Hot Rod Garage Goes Dirt Track Racing

Hot Rod Garage Goes Dirt Track Racing


Baseball has been called America’s pastime, which is true if you’re into baseball. If you’re into going fast in a car, that pastime is one of two things: drag racing or circle track. Tony and Lucky have done tons of drag racing over the years on Hot Rod Garage, but now they are taking it back to the birthplace of NASCAR: on the dirt oval. The guys bought a 1974 Nova that was built by the previous owner to compete in the Roadrunner Class of circle track racing, but the car still needed a bit of love. Most of the car is a Nova, except for the front clip, which is G-body Monte Carlo and the front third of the frame, which is Chevelle.

Roadrunner is an entry level class of circle track racing so novice racers can get their feet wet. The car the guys bought had a lot of the gruntwork done, with a roll-cage and bash bars already in it, but the engine was blown, and the rearend needed taller gears. To remedy those problems, Tony bought a new/used, rebuilt engine on Craigslist and sent the rearend to a 4×4 shop to have 3.42:1 gears installed. Normally dirt tracks aren’t super long, but because the track they would be racing on is a half-mile loop, the taller gears would keep the revs down and increase top speed.

After consulting the 13-page rulebook, Tony raided the Summit Racing catalogue for a cam, heads, intake, carburetor, and shatter-proof bell housing, all with budget and rule book compliance in mind. A lot of the part numbers include “CT” for circle track, ensuring that the parts they bought would adhere to the rules. A high-volume, baffled oil pan and high-pressure oil pump were installed to keep the engine properly lubricated during high-speed turning.

Tony jumped in the driver’s seat for a night of racing after shaking the car down. There were few gremlins, as expected, but the car got on track and turned some laps. This is the second episode of the Philly edition of Hot Rod Garage, where Tony and Lucky work at Tony’s shop in Pennsylvania, and it’s a good one. Click right here to get to watching!

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