The chassis features several...
The chassis features several elements aimed at boosting safety, including extra triangulation in the rear of the 'cage (the blower is there to ventilate the helmet), and double-thick tubing over the driver's head.
While the team had an abundance of ideas they'd kicked around on the seemingly endless rides from race to race, in the end they decided not to be as radical as they would have liked. "We decided to keep our engine placement and most other stuff the same, to let us know if the chassis changes work," Jeffery says. "We were afraid of having too many variables."
To this end, the front of the PMC chassis resembles the other brands used in DIRT, using the same kingpin width and radius rod lengths as a standard Olsen. Birdcages are by Dixon while QA1 supplies the rod ends. Torsion arms are either BRP or Dixon, the torsion bars and quick-change come from Winters, and Outlaw brakes slow the Kevin Enders-powered cars. A Griffin radiator cools the 467 big-block Chevy, which is hooked to a Brinn transmission. Decker uses a Kirkey seat and applies his skilled input through a Lee steering box.
AFCO adjustable gas shocks are found on all four corners, with Jeffery praising the efforts of AFCO rep Brad Benic. "We worked with him all year to tune the shocks to the changes we made with the chassis. It was a never-ending process," Jeffery says.
"The early part of the season was crazy, but we got it sorted out and the car had five wins in its last seven races. We got our chassis changes made and settled on a standard setup, and after that we were only out of the Top 3 once. Before that, we wore Pete out moving brackets and changing the spring base for the torsion rack."
Here is the right rear of...
Here is the right rear of the chassis using a W-link to locate the axle on setups used at tracks with rougher surfaces.
"I think we struggled early on because we all had input in designing the car and we all thought our ideas were right," Decker says. "At first, we were reluctant to change, but when we got to the different tracks, we were all proved wrong on something."
"I knew that first car would go through a lot of changes," Chuckta says. "We cut and welded tubing and brackets until we hit a happy medium. Billy's spare Syracuse car was the second chassis we did, the 'perfected version,' and we haven't changed anything since except the building process and some bolt-on parts. Now we're into machining in quantities for economy of scale. We were doing all the brackets by hand, but now the pieces come from a machine shop in Connecticut, another in Lockport, New York, or from John Dixon in Pennsylvania. My guys cut the pieces, bend the tubing, and tack the car together on the jig. I do all the finish welding and build the bodies."
At season's end, Decker was the Brewerton champion. The design also won at Canandaigua, Utica-Rome (both in New York), and New Egypt, New Jersey. He almost sat on the frontstretch at Syracuse after a big track test run in the Labor Day classic, leading 48 of 50 laps before succumbing to a flat tire.
Like racers everywhere, the DIRT troops are quick to imitate a winner, and Chuckta's Nassau, New York, phone was soon ringing off the hook. He and his four-man shop crew cranked out 11 new cars in the off-season, with DIRT kingpin Kenny Tremont, the most prominent convert to the PMC chassis.
"It's been crazy," Chuckta says. "I was a union boilermaker by trade before I got into race cars back when Tommy Corellis was the big star at Lebanon Valley. The last few years I've been putting clips on Troyers, TEOs, and Olsens. I decided that when I came out with my own chassis, they'd all be the same. I've already turned down a bunch of custom work. No more small 'cages for short drivers or motor-forward or back cars. With one standard design, we can take more time when we put it together, make everything fit right and give everybody our best product."