A text has been sent to competitors from NASCAR Whelen All-American Series officials to alert them of a potential rules changes that could come this weekend as cars hit the track for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.
With testing last week being canceled due to Hurricane Florence’s impact on racers in the region. NWAAS officials are scrambling to ensure that the rules in place will be fair for all competitors. A text sent to competitors last week outlined what teams need to be prepared for.
Here’s the text of the text sent to competitors:
“TO: ALL THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE VALLEY STAR CREDIT UNION 300
With the practice September 19th canceled and being moved to September 27th of the race weekend and due to the different engine combinations please be prepared and have access to the following items as these may be necessary to equalize competition for this event.
*A 390 CFM Carburetor
*Multiple RPM Chips for Ignition Boxes
*Gears Options to be comparable with any RPM changes
*Extra Lead Ballast
Thank you for your cooperation.”
RACE22.com spoke to several competitors about the text and what they expect on Thursday for practice with the potential rules change.
Every competitor we spoke with indicated that they thought that the Harrington engine has more horsepower and that the changes were targeting that engine specifically. Several competitors indicated that they didn’t have a 390 carburetor and couldn’t get one.
“We’re taking five cars and five Harrington’s,” Nelson Motorsports driver Bobby McCarty told RACE22. “There’s no possible way for us to find five race ready 390 carburetors in time.”
Tommy Lemons agreed saying that he didn’t have a 390 carburetor either.
“I get what they’re doing,” Lemons told RACE22. “But, that’s not a carburetor that’s a choice normally and not many teams if any have them. I just don’t understand why they want us to buy a $2,000 carburetor when all they talk about is saving money.”
Lemons continued saying that he thought they were worried about the Harrington engine.
“They probably all scared of the Harrington. This should have been done in July though. I know every track has they’re own deal and own way of doing things but these things need to be ironed out in advance and not have us scrambling to get something together in case something changes.”
Lemons and Kyle Dudley, who we also interviewed for this story, said they never received the text but had heard about it. Lemons says even if he knew last week he couldn’t get a carburetor ready.
“Even last week you couldn’t call up the carburetor guy and say ‘hey we need a 390 ready by next week’. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Dudley, who has only raced against a Harrington engine once he said, was surprised that they would even think to put a 390 carburetor on since it’s not something that anyone runs anywhere.
“If you end up having to be the one on the 390, you’re in a tough spot,” Dudley told RACE22. “It would suck to have to scramble to find one and hope it was good. I have one from the old Limited days but I assumed they’d let them run one that had been worked on not bone stock.”
One driver who didn’t seem to be worried was four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion, Lee Pulliam. His Lee Pulliam Performance team enters cars in the Limited Late Model races around the region and has a 390 carburetor ready to go.
“I think they have two new motors and they have a tough job making everything equal,” Pulliam told RACE22. “They won’t make everyone happy, only 50% will be happy no matter they do. The test being moved made their job even tougher.”
Pulliam echoed every other driver’s opinion that the Harrington engine was the one he thought they were watching the closest.
“The Harrington is pretty stout. The Harrington has more horsepower and putting a 390 on it could make it evener. I ain’t saying which way they should but they have a tough job making them all as equal as possible and we’re prepared for whatever they do.”
Pulliam did confirm that he had a car going with the Harrington and one with the Upgrade GM (Spec) engine and was prepared to change if needed. Lemons said he was also taking three cars and two spare engines but thinks he shouldn’t have to do that.
“I’m taking three cars and two spare engines,” Lemons laughed as he said it. “It’s insane to think we have to do this. We can’t keep throwing money at engines trying to make sure we have the best one because they change the rules all the time.”
McCarty seems to feel the same way and hopes they try to equalize without forcing teams to buy anything else.
“Should be no reason we can’t equalize with gears and chips,” continued McCarty. “Back in the day when we had only two engine combinations, we weren’t doing all this. We never heard about this. This is the biggest race of the year and we shouldn’t be doing this last minute stuff.”
To throw another potential issue at this weekends race, right now there’s a 60% chance of rain on Thursday when the cars are expected to test ahead of Friday’s practice and qualifying. The weekend forecast looks good for now but if testing is rained out on Thursday it could prove problematic for teams and officials.
UPDATE: Since this was posted NWAAS officials have removed the 390 carburetor from the options used to equal the field this weekend.