/26/2005
Posts: 676
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Reply to:
Posted By: alum.427 on October 24 2017 at 07:08:30 AM

Gary Stanton,  Tommy Sanders  2 guys that could just make cars fast. Sammy, he was and is a engineer behind the wheel, shock development,  tires, brake systems. Blazer, I would say one of the earliest teams out there as far as weight reduction was Karl kinser and his #11.  He started out in Mitchell cars and built the bolt on parts out of magnesium.  Front axles, spindles, motor plates. Wolfgang as far as a chassis guy goes, remember when he and the 29 car won everything he designed that car on a garage floor.  It was said the bar heights and motor location he changed were within a 1/2 inch. Let's also not forget the stacked rack cars. Today's tracks being dry and slick I'm somewhat surprised those have not made a comeback. If anything it's shock technology that has kept minimal change in Torsion bar design. 



What's a stacked rack car?



Oppermanfan
October 24, 2017 at 08:19:07 AM
Joined: 08/06/2008
Posts: 424
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Bob Trostle was instrumental in sprint car innovation. Karl Kinser and Nance were also right up there. Bobby Allen is one of the most brilliant minds to ever step into the pit area. Sammy is pretty smart also and was never afraid to try new things. Kenny Weld was also a very sharp mind back in the day. Wolfie as well. These guys never accepted things for the way they were, they always were looking for little ways to make things better. The chassis havent change that drastically in a long time but things like engines, shocks and tires have been the biggest changes. 

I would personally give the most credit in this category to Bob Trostle. He was a simple man but was absoluetly brillant. And the coolest part, when you talk to him even in his final days, he remembered every detail from those early years. We can never give that man enough credit for what he did for our sport. 



JCWRacing
MyWebsite
October 24, 2017 at 08:46:04 AM
Joined: 11/06/2013
Posts: 26
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You cannot have a discussion about innovation or contributors to the sport without talking about Floyd Trevis. He essentially created the currenty 4-bar car being used today back in the 60's.  He even has an award at the Museum Named after him which only a handful of mechanics have ever received.

 



DRIVESHAFT
October 24, 2017 at 01:26:20 PM
Joined: 01/21/2015
Posts: 86
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Sammy Swindell nance speed Equipment ans

TILTON engineering invented inboard brake

 



blazer00
October 24, 2017 at 02:01:22 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 1394
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A lot of good imput so far! Back in the early '70's some pretty unique friendships and working relationships developed that eccalerated the development of sprint cars. Bobby Allen and Kenny Weld were good friends. Bobby was running Weld's heads when he won the Knoxville Nationals. Jan Opperman and Don Maxwell were pretty tight and Wolfgang and Trostle had a friendship that lasted over forty years. Don Maxwell and Bobby Allen traded ideas and techniques. As competitive as it was, it seems most everybody was eager to share knowledge.

Another name that deserves huge recognition is Don Edmunds.



alum.427
October 24, 2017 at 02:17:45 PM
Joined: 03/16/2017
Posts: 387
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A stacked rack is the Torsion tubes sit on top of each other. They were really good as the track slicked off. Problem was hitting the set up just right. Instead of cranking full turns into a corner, you were turning 2 corners trying to keep balance in the car. A lot of guys really liked them, but because you had such a small window were the car was really good. I don't believe anyone is running them anymore. 



Murphy
October 24, 2017 at 02:23:22 PM
Joined: 05/26/2005
Posts: 676
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Reply to:
Posted By: alum.427 on October 24 2017 at 02:17:45 PM

A stacked rack is the Torsion tubes sit on top of each other. They were really good as the track slicked off. Problem was hitting the set up just right. Instead of cranking full turns into a corner, you were turning 2 corners trying to keep balance in the car. A lot of guys really liked them, but because you had such a small window were the car was really good. I don't believe anyone is running them anymore. 



Thanks for the explanation. I'm trying to visualize this. Aren't the tubes that the torsion bars are in a welded part of the frame? If so, is the decision to put one on top of the other made when the chassis is being originally welded together?



