Bonuses Boost Stafford Speedway Open Modified Events To $5,000 To Win

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

Stafford Speedway partners GAF and New England Racing Fuel have each posted contingency bonuses for the Open Modified events scheduled at Stafford Speedway in 2021. The additional prize money makes each of the 4 events $5,000 to win for the 2021 season. Teams will be required to run GAF & New England Racing Fuel contingency decals to be eligible for the bonus money.

With the bonus announcement, Stafford Speedway and GAF expand upon their recently announced multi-year partnership serving as the official sponsor for the August 6th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour GAF 150. GAF also continues to serve as the primary sponsor of multi-time Stafford winner Eric Goodale, driver of the #58 Modified. Goodale will look to carry the GAF colors to victory lane as he is registered for all 4 Open Modified events on the 2021 calendar. 

Goodale joins a long list of top Modified talent that have registered to compete. 2020 winners Marcello Rufrano, Ronnie Williams, Woody Pitkat, and Keith Rocco all have filed their entry for the 2021 events alongside drivers such as Jon McKennedy, Chris Pasteryak, Chase Dowling and more. View the full up to date entry list on

The first Open Modified event of the season is scheduled for Friday, May 14th with the Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81 and continues with one event per month through the summer. The 4th Annual Twisted Tea Open 80 on Friday, June 11th, 4th Annual Bud Light Open 80 on  Friday, July 9th, and the 2nd Annual Lincoln Tech Open Modified 80 on Friday, August 20th all will pay $5,000 to win, thanks to the bonus from GAF and New England Racing Fuel. 

Registration for Stafford Speedway’s Open Modified events is now open online, with discount registration pricing available through March 15th. Teams can complete registration online at

For more information, visit, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.


  1. Fast Eddie says

    Great job by Stafford to get this company support! Now their winner’s purse is even with Thompson’s mid-week Opens. It also makes them more comparable to TriTrack $$ and gives teams more incentive to chase the CBYD bonus..

  2. Oh thank goodness what a relief. It was getting embarrassing. The new guys Michaud and Mayberry join the open event offerings and even they offer $5000 to win right out of the gate for mid week events. Saw the purses earlier, the $3500 not increased and wondered what the heck Stafford. Problem solved.
    Sure the Stafford opens don’t make the top 10 event list but they’ve come a long way. Poo pooed by many in 2018 with the first two events drawing 20 cars each and won by Barrett and Goodale. They were good fields with no disappointments and the tire change was perfect as opposed to the MRS events. Each year got better and now early on 30 cars are already signed up and as usual with an interesting mix.
    Don’t see the Paige 00, Bertuchio 25, Lutz or Silk yet but otherwise it looks like a strong field. Great to see Chris Pasteryak and Emerling. The Mertz/Pitkat 6, 7ny, Etheridge and of course the Dodge/Dowling 9ct that ran away with the final TTOMS race last year. Not to mention the Stafford regulars Rocco, Williams, Rufrano, Moeller, Galko and others.
    You’ll see. Hirschman won’t want to come up for an event but will anyway to get points for the combined Stafford/TTOMS bonus money.
    Nope not the glitz of the NWMT events nor the strong following of Tri Track but 4 can’t miss events sure to please. Kind of like meat and potato of opens that always satisfy.

  3. Pay the money and they will come. Great job Stafford getting the sponsors to put up the bucks!

  4. I give Stafford some criticism for their prices and their inability to run the SK’s earlier in the program but stafford does a great job of finding sponsors and taking care of their drivers. They do that just as well as anyone around here and should be applauded for doing it.. Good work Stafford and Thank you to GAF and NE racing fuel for helping support these racers.

  5. Is the NASCAR Spec engine legal for the Stafford Opens this year?

  6. Rafter Fan,
    To my knowledge, no, nothing has changed in regards to that rule.

  7. Funny you should mention the spec. I was anxiously waiting the Stafford rules for 2021 thinking surely they would allow the spec. After all the Tri Track race was a resounding success with them included. The Tri Track engine summary showed Stafford mainstays Ben Dodge and Chase Dowling were using the spec to win in the 9ct, were planning to run the Stafford open in 2021 so how could the spec not be allowed?
    Silly me, it’s Stafford. Changes to division rules rationed out carefully not fundamentally changed.
    A good number of red highlights indicating subtle changes to the rules but nothing earth shattering.

    “Any stock or after-market steel GM block may be used.”

    That didn’t change. A lot of accommodation for the myriad of cast iron block built engines available now but the spec is engine non gratis. With the exception of NWMT races at Stafford and even they may be on the chopping block after the 2021 season in number of events or excluded all together
    No Sapienza at the opens this year and Dodge/Dowling apparently getting new non spec power.
    Pretty clear at this stage the spec was a huge success as a NASCAR revenue stream. As a a viable cost effective alternative to tour type modified built engines it has proven to be an abysmal failure that’s days are numbered in my view.

