With the CARS Tour and the ASA Series at North Wilkesboro last night, it has once again introduced many NASCAR fans to late models. But, what exactly are they, and where have they come from? Luckily, S1apSh0es went ahead and answered that question for us with the answer to: What exactly is a late model?
The Beginning and the Basics
What is a late model? Well, S1apSh0es explains them as the latest model of cars on the street. The first edition of late model racing was the original NASCAR Strictly Stock Series. However, modern NASCAR Cup Series cars do not reflect the late model stock cars that are in use around short tracks across the country.
S1apSh0es decides to focus on the late model stock cars used at short tracks across the country. As he notes, this type of racing began around the time NASCAR started because track owners needed more races than just NASCAR to make money. The races would be almost identical rule sets to NASCAR, and some NASCAR stars of the day would even show up to these weekly races.
S1apSh0es says that the rule sets eventually began to change as time went on and cars became more expensive. Racers at weekly short tracks would take new car bodies and hang them on older chassis. Eventually, chassis became purpose built.
S1apSh0es says that the star of the asphalt division during these days was the late Dick Trickle. Who would enter pretty much every race he could and won a lot, including 67 features in 1972.
Simply put, that is incredible to win 67 features in one year. That’s more than one feature per week. Imagine how many trophies he had in his house when he was winning all of these races?
However, asphalt late models were becoming expensive. S1apSh0es talks next about Dickie Gore, who helped create the late models we see today.
The Late Models of Today
S1apSh0es says that Gore went on to meet with drivers to come up with a new rules set. The result was using as many stock parts as they could, creating the late model stock. The rules set was eventually adopted by NASCAR as well.
However, S1apSh0es points out that some guys wanted to keep innovating, and, as a result, they created the super late model. This leaves late model stock cars with the current three major divisions, which S1apSh0es goes on to explain.
The first being the limited late models which ran scuff tires and a smaller carburetor. The late model stocks are the same body wise, but they run fresh tires and a larger carburetor. The super late models which have a slightly different body, 50 more horsepower, and a straight rail chassis offsetting the body to the left side amongst other things.
Some of the other late model divisions S1apSh0es points out are the outlaw late models, which rules are a bit freer. However, he does point out that the body must constitute four pieces of sheet metal. He also shows off the winged outlaw which basically puts a giant billboard on the top of the car.
Yes that is a real race car. That is indeed quite a sight, but it does look like something out of a race car Frankenstein lab.
S1apSh0es also shows off some of the dirt late models as well. However, he does not go into major detail on them. Those cars are out there, and they are indeed some pretty interesting cars to watch.
According to S1apSh0es, the sanctioning body for these late models is the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series. There are also some smaller divisions that run late models as well including the CARS Tour and the Arca Super Series.
There really is something for everybody when it comes to late models. And S1apSh0es does a great job of painting the history of all of them. If you want to watch one of these divisions in person, chances are there is a place where they are racing near your home.
This is also where many NASCAR stars get their start as well. There are also guys who make entire careers out of this type of racing. Either way, this is a division worth checking out, and even current NASCAR stars enjoy racing here from time to time.