Stock Racing… on a Budget?
The latest CompetitionPlus.com project vehicle begins and it will be on a shoe-string budget
By Bobby Bennett, Photos by Michael Beard
sounds nearly impossible, but Team Duck Tape has undertaken the task of
racing IHRA Super Stock on a shoestring budget. Matt Zapp and Michael
Beard intend to enter the arena of big dollar class racing and will
document the journey via a series of articles found at CompetitionPlus.com.
and Beard are business partners at Staging Light, LLC, located in Madison,
Ohio. Their small shop concentrates on the Motorsports industry, providing
custom graphic design work, vinyl lettering and marketing promotion. The
two friends currently race Hurst Hot Rod (10.90) and Hays Stock. In fact,
Beard is the 2003 IHRA Stock World Champion.
backing for their racing team comes from Henkel Consumer Adhesives,
sellers of Duck Brand Duct Tape and Loctite products. An army of product
companies and performance specialists assist the team. To complete this
monumental challenge, every contact has been tapped for their expertise
Duck Tape’s roots began at the local level where both men started their
racing careers as bracket competitors. As is the case with many racers,
Zapp and Beard desired to run on a larger scale. So they both entered the
world of traveling IHRA sportsman competitors. Now the boys are attempting
to expand their team to include a third entry, a class legal Super
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Super Stock an ultra-expensive class?
financial commitment to do build a record setting entry is often quite
steep. Much research has been done to discover what is needed versus what
is wanted in this project. There are many well-built and fast class cars
available across the country. Some come from big name companies and others
from dedicated racers who perfect a particular combination.
and Beard intend to take a completely different approach to the category.
Safety and reliability are the common denominators that will be used to
build a “budget” version of an IHRA Super Stocker.
is available and what can it ‘fit’ into?
this case, the guys at Staging Light Graphics had a shop truck. The 1995
Chevrolet S-10 was a clean regular pickup that was intended for deliveries
and shop duties. The truck had already been cleaned, lowered, and painted.
Staging Light made and installed the custom gunmetal gray SS stripes for
the final aesthetic touch. After
the 176,000 mile 4.3 stock combination began to have trouble, mental
wheels started to turn. The truck was clean and had a beautiful interior.
Would it make for a good racecar?
looking at the class indexes and national records, Zapp and Beard began
looking for regular competitors that were running a truck in Super Stock.
There are a handful of fast trucks in the country and some tough drivers
wheeling them around.
the fact that the S-10 was paid for and available, the verdict from the
jury was an astounding ‘Yes’. So the team began to look for parts that
were lying around and as well as what was available on the internet.
a small block and a powerglide transmission from Abruzzi Racing
Transmissions, it was determined that the truck would be a strong GT/TB or
GT/TC candidate. It may not
end up being a record-setter, but the goal is to get the truck to run
under the index anywhere, and end up in the winner’s circle, all without
breaking the bank.
it off or take it out?
truck disassembly party occurred on Friday night of Labor Day weekend. A
complete, running pick-up truck rolled into the garage at 6:30 PM. By 1:00
AM that same night, very little of the truck remained.
entire driveline was pulled and sitting on the ground. The bed was taken
off and the stock fuel system removed. The brake lines and drive shaft
were also removed. Up front all of the computer control devices, ABS and
air conditioning components were taken out of the engine compartment.
the truck rolled back out of the shop, it was substantially lighter and
ready to head to the chassis shop.
chassis changes are permitted and what is necessary?
Stock entries must retain a stock style appearance but can utilize a
‘big tire’ in the rear. An alternate rear end housing is permissible
and aftermarket suspension is encouraged.
In the GT categories, newer vehicles can be outfitted with older
engines that were not originally available in a particular car or truck.
quick hunt online proved that S & W Chassis in Pennsylvania had a rear
back-half kit available. The kit was too inexpensive to pass up as it came
fully welded with a 4-link suspension and a 9” Ford housing. The entire
rear kit was ordered for under $2,000.
roll cage is mandatory for safety. It also serves a practical purpose by
stiffening the truck enough to allow the geometry of a pick-up to work.
The team turned to a local chassis expert, Jason Davis.
Racecars, of Madison, Ohio, took delivery of the truck the first weekend
in September. Within three weeks the truck was completely back-halfed and
a cage was installed. The truck was test-fit with a mock engine and
transmission to fabricate the mounts for each. A set of Hedman fenderwell
exit headers was fit up. The transmission cross member and safety hoop was
constructed. Small items such as mounting the rear bumper and the shifter
were also finished in that short period of time.
21 days and about $5,500 later, the little shop truck had been transformed
into a near roller. What was missing could be found at less than list
truck still lacked the necessary components to roll out of the shop at
Davis Racecars. A set of used 9” gears were purchase for $50 and then a
nodular section was bought second hand. Moser Engineering was tapped for
the axle and bearing kit because they sell a quality product and they are
the sponsor of the Moser Axle Mania shootout in IHRA!
IHRA racer Randy Smith, of Levittsburg, Ohio, finished the rearend as a
courtesy to the team. With a completed rear housing, there still wasn’t
anything which to set the truck down on the ground.
had a leftover set of wheels from his bracket dragster. Although the wheel
is too large for optimal performance, it will get the job done. Mickey
Thompson tires has been an outstanding supporter of Team Duck Tape, so the
set of 15” x 15” Weld Wheels were selected for the task and then
wrapped with a set of Mickey Thompson 14” x 32” tires.
team converted used parts into used parts, by selling many of the new or
‘gently used’ stock components that came out of the truck, like the
engine, transmission, exhaust, wheels, tires, and more.
is it now?
truck is now a true rolling chassis. Engine compartment detail and
preparation is next on the list of items to complete. The mild steel roll
cage needs prepped and painted as well.
Once the additional paintwork is finished, the interior will need reinstalled. For now, the truck sits quietly in the shop awaiting the next major attack by Team Duck Tape.
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