  8. Stuart A Fearn says

    doug, that is an interesting call predicting the end of the spec engine. I have no skin in the game personally but the topic has been polarizing when first introduced and now dropping that game would be another huge cost to teams. Quite possible but interesting to talk about.
    You are informed and do put forth fact based opinions so thanks for the conversation starter Doug

  9. I don’t see it polarizing to much as an inexorable trend based on economic realities.
    I put the question to you Mr. Fearn. You better then most see evolving changes in real time.
    Not to over state it but it’s pretty clear the NWMT is having a bumpy time of it now whereas tour type open alternatives are expanding. Specs are not the engine of choice in opens they are allowed in. Tri Track listed the engines used at the final Stafford Tri Track race and it was astounding to me anyway how many variations had evolved.

     00 – Justin Bonsignore – 21-Degree Dart Spec Head Tour-Type Built Motor
     00 – Tommy Membrino Jr. — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     06 – Les Hinckley – 23-Degree Aluminum Tour-Type engine
     1 – Joey Cipriano — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     2X – Paul Kubesha — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     3 – Matt Galko — 23-Degree Aluminum Tour-Type engine
     3 – Matt Swanson – NASCAR Spec Engine
     6 – Woody Pitkat — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     7NY – Mike Christopher Jr. — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     8 – Nick Salva — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     8 – Cam McDermott — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     9 – Tommy Barrett Jr. — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     9 – Chase Dowling – NASCAR Spec Engine
     11NC – Burt Myers – FORD Motor
     11 – Matt Vassar – 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     13 – Dylan Izzo — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     14 – Blake Barney – NASCAR Spec Engine
     20 – Max Zachem — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     21 – DRIVER TBA (Art Barry’s car) — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     23 – Troy Talman — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     25 – Doug Coby — 23-Degree Aluminum Tour-Type engine
     25 – Calvin Carroll – NASCAR Spec Engine
     25 – Brian Robbie — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     25CT – Anthony Flannery — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     33 – Michael Gervais Jr. — DART Steel Head Engine
     34 – Dave Ethridge — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     35 – Andrew Molleur — DART Steel Head Engine
     36 – Dave Sapienza — NASCAR Spec Engine
     44 – Trevor Bleau — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     44 – Anthony Sesely — 21-Degree Dart Spec Head Tour-Type Built Motor
     46 – Craig Lutz — 23-Degree Aluminum Tour-Type engine
     48 – Marcello Rufrano — DART Steel Head Engine
     50 – Ronnie Williams — 23-Degree Aluminum Tour-Type engine
     50 — Ron Silk — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     50 – Noah Korner — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     55 – Ryan Doucette — 21-Degree Dart Spec Head Tour-Type Built Motor
     57 – Keith Rocco — DART Steel Head Engine
     58 – Eric Goodale — 21-Degree Dart Spec Head Tour-Type Built Motor
     59 – Andy Jankowiak – NASCAR Spec Engine
     60 – Matt Hirschman — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     66 – Austin Kochenash — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     74 – Manny Dias — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     74 – Shawn Thibeault — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     75 – Chris Pasteryak – NASCAR Spec Engine
     76 – Kirk Alexander — 21-Degree Dart Spec Head Tour-Type Built Motor
     176 – Cory DiMatteo — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     78 – Walter Sutcliffe Jr. — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     81 – Todd Owen — 18-Degree Tour-Type engine
     92 – Anthony Nocella — 23-Degree Aluminum Tour-Type engine
     99 – Richard Savary —

    Spec’s only 7 and only Dowling in the top 5. In fact the top 5 not dominated by any particular engine configuration. All I know is what is printed and I’m trusting Tri Track is publishing mostly accurate information.
    My questions are these.. If built engines are so expensive and the reason the spec came about why are we seeing the explosion of tour type modifieds with built engine variations powering them?. Why isn’t Stafford allowing the spec, why isn’t the spec more popular in non NWMT events if it’s so cost effective and why do some teams go out of their way to build a non spec alternative for open races. You know engine builders. Is it possible they have designed cost effective ways to build cast iron block engines that unlike the spec are vastly more rebuildable?

  10. Just wish these shows were for the SK division – these guys support the race track every week and then you pay the other modified teams more money???? Pay the SK division this much money for these 6 shows and you will see more teams getting sk engines (just like sk teams buying open motors) and now you have more teams coming into the division. JMO

  11. Y’all yapping about who is using what engine, and that is useless. It means nothing.

    What y’all have to do is find out how many brand new NWMT-class built engines have been bought and delivered to NWMT customers since the introduction of the SPEC engine. And any other Mod racer.

    GO ahead, I’ll wait.

    Oh, never mind.

    Wanna guess?

    ZERO. At least as reported by my engine builder buddy. And you all know these engines. ZERO. Who it is does not matter, so don’t even bother demanding to know. Believe or don’t, I don’t care.

    Now y’all should know that a built engine can last a very long time, many, many, many years, refreshes, etc. A SPEC engine is largely consumable and disposable. The block is a disposable. That’s sad.

    You need to understand that the NWMT is where the built engines come into the ecosystem. Those engines, as used, are then sold to the less competitive NWMT teams and off-off-off-off-Broadway Mod teams. Those non-NWMT teams simply can not or refuse to pay full price for a brand spanking new NWMT-class built engine.