NWFAN
October 24, 2017 at 02:48:24 PM
Joined: 12/07/2006
Posts: 1890
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Reply to:
Posted By: blazer00 on October 24 2017 at 02:01:22 PM

A lot of good imput so far! Back in the early '70's some pretty unique friendships and working relationships developed that eccalerated the development of sprint cars. Bobby Allen and Kenny Weld were good friends. Bobby was running Weld's heads when he won the Knoxville Nationals. Jan Opperman and Don Maxwell were pretty tight and Wolfgang and Trostle had a friendship that lasted over forty years. Don Maxwell and Bobby Allen traded ideas and techniques. As competitive as it was, it seems most everybody was eager to share knowledge.

Another name that deserves huge recognition is Don Edmunds.



been decades since i have heard the name Don Edmunds.  racing in the late fifties in san diego, the home of Balboa Stadium, does hank henry ring a bell for ya?


Ascot was the greatest of all time..

West Capital wasn't half bad either..

Life is good...

Murphy
October 24, 2017 at 03:18:19 PM
Joined: 05/26/2005
Posts: 676
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Reply to:
Posted By: blazer00 on October 22 2017 at 11:43:37 PM

The reason I chose this time period is because of the evolution to sprint cars at the local level. Sure there have been sprint cars for much longer, but they were devoted to the sanctioning bodies. The weekend racer all over the country started in the jalopies after WWII, not in sprint cars. The jalopies transformed into the modifieds, and the modified drivers transitioned into the sprint cars in the early '70's. The basic design of the early seventies replaced the old sprint car suspensions, and is still the chassis/suspension design used today....the four bar set up. 



     I started going to the races as a kid in 1973. The cars were called modifieds. They were mostly homebuilt with junkyard engines. My brother in law pitted for a guy who blew a motor. They were looking for a "350 chevy with a 4-bolt main". We didn't know exactly what that meant, but my friends and I rode our bikes to a junkyard and helped find one. By then, their team had found a new block, so they passed the info onto another team who ended up buying the junkyard motor out of an old pickup.

     The first time I saw a Beck sprint car chassis in the mid-seventies, I didn't believe it was really made by someone who would build them and sell them to racers. That was unheard of. When a local (western SD) hot shot named Sam Liebig started producing his own brand of chassis, he marketed them as "Bobby Allen syle chassis".



blazer00
October 24, 2017 at 03:46:39 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 1394
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Reply to:
Posted By: NWFAN on October 24 2017 at 02:48:24 PM

been decades since i have heard the name Don Edmunds.  racing in the late fifties in san diego, the home of Balboa Stadium, does hank henry ring a bell for ya?



Inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999. Fabulous builder and fabricator and also drove. Was killed at Ascot in 1968. There are several articles and pictures online that are very interesting. Readers/fans should check it out!



revjimk
October 24, 2017 at 04:05:47 PM
Joined: 09/14/2010
Posts: 3333
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How about Chet Wilson, "The Offy Killer"? OK, it was the 1950s, but he led the change from Offies to SBCs, much more affordable

http://kansashistory.us/racing/offykiller.html



revjimk
October 24, 2017 at 04:10:18 PM
Joined: 09/14/2010
Posts: 3333
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I finally remembered how to create live links... thanks to whoever explained it a while back!

There's a good book on the topic, looks like its out of print tho: https://www.amazon.com/OFFY-KILLER-Chet-Wilson-Behind/dp/0615553990



Murphy
October 24, 2017 at 04:15:32 PM
Joined: 05/26/2005
Posts: 676
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Reply to:
Posted By: blazer00 on October 24 2017 at 03:46:39 PM

Inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999. Fabulous builder and fabricator and also drove. Was killed at Ascot in 1968. There are several articles and pictures online that are very interesting. Readers/fans should check it out!



Are you sure he died in 1968?  Wikipedia thinks he lived to a ripe, old age.





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