"From all the interest I get from promoters around the U.S., I would guess I get anywhere from two to three calls a month," says Curley. "The only problem is it's scary to take that first step, because you've got all your racers in place, they've got all their inventory, and they're sure as hell not anxious to go out and spend money on something they're not sure of. If you've got two $20,000 motors in your shop, the last thing you want to do is have somebody beat you with a $6,000 motor. So it's a very difficult play. What happens is once you convince them that it's the only way they're going to survive at the short track level, then I think they start to buy into it."
What's Next For Crate Engines
General Motors appears to have the market cornered on providing crate engines for oval track racing. At least one major touring series and a start-up series are each using GM crate engines.
The American Speed Association uses a modified version of GM's LS1, while the Team Racing Auto Circuit, scheduled to begin competition in April of 2003, will use a 7.0L bored-out version of the 5.7L LS1 in its Vipers, Corvettes and Mustangs.
Ford and Dodge offer crate engines but none are marketed specifically for oval track racing the way GM markets its 350 HO, 350 HP, or ZZ4 engines. "We probably have five (crate engines) that could be comparable to circle track applications," said Ford's Angelo Giampetroni, national sales manager. "We don't specifically have a circle track engine per se."
Dodge, meanwhile, is studying its options in the crate engine market, according to Ted Flack, manager of NASCAR engine programs for the company. "We're digging in and looking to see what to do next," says Flack. "There are so many things to do in motorsports that you just can't do them all. But we're looking and trying to figure out what to do (regarding crate engines)."