    So, with NWMT teams no longer buying brand new built engines, how long can the current inventory of built engines last? Where will the previously owned built motors come from to supply the secondary market demand?

    The SPEC will be the only engine left standing. As long as the SPEC engine’d NWMT Mod car maintains the current rules advantage, it shall be the engine of choice for competitive NWMT teams.

  12. Alright you got me interested. Hopefully there are some posters with some knowledge on the Spec vs built engine debate.

    Is the Nascar spec engine mandatory on the tour now? I seem to remember it was introduced as an alternative option designed at saving the teams money. Did they adjust the rules so only Nascar Spec engines are competitive on the tour? What are the approximate costs for a front running built engine vs the Nascar Spec option? Any idea on hp differences between a built and Spec? Is the refurbish refresh costs significantly more for one option over the other. Was cost savings ever realized by Nascar tour teams who switched to the Spec.

  13. First, Doug knows nothing about the SPEC. Or the built. Nothing.

    The NWMT rules package for a car with the SPEC favor the SPEC and hence, the built is no longer competitive.

    RYR no longer posts pricing to the general public. You can buy the SPEC from RYR as a kit or fully assembled. The procurement pricing for the SPEC has gone up over the years, and that has really pissed teams off. This so-called low price alternative SPEC is getting up there in price, and it reportedly needs to be refreshed more often than a built.

    The RYR site says the 364 cu. in. SPEC puts out 610 hp and 500 ft-lbs. It’s hard to talk about HP and torque since there are other factors, such as weight breaks, lower CG, etc. The SPEC is an aluminum block and that enables lead to be located lower on the chassis for a YUGE CG advantage.

    I really doubt any cost savings related to the SPEC have been beneficial to the sport and the NWMT series. There might have been a lower procurement cost, but there was also the cost to to convert the car to a SPEC motored car. Kind of a wash. So now it comes down to recurring costs. I think the owners prefer the built engines. Look, it’s been a few years of SPEC engine Mod racing, and owners are not dancing 🕺 💃 or singing the praises of the SPEC engine cost savings.

    I would not even think to claim that the SPEC has improved car counts, etc. which was the ultimate goal. The engines have been changed, but nothing good came from it.

    As my team owner buddy always said, he can’t afford NASCAR’s cost savings.

  14. Darealmotorfella says

    Spec engine is about dead. When Nascar came up with it, they made three major assumptions, production based parts would be cheap and available for a long time, there would be economy of scale by making the basic architecture common with the east/west series and nascar canada series, and it would be easy to tech. Well the block and heads are based on production LS2 parts, neither of which have been cast for over a decade as GM phased in gen IV LS engines such as the LS3/L86/LSA/LQ9. The more recent production blocks, even though they have been superceded by gen V LT line, have a number of improvements over the LS2 such as capability for piston oilers with check valves, but are different bores than LS2 so need to be resleeved with steel liners from the start to be used as LS2 replacements. What’s left of the east/west series is giving incentives to switch to the Ilmore NT1 to be common with Arca Menards series and same as the Truck series. Canada series is going a different way, they are looking at the Trans am TA2 Choice engine which is half the cost of the LS2 Spec engine, is fuel injected, and runs on pump unleaded. For tech, non Nascar series don’t have the capability to send one to the Technical Center for disassembly, or have the ability to translate QR codes from parts, no sense in allowing something without the capability to enforce.

    These Open series would be better off allowing built, non spec, aluminum block LS/LT engines. They can be built new cheaper, with as much power, and more durable than competitive cast iron small blocks. The worst production LS3 heads flow better than the best CNC’d 18 degree SBC heads, and have no need for shaft mount rockers as long as hydraulic lifters are used. For tech, ideally specify 3.652 is the only allowable stroke, cubic inches, non adjustable rocker arms, and carb. All easy to do. I can build a new competitive 410 sprint car motor for same price as an all new every option cast iron 18 degree open mod motor.

  15. So now he has an “engine builder buddy” and a “team owner buddy”. I find it hard to believe dacellardweller has any buddies the way he verbally abuse’s people.

  16. When the topic of spec engines comes up you hope someone drops in that actually knows or at least sounds like they know what they are talking about so thanks for that.
    My main question is still floating around out there unanswered. There are a bunch of engine builders building tour type modified built engines. Have they discovered some way to do it in a more cost effective manner.
    I’m sure this is ignorant but can you take one of the great crate performance engines that GM makes and sells at mass produced prices, use the long block perhaps reworking it a bit or not, add the builders own head configuration and come up with a fast, reliable engine at a price point far less then built engines used to cost?

  17. Doug, there are a bunch of engine builders that are no longer building *NEW* tour type modified built engines. Who is buying them? Who is buying them? Go ahead and make list of the cars running brand new built Mod motors since the SPEC was deployed.

    Who would buy a brand new tour type built motor nowadays? It’s not competitive on the NWMT anymore.

    Interestingly, NASCAR told the engine builders that the SPEC engine will not impact the built engine business. The tour type Modified built engine business disappeared years ago.

