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Dwarf Car

Special thanks to Jason Politte, driver and owner of the Politte Racing Dwarf Car

 

Q. Please describe your race team as it currently exists.

A. We're a front runner who could always use more resources. Last year we were able to capture our first two wins and ran as high as third in the points before we had some engine problems. Ultimately fell back to sixth in the points. This year, we were always up front but ended up having problems finishing races while trying to get our new engine worked out. Best finish was third this year.

Q. What is your series sanctioning/licensing organization, e.g., NASCAR, SCCA, USAC, etc. and their address and phone number of the organization:

A: Arkansas Dwarf Car Racing Association, P.O. Box 598, Sheridan, AR. 72150 (870) 942-3212

Q. Name of Class?

A. Dwarf Cars

Q. Brief description of the class: Is it a spec class? Spirit and intent of the class, etc.?

A. The Dwarf Cars originated out of Arizona, but their popularity quickly spread to the rest of the country as well. The class is not a spec class, and it's intent is to help keep racing somewhat low cost. The cars are 5/8's scale and modeled after the old NASCAR modifieds. It's a fun and competitive class that, in this area, primarily races on 1/4 mile clay ovals with a couple of shows at the 3/8's and 1/2 miles clay tracks every year.

Q. How many races do you run per year? How many races does the series offer?

A. We only got to run about 9 races this year, but the A.D.C.R.A usually races every weekend from March until October. Approximately 30 races.

Q. Is the series national, regional or local?

A. The series is local to Arkansas, but we get a few from TN. that run with us on occasion.

Q. Some of the tracks where the series runs?

A. West Plains, MO., Tri state speedway: Fort Smith, AR., I-30 Speedway: Little Rock, AR., Beebe Speedway: Beebe, AR., Independence Speedway: Batesville, AR., Thunder Valley Speedway: Fayetteville, AR.

Q. Is driver licensing necessary to compete? If so, through what sanctioning body? What is involved in getting such a license, and are there different levels of licensure?

A. No, but to run on a regular basis, and for points, with the association, a ADCRA competition license must be had. Pay the membership fee, and have the car tech inspected. Only one level of licensure.

Q. Other fees (excluding entry) necessary to compete:

A. At the big shows, sometimes, there'll be a Car entry fee.

Q. What is the race format? Nightly, weekend, etc.

A: Race mostly on Saturday nights, but every once in a while, there'll be a Friday night race also.

For this next question, think back to when you were first looking into the series, and apply what you know now. With these answers, you're trying help those new to the class and give them an idea of what a car will cost them.

Q. What is the cost of the car, complete and ready to race, without spares:

A. For a good, entry level, get your feet wet and learn the class- you'll pay about $2,000-$3,000 . To run and finish in the upper 50% of the class with reliable equipment- about $3,500-4,500. And your chances to win are good if you drive it right will cost you about $6,000-$7,000

Q. Where can someone find a car like the one you describe?

A. Classifieds in the local paper, and Racer's auctions. We have one every year in Little Rock, AR. at the Expo Center.

Q. What about engine costs; cost of new motor, cost of good used motor, cost of rebuilding and freshening, average cost of good motor maintenance between races, little extras that you might want to add, do you need another engine at the ready or can you race with one, etc.?

A. A brand new motor would probably cost around $5000, but I've never priced one. Our association rules state that the motor must be two yrs. old before being legal to run, so we don't see too many new motors in these cars. A good used motor can be found at a cost from anywhere between $2,000-3,000. Regular motor maintenance includes changing the oil and spark plugs at regular intervals which costs around $35. Extras are a bigger radiator if it's a water-cooled engine, and a bigger oil cooler if it's an air cooled engine. Go with both if it uses oil and water for cooling. Only one engine is needed to go racing, but having a spare is nice.

Q. Now chassis cost: How about a plain chassis without wheels and tires; cost of roller, little extras that you might want to add; what extra parts do you have to keep on hand for a night/weekend of racing, etc.?

