The rearend of a racecar can be extremely complicated. It doesn't matter if you are using a quick-change or nine-inch rearend, as each needs to be inspected every week. It can be as easy as glancing underneath the car to make sure you don't have anything leaking out of the rearend or transmission.

On a quick-change rearend you should change the ratchet springs every few races. The ratchet springs ensure that the right-rear and left-rear turn at the rate they are supposed to turn. But once the springs get worn down they will make your car handle very poorly. The one time the springs reached that point in my car I couldn't even touch the gas pedal without almost spinning out. It made the entire car extremely loose, but it could have just the reverse effect; it could make your car extremely tight when you enter the corner. It all depends on which spring goes out first.

You should also check the axles in the rearend on a consistent basis. The axle has splines on each end that will transfer the power from the rearend to the rear wheels. If the axles have been grinded down to where they have very little of the splines left, and there are a lot of sharp edges where the splines used to be, then you need to replace the axles.

There is nothing in your vehicle that will experience as much stress as your engine. The extreme temperatures, the broad rpm range experienced by race engines, and the potentially harmful debris that could enter the engine are just a few variables that will add to engine stress.

One of the more important components needing attention after every race is the exhaust gaskets. This is where you could potentially lose most of the power being generated by the engine. If you blow an exhaust gasket, you will lose back pressure and lose horsepower. If you discover that you have a blown exhaust gasket at the track, there is a quick fix: Use high heat silicone and seal the area around the blown gasket. Allow it to dry before starting the engine. Check all of the gaskets associated with the engine just to make sure that you do not have a blown head gasket or, even worse, a cracked head.

After every race weekend, clean out the carburetor and inspect it to make sure you don't have any dirt or grime inside the carburetor. (See FAQ page 74.) While the carburetor is out, look inside the air bleeds and make certain there is no type of debris inside of them. Also check the boosters to see if any has started to come loose, and replace as needed.

Another point of interest is the spark plugs. You should pull them every few races to make sure the color around the electrodes is consistent. If seven out of the eight are brown and the eighth has little to no color, then you have probably been running on seven cylinders for some time. Also pay attention to how the electrode looks, checking to see if it has any type of debris or aluminum gathering around it. This could help prevent further problems.

The point of all this is not to worry you about your car, but to make you aware of a few areas that most teams inspect from week to week. If you are constantly having trouble with things breaking or falling off once you get to the track, then that is a sign of too little maintenance being performed on the car between races. Just remember when you're not working and inspecting your car, someone is working on theirs and making it better. It might seem like a lot of work, which it can be, but it's more than worth it.

Leavitt Racing Components