    Doug, call all the engine builders and find out how many brand new Tour Type Mod built engines have been sold since the deployment of the SPEC engine. Go ahead, report back.


  18. WeldingWonders says

    “ hate me because I’m beautiful and smarter than you.



    147 Add in all their (Republican men) subjugated wives
    148. These people are not vaccinated, not wearing masks, not doing what is needed and they are home grown super spreaders.
    149 Send those GOP back to where ever they came from.
    150 If you (Doug) can, think about this
    151 Doug has toned down his generous use of insults, and calling others scumbags, but his idiocy remains.
    152 He’s (Doug) just an idiot now
    153 But the idiocy (of Doug) remains
    154 Why can’t some of you understand that? Just how daft are you?
    155 Well, by now, the not-totally-dumb ones around here should know
    156 all those big guys, with the big beards, covered in tats, leather vest and jackets, and wallets chained to their pants, are the biggest babies by far.
    157 JD graduated from Trump University.
    158 Then there are those that are nothing more than shills.
    159 JD went to Trump University, and flunked out.
    160 Shills are never objective.
    161 So those that have gotten the TrumpPandemic COVID-19 coronavirus virus vaccine, how does the microchip work?
    162 First, Doug knows nothing about the SPEC. Or the built. Nothing.
    163 Doug, call all the engine builders and find out how many brand new Tour Type Mod built engines have been sold since the deployment of the SPEC engine. Go ahead, report back. Idiot.

    TOTAL INSULTS IN 2021 THROUGH DAY 84……………………………163


    2021 INSULT COUNT PER DAY THROUGH DAY 84 …………………..1.94 Trend sharply increasing.


  19. Dacellardweller just can’t contain himself, more verbal insults/abuse.

    Doug, I believe as long as TTOMS, Stafford opens and Thompson opens continue to exist there will always be a market for built/open mod engines. The WMT spec engines were not the financial saving grace they were portrayed to be. The cost of ownership is what is killing them.

    I think you will also find that the NY and PA bunch are still running the open/built engines so there must be a market for them out there.

  20. There’s actually been a bunch of new 18 and 23 degree engines built in the last few years specifically for open and tri track shows

  21. Probably the NJ bunch as well.

    I would think Bruneau, Morgantini, Performance Technology, Pettit, BTK just to name several could probably answer the question for you.

  22. Darealmotorfella says

    Cost effective tour type open engine? All I can say is speed costs money, how fast do you want to go. The last new engine I assembled that was close to an all out cast iron open mod motor was over seven years ago, and was an 18deg head engine for a Trans Am TA/SCCA GT1 car. The block was an 8.25″ deck height, 327 main, roller bearing cam shaft, triple piston squirters, ampco lifter bushings, all legal and undercover lightening. All block machine work was done at LSM in Michigan and it was well north of $10k. Cylinder heads came from CFE and were about $10k cnc’d but bare. Bryant billet crank 3.15″ REM’d 1.88 rod, balanced, another $5k. Billet cam, valve train for 9000RPM, 4 scavange etc, etc, etc. We made the headers specific to chassis. Carb(s) was from Pro systems and is larger than an open mod engine carb . Most the dyno time spent evaluating emulsion cals, throttle timing, cam advance, disassembling and reassembling upper end, replacing bent push rods, and more for development is intangible. Most ouside parts and work were direct bill to end user, so I don’t know a full cost, but if I said carb to header, with dry sump and development time, $60k would not be far off, Car and motor(s) sold off a couple years ago and somewhere FL now. If you just want to make laps one could spend alot less, but you get what you pay for.

    When you ask about great crate engines that GM makes. Here is a little information not usually publicized. If it’s not an engine used in a current production car or a COPO engine made in the Performance Build Center at Bowling Green, GM does not make it, it is completly outsourced or left over OEM stock. All the new Gen 1 small blocks, which includes the 602/604 base units, are sourced to SRC Automotive in Springfield Missouri. Where retrofits are needed such as the circle track pans, aluminum fast burn heads, cam, rockers, and sealing bolts, or its an LSX or ZL1 or 572 build, all that work warehousing and distribution happens at Performance Assembly Solutions in Livonia Michigan. PAS also assembles Ford crate engines. Yates used to do the focus midget engines, but that program is over now and Honda picked it up. I’m not sure if or who does any new LS crates for GM since they built up quite a bit of Gen IV stock before going out of production but new LS3’s are said to be low on supply. I did pick up an unused crank via a GM dealer for an LR4 last fall, but best I can tell is it was 10 years old. The CT525 had been a Pace performance program. LT crates are current production. Arrington Engines has pretty much taken over FCA crate programs. A problem with specifying any OEM crate as a circle track spec is that they could go away tomorrow with the stroke of a pen as companies are shifting priorities (to EV) and performance parts sales are minor compared to Accessory parts. Another problem with specifying crates as specs is when you allow people to get into them as has the PASS series has done, you take a $6k 604 crate and turn it into an $10k or more spec. Then there is $3.5k 602 and turned into a $7k SK lite motor due to overhead costs of management and policing program.