A. A bare chassis will run from $1,600 to $1,900, depending on who builds it. For a roller, the price goes up to around $3,000 to $4,000. For the extras, go with good equipment, such as coil over, adjustable shocks, and it's always nice to be able to run aluminum wheels instead of steel. It's always a good idea, to have extra heim joints, tie rods, axles, and wheels.

Q. Wheel and tire cost: cost of wheels, cost of tires, cost of different types of tires, if applicable (rain, dirt, asphalt, etc.), how often would you replace?, what parts do you have to keep on hand for a night/weekend of racing, etc.

A. One can pick up steel wheels for these cars at about $30-40 a piece, but the optimum is to run aluminum wheels. We run Hoosier dirt stocker tires with a durometered compound of 50 when cold. They go for about $80 a tire. Race recaps from Marsh Racing Tires can be bought for around $50 a tire, but they're not as consistent on the track. Tires can be run a whole season or more, depending on your budget and luck.

Q. Cost of other essential equipment: Jacks, chassis and/or alignment tools, engine tools and testing equipment, special trailer needs, etc.?

A. A regular hydraulic roller jack that is bought from any auto. store for about $30, can be used. Ideally, it's nice to have a shop jack on hand, since it's quicker and easier. For a cheaper one, look on spending around $80-100. Hydraulic frame straightening kits are also nice to have. Look to spend anywhere from $200-500 for one of those. As far as the trailer goes, some guys like to use a big enclosed trailer, but it's not necessary. We just use an open trailer with two runners for the wheels to go up, and it's a little longer than the car itself. Perfectly suited for a dwarf car, and it's light and easy to pull.

Q. Average cost to prepare car between races?

A. Nothing except fuel and labor, if nothing happened to the car the weekend before. The labor includes going over everything on the car to make sure it's in good working order.

Q. Other racing costs: Entry fees per race, costs related to practice dates; series entry fees, sanctioning body fees, membership fees, etc.?

A. Entry fees at area tracks are around $18 per person, and play day's cost $5 per person to get into the pits. A.D.C.R.A. membership fees are $25.

Q. As an estimate, how much would you say it costs you to race for an entire season?

A. This season has been quite a bit more costly for us than the norm. On average though, I would say around $1,500-2,000.

Q. Publications specific to the sport (perhaps published by the sanctioning body), publications you recommend for someone getting into the sport, your type of racing, where someone can acquire the rule book, etc.?

A. Final Lap magazine has a publication that can be ordered and also found on the net at http://www.finallap.com They have articles on all motorcycle powered racecars. I have the national rules posted on my web page, but all local associations usually have their own set of rules, so it's best to get in contact with somebody from the area.

Q. General recommendations for anyone getting interested in driving in your series, if an advanced series, where to begin the climb up the ladder to your level (perhaps the exact steps to take and the timeline), should they go to races, who can they talk to, etc.?

A. Anybody that's interested in getting into dwarf cars needs to go to pits during the races and talk to a few of the people that race them. Everybody will most likely be more than happy to help somebody out and grateful to see interest in the dwarf cars. I've never seen more than one class of dwarf cars so everybody gets lumped in together. The best thing to do is buy a used car first and learn about the racecars with that car. Then, once one feels confident that they know how to work on these cars and set them up, they can move up to a better and faster car.

Q. Miscellaneous: Do you need crew or can you race on your own, general temperament of the racing atmosphere, i.e., highly competitive and stressful or helpful and encouraging?

A. No crew is needed, but it's nice to have at least one person there to help with loading and unloading the car and the various other things that need to be done between heat and feature races. The atmosphere at most race tracks is always competitive, but at the same time most of the drivers will go out of their way to help someone get back in the race.

Q. Finally...To help those who might begin to pursue getting involved in your series, please complete this sentence as it relates to your series and your competition experience: "If I knew then what I know now, I would have..."

A. "...started racing when I was younger.

 

 

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Last modified: March 08, 2000