After we finally got our Project Mini Stock stripped to the core and ready for its rollcage, we had to make another one of those decisions about tempering our enthusiasm with our better sense. We (collectively) were smart enough to realize building a rollcage that we’re willing to stake our lives on wasn’t within our combined mechanical and technical capability, so we loaded up what was left of the car and hauled it off to an expert for this part of our Mini Stock’s construction.

This won’t be the last time we’ll face paying experts to build a portion of this car. But in matters of race car safety, like constructing an effective and safe rollcage, I highly recommend you talk to other racers and find a trusted race car constructor to do these sorts of tasks. Don’t scrimp on racing safety; put ample money in your budget for it. We want readers to be around to follow along on future projects, even as we want to be around to build them.

For expert help on the rollcage, we turned to Wes Filyaw and NASFAB in Concord, North Carolina. Wes has been racing Mini Stocks for years and is one of the people in our area who specializes in building that type of car. Wes was familiar with our racing class’s rules and will build a rollcage that is safe, strong, and conforms to the reg’s.

We are also lucky to have the racing support advantages that come with living in central North Carolina, the hub for stock car racing. While most chassis and ’cage builders will do it for you, we decided to order our raw materials. Stock Car Steel, located in Mooresville, North Carolina, provides raw materials to almost every NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch team in the area, but it also delivers to any race shop within its range—and there are plenty besides the majors. The great aid to the local racer by this company is it doesn’t require large minimum orders like most industrial steel distributors. If you can find an outfit like this close to you that will deliver, it’s definitely one way to go to get the rollcage materials.

We ordered 20 feet of 2-inch square tubing, 40 feet of 1-½-inch 0.095 DOM tubing (Drawn Over Mandrel tubing: It is seamless and consistent in diameter), and another 60 feet of 1-½-inch 0.083 DOM tubing. It was waiting for us at the NASFAB shop the next day. We also ordered a box of 50 gussets from A&A Manufacturing to further strengthen the center section of the rollcage.

Seat Fit Concerns

One part of our car construction plan, because we will be racing on dirt, was to move the driver’s position as far back as possible to get more weight over the rear wheels to aid in balancing the car. To make sure we didn’t get our ’cage dimensions incorrect, we went ahead and purchased a racing seat, shoulder and head restraints, and mounting hardware from Butler Built. We mocked up the seat regularly in the construction process to try out different driver locations and to make sure the rollcage left the driver enough room to work.

When doing this, don’t forget to find your seat height and be sure there will be plenty of clearance between the driver’s head and the roof bar just beneath the driver-side window. Under no circumstances do you want the driver’s helmet to be able to make contact with that bar while strapped into the seat. This sounds obvious, but we’ve seen seats installed incorrectly without taking this into account too many times. Again, that’s why it’s prudent to rely on an expert chassis builder to construct your rollcage—they know the pitfalls and how to build a well-constructed and safe ’cage.

Project Mini Stock, Part I
Project Mini Stock, Part III

SOURCE
Stock Car Steel
8080 Performance Rd.
Mooresville
NC  28115
7-04/-664-3044
scsa@earthlink.net
NASFAB
7940 Hwy. 601 S., Bay #7
Concord
NC  28025
7-04/-788-8337
Aero Tec Laboratories
Spear Road Industrial Park
Ramsey
NJ  07746-1251
2-01/-825-1400
www.atlinc.com
A&A Manufacturing
19033 174th Ave.
Spring Lake
MI  49456
6-16/-846-1730
N/A
www.aa-mfg.com
Butler Built Motorsports Equipment
70 Pitts School Rd. N.W.
Harrisburg
NC  28027
7-04/-784-1027
www.butlerbuilt.net
Sears Craftsman