    I knew a retired former GM Powertrain Vice President. He was raised near Lockport NY, went to Lancaster speedway every Saturday, and loved modifieds. Starting the GM Performance Build Center was his final major project before retiring. His hobby was building engines in the machine shop he built behind his house, and drag racing his Altered. He once told me mandating crate engines will be the end of premier racing at local race tracks. When his son started circle track racing, he wouldn’t let him run in a crate motor class. I also knew the program manager for Ford when they started to ramp up their crate motor program, he was originally from NJ and was also found of modifieds, and drag raced. He left Ford in 2016 and the circle track crate motor program there has been in decline since then (or before since maybe that’s why he left). Racing is expensive, racers can be their own worst enemy, whenever somebody says they are here to save you money hold on to your wallet. OK that’s it for me.

  23. Just tryin to help you out, would love to see major Tom enter into orbit around Uranus again, 😂

  24. The driving force for the BEST built motors are (were) the owners of the COMPETITIVE NWMT teams. They bought new motors more frequently. These owners had dev programs with their engine builders. One particularly popular built engine came to be from a notable owner-builder pairing. Yes, there are different grades of built motors. Like darealmotorfella said, “speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?” That’s one of the oldest sayings in racing. There’s no such thing as a cost effective tour type built motor. There’s no such thing as “cost effective” racing, just slower racing. That’s known as an oxymoron. Like dry ice, jumbo shrimp, civilized warfare, humane killing, SNAFU, etc.

    Let’s also realize that running bullrings does not require a super duper all out built motor. A bullring is not a horsepower track. Teams that are primarily running tracks that are small, bullrings, short straights, not horsepower tracks, momentum tracks, can get away with good built motors, not the best built motors.Heck, an exclusive bullring series can spec a decent, cheap crate motor and the on-track product will be no different. A good built motor costs less than an all out best built motor. You will go faster with the best built motor. I bet you didn’t know that.

    Folks, the teams I knew had numerous built engines, and each engine was targeted for a specific class of tracks, from the ‘bowl and Riverhead to Loudon, and in between. At one shop, the workbench along the wall had numerous engines stored underneath, each one for a certain class of track. Other shops had various engines stored in a corner of the shop.

    I’m not going to disclose engine costs, it’s far more than beer money.

    Hey Doug, instead of annoying all the engine builders with your cute survey, just go to the track, go to the pits, and ask the teams when was the last time they bought a brand new built 18º motor. And then ask what they paid. I want to hear the laughter. Make sure you are standing next to the engine bay with the SPEC motor when you ask your questions. 😝😝🤣🤪

    Doug, the only reason this built vs SPEC engine issue continues with you is because you don’t know what is involved and you don’t have a chance at understanding what little you know. Give it up already. I’m never going to tell you the good stuff you crave. I’m laughing all the way.

    darealmotorfella, as long as the NWMT rules are what they are, and the SPEC is still there, they will run the SPEC because it wins, and a built is no longer competitive. Unless rules are changed to establish parity, the SPEC will go on.

  25. For my money that was the best post, most informative, best written of any post from any source that has appeared in the RaceDayCt forum.

    In January 2018 I exchanged emails with Rob Fuller regarding the spec engine. He was on the road at the time and was kind enough to provide information relevant at the time regarding his perspective on built vs spec engines used on the NWMT
    This is a summary of the points he passed along.

    -the Spec engine originally cost $18000 and has risen to $32000 currently. NASCAR sanctions the engine and has a vested interest in it’s use. The best built engines run in the area of $48000.
    -the spec engine is extremely reliable but is not as sophisticated nor does it include the best available parts, technology and tolerances that the state of the art built engines have. To make up the difference they are allowed the 750cfm carb vs the built engine 390cfm sacrificing fuel consumption to equalize power.
    -the block on the spec engine requires replacing every 5 rebuilds offsetting more of the savings in addition to higher fuel consumption. Replacement may be required every 2nd or third year at a substantial additional cost.
    -the spec engine weighs approximately 90 lbs less. Current rules mandate the weight savings be added to the chassis but it is allowed to be placed in a location that lowers the center of gravity of the car.
    -generally speaking NASCAR has done such a good job equalizing the spec and built engines there appears to be no clear favorite in the WMT. Each has it’s own advantages and each under the right conditions can provide an edge depending on the track configuration, distance, banking and length.

    That’s over three years out of date but still provides some insights from a person intimately familiar with spec vs built engines that are NWMT legal.
    We can stipulate there is no such thing as an inexpensive race engine can’t we? However there is a such thing as more affordable in relationship to other alternatives.
    While previously wanting to get further in weeds on engines I’m happy to admit that’s so far in the weeds I’ll be keeping those posts and refer to them for a long time to come.

