Dave Stacy and Greg Stapleton...
Dave Stacy and Greg Stapleton (21) race for position in an AMS event at Columbus Motor Speedway.
The HardwareIn past seasons, both the AMS and the USA group had their own rule book. Though basically the same, there were a couple of rules that separated the two. Working together for 2008, the pair organized what is known as the United Asphalt Modified Rules. Utilizing a 2,400 pound weight rule with 58 percent left-side weight as well as a 108-inch minimum wheelbase and a maximum 112 inches, the new rule book produces common guidelines. Even the engine rules are simple in that any American brand engine may be used so long as the rear of the engine is mounted at least 72 inches forward from the centerline of the rear axle.
From ground to center of the crankshaft is a minimum height of 11 inches, along with a 2-inch offset of centerline of the front cross member. A two- or four- barrel carburetor is also allowed, and no fuel injections, electric fuel pumps, or magnetos are allowed.
Most pavement Modified engines these days are around 355 cubic inches to 420 cubic inches, producing 550 to 700hp. As the popularity grew, some rule alterations became unavoidable. For years, nine-inch rearends were the choice and the law. As the cars became more popular, and with the addition of traveling series going to various tracks, quick change rearends were allowed. The quick change makes it much easier on the traveling racer to change gears and adapt to the track he is racing any particular day. Weight used to be as low as 2,300 pounds versus the now mandatory 2,400-pound rule.
The $550 engine claim rule from the start-up days has long since been abandoned as well, and at one time a shock claim rule was in place. The bodies of the E Mod are basically from the firewall back, with some type of nose piece and a short hood. This body style and dimensions allow for some very unique looking cars and will definitely catch the eye of race fans. This also allows for the racers and crew to put a little of their own personality in the car with some sort of unique body hanging methods and styling.
One question that still needs to be addressed is the tube front clips for Modified racers. In the past, the AMS Series allowed them with a 100-pound weight penalty. The new rule book states that no strut front suspensions of any kind or tube front clips are allowed in USA events. However, under the new AMS rules, tube clip frames will be allowed for events in 2008 and 2009 only, along with the 100-pound weight penalty. Does that mean at the end of 2009 season this rule will be re-evaluated?
The factory front clips are getting harder to come by. Both Impala and Chevelle front clips are by far the most popular, and most chassis builders stock either clip as well as the bolt-on parts for each. Many racers keep tabs on their local salvage yards and stock up on parts as they become available. Cost seems to be a factor with the factory clips as well. By the time a factory clip is found, sand blasted and cleaned up for preparation and installation, there is just as much money spent on a new tube front clip. This is the biggest contributing factor to the coming popularity of the newer tube clipped cars. Racers seem to be okay with it, and that is just one of the Mod factors that different tracks and promoters will have to deal with in the future. The issue right now is that promoters don't want a few tube cars coming in and running off with the show.
Keeping the competitive nature is the basis of the division as a whole. With the factory clips, a racer and car builder only have so much they can do as they are forced to work with what is available. With a tube clip it can be produced to suit racer needs, such as A frames and steering gear box placement. Even with the weight penalty, most racers will tell you that the tube clip does have a distinct advantage. Without a doubt, this will be the biggest situation the division will have to deal with in the future.