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future of ice oval racing

future of ice oval racing

Postby jhooper/HRE » March 16th, 2017, 8:11 am

Even though the Pro Champ class is great racing and is more competitive than ever I think most of us realize that the current Champ class has an expiration date for a few reasons.
#1- 440 engines and parts are getting scarce and very expensive to buy a competitive engine package.
#2- The cost of buying or building a competitive sled keeps too many racers out and when Tommy Lipar decides he has had enough EVERY TEAM will be running deeply in the red with ridiculous things like titanium studs and too many $$$ carbon fibre parts to mention.
#3- Newer 600 engines would be more exciting to spectators even if they are detuned to the same speed as the current 440's. The 440 engine size has always sounded kinda lame to most spectators and is just one of the many reasons spectator turnout is usually lower each year, we need something "NEW AND EXCITING".

I think it's time to start putting together some practical rules for a new 600 Class to replace Champ around 2019 or 2020.
I would propose some relatively simple rules that would look something like this:
#1- Chassis- same as current Champ except absolutely no titanium or carbon fibre anywhere. 390 lbs weight rule
#2- Track would be a 116 x 15 Hard rubber SPEC. track {LIKELY CAMOPLAST}
#3- Engine - stock 600 with only head cutting allowed w/32 mm carbs, V-force reeds, any pipes.

These rules would lower the overall cost by 30-50% and make everything more easily accessible.
I believe we could double the entries in our premier class with rules like this. John Hooper
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby FastCat87 » March 17th, 2017, 2:28 am

So are you proposing limited 600 with mod pipes?
“If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.”
― Mario Andretti
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby FastCat87 » March 17th, 2017, 2:45 am

Now John this is where I don't want you to think I'm starting an argument, but I have Been a HUGE supporter of the Limited 500 class for years and and for the Very reasons you mentioned, cost! It used to have a 116" track rule but that was a deal breaker for everyone. No titanium or carbon. Maybe take a look at the ISR boo at the Limited 500/600 rules.
I remember a few years back when Pro-lite was created, but for some reason we created a class with almost all the same costs as champ. Now don't take this the wrong way because I'm VERY THANKFUL for all the efforts and time put into it and the numbers are increasing every year. I guess I'm just wondering why such a sudden change of direction?
“If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.”
― Mario Andretti
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby jhooper/HRE » March 17th, 2017, 8:55 am

My original proposal for the V-Force pro-lite class was almost exactly the same as this proposal BUT too many racers felt it didn't make sense to not allow all the expensive chassis items since they would need to buy most of these expensive items anyway when they moved to Pro Champ. They had a good point.
If I had my way we would have eliminated most of the really pricey items from BOTH classes.
Being an engine builder I am not crazy about the "stock engine" rule BUT I realize it would bring more racers in and if we don't start making moves in the right direction soon it will be too late.
Our sport has had fragile numbers for a while and if not for F-500 and Tommy Lipar we would likely not exist.
It was not that long ago that you needed to be in the top 36 fastest times just to make it into the qualifying heats at Eagle.
I believe a 40-50 sled field is very possible again with "common sense rules"
I would like to see us have a productive discussion here to figure out the best way to proceed BEFORE it's too late.
I know there will be guys like TJ that will say " this is the premier class and it needs to remain exotic with lots of freedom to experiment"
I would fully agree with him except for one HUGE FACT - The sport of snowmobile ice oval racing does not have nearly enough money or access to major sponsors to support exotic experimental stuff.
One more rule I would add: No electrically adjusted or controlled shocks!
The rules would still allow for lots of experimenting with chassis and clutches just WITHOUT exotic materials.
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby Greg Bihner » March 17th, 2017, 9:57 am

I think the future racers are coming up and are looking very good, being on the other side of the fence this year I had a chance to watch some racing both at the track and on TV . I noticed at the track a group of young junior drivers all hanging out together and generally looking like they where having fun together even after the races where over. It was great to see. This in my opinion is how young racers gain respect for each other know there is a face and a person behind the goggles not just the guy i just beat. Guys like Max Nelson, Hunter Sears, Zach and Jacob Ricci, Lepeck, Bauman, Cook, Beach, These are some talented kids coming up and will looking to get on something faster soon. It was really great to see.

As fare as the solution to what sled and motor package to go with, I do like some of Johns ideas. He definitely got it right with Pro-lite. Although we did disagree with some of his rules, like it or not, look at the number of drivers going into the class into Champ from Pro-lite. Probable another 2 next year. It is a great stepping stone class.

I do believe some type of some based engine is the way to go and learn on. Our pro-lite engine is the same engine that ran competitively for the last 3 years with out any major issues. New pistons and rings at the beginning of each season.

I do disagree with Tyler though Pro-lite sleds is way way cheaper than champ sleds and way cheaper to run.

I do know from watching races on TV the classes with 2 or 3 sleds racing and all spread out are the snoozers!!
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby FastCat87 » March 17th, 2017, 10:54 am

Greg, I agree with everything you just said!! I know to run a champ is Way more expensive throughout a season than a Pro-Lite. I guess what I meant by the expense is that the initial build cost, other than cylinder and bottom end work, allows the same expenses as champ. Example; titanium, carbon, head work, and pipes. I'm not knocking the class, I had a blast running in it this year.

As far as the classes with 2 or 3 guys, we need to either figure out how to grow them or disolve them into other classes. I agree, kind of a snooze fest for the fans.

I for sure agree that the future is with these groups of young drives. It is cool to see them all hanging out with eachother at the track.
“If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.”
― Mario Andretti
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby proton » March 17th, 2017, 4:05 pm

I think John's champ formula is perfect, new iron...possible factory interest...getting rid of the carbon fiber and titanium is paramount, just a needless waist of money that does nothing for the show, f500 has shown that to be a fact.

I am also concerned with the champ sleds looking like cheese with holes cut everywhere there is space to do it.

I am a racing purest, a great idea should still give you an advantage that can't be overshadowed by someone with a big buget... I know that is wishful thinking on my part but that's the way I see it.
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby HRA motorsports » March 18th, 2017, 8:23 am

If you want to limit power with the 32 mm carb. why would you allow head cutting?
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby jhooper/HRE » March 18th, 2017, 8:46 am

The biggest reasons to allow head cutting is to make it easier on the tech guys.
Thoroughly checking flat plate volume, installed volume, squish thickness, squish angle, and dome shape is a very time consuming process and machining heads is not very expensive anyway.
A CREATIVE engine guy can find advantages in the heads while still getting by the tech guy.
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Re: future of ice oval racing

Postby mmlboz » March 18th, 2017, 9:07 am

I don't know that the problem is the carbon fiber parts. As a member of the # 33 for 8 yrs we found that once we switched to carbon fiber hoods they lasted way longer than any fiberglass hood . We were able to use our hoods for a couple seasons and they still looked new . If the weight limit were raised to a weight that you could get to without all the carbon then there is no advantage to running carbon. Teams that have the budget and want to run it would probably have to add weight so the team that doesn't want to spend the money is at no disadvantage. Getting rid of titanium studs would be a step in the right direction. It wouldn't affect the stud makers because you will still be buying product from them . I am not totally sure they really like making TI studs anyways. One of the biggest things is the motor package . There are only a few guys building 440 engines and the price is crazy . The 600 engine idea would really bring the cost down and make it easier for everyone that races champ to have a competitive package .
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