    Darealmotorfella’s pretty much blows the concept of crate engines being a means to control costs in racing out of the water. On the other hand he’s an engine builder so there’s that. In the 1980’s a winning Street Stock ran a TA engine that cost over $3000 which is now over $9000. You can run the 602 crate with required changes for under $5000 and be competitive. Current competitors can fact check me on that but I’m pretty sure the 5 figure is in the ball park. Even at 7K my view is crate engines are more affordable then last century.
    Again I’m circling back to the high number of tour type modified engines and the numbers being built by a large number of engine builders. Not to be confused with the NWMT built engines that are clearly in a different class. It’s pretty obvious that all these engines being built for tour type modifieds are not costing $50,000. Todd Owen and Matt Galko I’m pretty sure don’t decide to build tour type modifieds then call up their engine builders and order a $50,000 engine.
    Another hang up is what is defined as a new engine. A new engine doesn’t have to have all new parts. It’s more likely a combination of refreshed parts and new. Everything associated with the heads is new from the after market cast iron heads Rocco is using to the aluminum others use. Block and crank must be the most commonly reused components but they can be new as well. The point being they aren’t coming from the NWMT and being refreshed. That source in long obsolete at this point.
    As far as I can see the question hasn’t been answered. How much does a competitive tour type modified engine cost and if they have found ways to do it in a more affordable manner how are they doing it?

  26. Some of you people are so oblivious. There were obvious clues right out in the open.

    As you walked around the pits, you can see all the engines. Valve covers are large and obvious. Some valve covers look they just came off a Chevy pickup truck, and others were custom, enlarged, tented, elevated enclosures to accommodate a non-standard top secret valve train.

    You never noticed any of this.

    So you tell me… are you an idiot?

    One of the best examples was when Stefanik’s engines, that had enormous valve covers the size of billboards, had TOYOTA decals.

  27. Doug posted, “As far as I can see the question hasn’t been answered. How much does a competitive tour type modified engine cost and if they have found ways to do it in a more affordable manner how are they doing it?”

    From the same posting, Doug also posted the following from an alleged email from Rob Fuller: “-the Spec engine originally cost $18000 and has risen to $32000 currently. NASCAR sanctions the engine and has a vested interest in it’s use. The best built engines run in the area of $48000.”

    The SPEC was supposed to be a cheap source of horsepower for the low budget racer to make more cars competitive. That never happened. No way, no how.


    Let’s start with it depends who you ask. 😝😝😝😝😝😝😝

    Looks to me like the first part of that question was answered in the same posting. These built engines are hand crafted pieces of art, not mass manufactured fungible commodities. Add a few percent to the $48,000 and you are probably in the ball park of today’s price. Doug, what’s your point? Why do you need to know these exact figures?


    And the second part of Doug’s question, “…and if they have found ways to do it in a more affordable manner how are they doing it?”

    Moot question, they aren’t doing it. The built engine as we knew it has been obsoleted by the SPEC. Races can not be won with the built engine when racing against the SPEC under the current rules package.


    The entire question is useless and meaningless. What’s your point? But then, you are pointless.

  28. Honestly enjoying the discussion here. I really dont have anything to add as I am just a fan who sits in the stands and watches modifieds go around in circles not knowing what type of engine is under the hood. Well I did pre pandemic on occasion. Now I watch online when I can.

    So my question is will the Spec become a less desirable engine choice now that the Whelen tour is transitioning out of the New England area? If these spec engines arent competitive without mother Nascar rigging the rules in their favor and there is more open motor modified races than Whelen races will the built motor have a resurgence in popularity?

    I love the affordable tour type modified engine started off at 18k was 32k within 3 or 4 years. Affordable.

    Good information. Thanks csg

  29. Trying to noodle through the myriad information and factoids Darealmotorfella provided. Seems pretty obvious the guy is the real deal and knows engines intimately. The explanation of the work that went into the engine for the Trans Am TA/SCCA GT1 car , a dizzying array of parts and processes hard to follow. Aside from being the impressive work of a master engine builder it has nothing to do with the tour type modified engines being built now near as I can figure. The shops regionally are building and refreshing multiple engines.
    My interest is not the NWMT engines, it’s what is being built for non NWMT tour type modified cars that are exploding regionally.
    We don’t care about the LS engines either near as I can figure. The latest, best versions are aluminum blocks that have a larger displacement. The tour type modified are using cast iron blocks. If the aluminum is relevant to NWMT spec engines that’s not really what I’m interested in for now.
    In the old days we scavenged for truck blocks with four bolt mains, the engine shop would mic it up, magniflux it and hope it was something that could be built up to a race motor. That’s before the decking and line boring, locating a forged crank that could be re-machined and all the rest that just added to the cost. The 602 and 604 mass produced crate engines eliminate all that for divisions they are used in but I’m wondering if it helps the tour type modified engine builders as well.
    That was a solid nugget on SRC Automotive a sub contractor for GM. They’re huge and also do work for Mercury and Harley. Crate racing engines must be a small part of what they do. It’s not common knowledge at all as Darealmotorfella said but this from the SRC web site.

    “SRC Automotive® assembles numerous “Crate Engines”, for the Performance Parts Group® of General Motors™. These all new engines are designed to provide the car enthusiast with a competitively priced product to keep their classic on the road. This product offering includes both 350 cubic inch engines as well as the 383 cubic inch “Stroker” platform for those who want a bit more than stock power and performance.”

    So SRC is a sub contractor for GM. We don’t really care about that either as long as the product is high quality which is seems to be so far. Darealmotorfella says that crate engines are an endangered commodity in the long run. I don’t know that’s true I certainly hope it isn’t for the sake of the sport. I did find this nugget that was a little concerning in the short run and wouldn’t you know our old adversary Covid19 would have something to do with it.

    Back to non NWMT tour type modifieds. How are they building so many and are they able to keep the cost at a price point that enables the class of modifieds to grow?
    GM offers a short block the SP/ZZ Partial Engine. Briefly it’s a steel block with a forged crank, four bolt mains, steel connecting rods and is designed for 10 to 1 compression with 58 cc heads. Stafford’s tour type modified rules call for the very same cast iron block and steel connecting rods.
    At the very least unlike the old days the pipe line of quality new racing parts is head and shoulders better then it used to be. Now instead of scavenging parts or paying ungodly prices for new GM components piecemeal there is an entire industry singularly devoted to providing packaged components specifically for not just the big boys but the weekend warrior as well. Previously the major parts manufacturers didn’t want to provide packages that racers depended on now they embrace it.
    The SP/ZZ partial engine is advertised at 10 to 1 compression and tour modifieds are maxed out at 12 to 1. I’d be wondering if the SP/ZZ partial engine is a good starting point for engine builders and if it could be readily modified on a cost effective basis to the increased compression necessary.
    You betcha I know there is a lot of misfires in this post but that’s fine. There are some good observations and if any engine builders or team members want to correct any ignorance or over simplifications then that’s what we’re after isn’t it?

  30. Damotorfella has probably forgotten more about engines than dagoodfella will ever know. Makes dagoodfella look like a kindergartner.

  31. Doug is carrying on a conversation about things he has no clue about. And then zig-zagging and changing directions as he is tripped up with his own idiocy.

    Doug posts tomes about NWMT built engines and the NWMT SPEC engine, and a reference to an email about such engines with Rob Fuller, then says he’s not interested in NWMT engines, but the engines used in the non NWMT tour type mods. Interestingly, constantly changing direction, and getting nowhere fast.

    Doug, this is simple Venn diagram stuff. How many times did you repeat the second grade?

    Doug, you will never find out the recipe for the secret sauce the engine builders use for their customers. Never. 👎 What was underneath all those custom, YUGE, obvious, outsized valve covers? 🤣😝🤡

    Read the rule books.

    Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?

    How do you reduce cost? Go slower.


    That was a pretty good article that highlighted Hirschman’s complaint after the first two features at New Smyrna won by Lutz and Emerling. Perhaps it came across as whining but I trust that he had a point. What came to be was his observation that in the longer races being down a bit on power coming out of the corner would not be an disadvantage. He was right.
    Aside from all that what I noticed is Hirschman had the spec, Lutz and Emerling and the majority of the field did not. Lutz and Emerling have specs and yet they didn’t use them at least for the races they won. If the spec did have all the advantages that were touted when it first came on the scene it would be winning the engine of choice award across all of tour type modified racing for costing less. It doesn’t cost less to own obviously. The 18, 21 and 23 degree engines with cast iron or aluminum heads are beating it and are infinitely more rebuildable. That’s my thinking anyway. Give them a slight weight penalty for having the weight distribution advantage and they no longer are the engine to have for most every open type race. That’s not how it was supposed to go. It was supposed to be a good alternative for other tour type modifed’s not just the NWMT. They tried to bully the market, offering a cookie cutter approach with cost advantages and ultimately it lost out to creativity and innovation.
    You’d think NASCAR would open up their rules to even the playing field for other motor configurations to encourage the energy we’re seeing in the opens. They can’t. It would kill the golden goose. The spec revenue stream.
    Jimmy Wilson is right. The NWMT is the premier modified racing series and no other series can match the glitz, structure and money they pay out from events to the point fund. But they’re losing the engine wars in my view.
    We’ll watch Martinsville and it will be great. They will mostly be running the best chassis and component products available and will have spec engines. They’ve purposely created a NASCAR ghetto by choice that discourages intermingling and creativity the lifeblood of racing. It’s worked out great so far but the times they are a changing and the trend is not in their favor.

  33. Spec lb for lb is the best piece in any racing format, Wmt or Opens. Stafford won’t allow them but if they did it would be the king. Even Riverhead weekly racers are majority Specs now, teams are not buying them for cost savings.

    Popular Open Mod motors were the Allpro 23 combo wich is a monster head angle milled to 21 deg with 2.180 valves like the 18 degree but was allowed the open booster 390 carb, made the biggest Hp in the field and is the motor the Spec guys cry about. Now for 2021 they cut the carb for this motor and its going to cost them 30-40 hp. Example (nocella symrna)

    18 deg motors are all Wmt left overs, heads have been done and done again, motors are available and cheep if your willing to freshen one but won’t make the power the Allpro or Dart 21s will.
    Example ( 75% of Tri Track)

    Dart 21s Steel or Alum are a newer combo started by MRS Jack Bateman, they are relatively cheep to build but have SS Valves and are Rpm Limited. They make good power with any holley carb of your choosing.
    Example (Rocco-Steel, 00 Dowling-Alum)

  34. Martinsville is a 0.526 mi track, short radius turns, concrete, 12º banking in the turns, no banking in the straights.

    What engine do you use?

  35. Fast Eddie says

    Great info Rich! The specific examples are great to make sense of the engine options. I wondered why Nocella didn’t do all that well a Ne Smyrna after last year’s good run down there.

  36. Like your posts Rich. Kept this one from before as being one of the most informative on the topic.

    “Ha I love how people assume they know what kinda power each combo makes, here’s my breakdown of legal #s
    18deg 580-615 hp
    Wmt spec 610-620 has
    Steel head Dart 600-625
    ALUM Head Dart 600-625
    All Pro Alum 23 620-650 (rule change for 21)
    18 degree is hands down the worse combo, the Allpro combo was the best Hp but now they are losing 25 hp from new carb rule, the Steelhead used to be 13.5-1 compression but now is 12-1 taking away 15-20 Hp, the Alum Dart is a good overall piece by being lighter than the Stel Head and is also allowed Try-y headers when Steel Heads are not. Overall the Wmt Spec is the best piece for handling and its not too shabby on power.
    Now that assumes these motors are being policed, but truth is only a Sealed Wmt Spec is policed and all the other combos are wild wild west, alot of mix matching rule books is going on. The Dart Alum heads are not techable, you have to buy them from MRS but only person that can deem them illegal is Jack Bateman, their are no port measurements or dimensions to tech a set of heads against. The steelhead combo still has alot of 13.5 compression guys out there running because nobody is checking them.
    Only series that checks compression and cubic in was the MRS, Stafford, Tri Track and Thompson opens all don’t care, nobody is gonna pull heads off a motor, only thing anybody looks at is Carbs and thats only top 3-5 after the feature, when you have 35-50 cars show up and guys are gonna be going home you better believe illegal carbs are on, illegal fuel is in, and any other qualifying odd improvers are being used in heats consis bmain. Once you are in you can decide to play by rules or hope you don’t get in tech. As I write this I can’t think of a single Open DQ ever?”

  37. Now we’re cooking with not one but two guys that actually know about engines.
    Never would have thought that the Riverhead mods would be mostly specs. On such a short track. A limited core of mid teens and buying the Yates motors.
    18 degree being leftovers is a little misleading isn’t it. Mostly we’re talking about heads, blocks and perhaps the crank. Rods, pistons, cam, valves, springs, studs and more new and all line bored, decked, surfaced, valve job like a brand new motor. It is a new motor. In the old days the 2.02 heads were tough to get and freshened forever. Bet a lot of them are in classic cars and hot rods now.
    Probably the biggest tidbit we got was the rules change and how it affects the various teams. We don’t know what they’re using this year but we know what that had last year. If they have a substantial drop off in performance like Nocella we’ll have a clue why. If for some reason specs start popping up more in open races we’ll know the reason for that as well.
    Spec pound for pound the best. Being mostly aluminum no surprise there. Maybe it is the best but in the open market competing against the other variations it’s failed based on numbers. Of the teams listed above there isn’t one non NWMT team that has chosen to run the spec for power.
    Take guess. In all of what we can say is Northeast modified racing how many teams are out there and how money engines in total used? Impossible to say but it’s a lot.
    18 degrees not the pick of the litter aye. Last year in the Thompson open the 7ny won by 1.9 seconds with an 18 degree. Perhaps all in that category aren’t created the same.

  38. Doug,

    This year is going to be a very telling year on the open circuit, way more Spec Engine cars will be in the field than prior years and with better drivers..

    Dowling,Swanson,Pastriak,Silk,Mckenedy,Rameau, Santos and Im sure I’m forgetting more, are all now Spec based teams headed to Opens, not to mention the Wmt teams that may double dipp at Thompson.

    Some on here believe the Spec program is dying, I believe in the opposite it’s actually growing now and branching out of its base Wmt Teams.

    Tri Track, MRS, ROC all at first were not allowing it to run, now all 3 do. With Thompson going Open racing and with down South having the Smart Tour all Spec friendly we are just now starting to see the 2nd hand Spec Market take shape with used Spec Motors becoming more available and affordable to non Wmt teams.

    Just my opinion, Stafford is the Damm preventing the flood from happening

  39. I know I look forward to your perspective and inside knowledge Rich even if I do not agree with your view on the specs success up to this point.
    I don’t know who will run what this year but we’ll see. Dowling and Dodge’s 9ct are running Stafford and have a built engine. Pasteryak, Swanson and the 7ny as well. Santos with Tinio or Sapienza definitely spec all the way.
    Your take is Stafford is a laggard. I’m so biased my view isn’t worth spit on their decision but I will be looking to see if there is an erosion in their car counts for the opens to see if you’re right.
    Will we see more spec’s in Tri Track as the result of the rules changes you noted we’ll see.
    I know I’ll be riveted to Rocco’s performance with that steel head deal to see if there is any change in performance or if they change their approach altogether. Bonsignor in Jimmy Paige’s car with that 21 degree deal as well.
    Thanks again!!!

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