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Being just a fan of racing I am having a hard time understanding why there are both a BB big block and 358 class.

I have read on here about the costs over a season being somewhat similar (again, no idea, just what I have read on here in a few posts).

When I see them running together in the same race and both being somewhat equal in speeds, neither dominating the other, I wonder why DIRT doesn't just pick one, or have a vote by all those involved and have that be the top class.

I would have to assume that this would make for better car counts at the big events, as well as maybe some more at weekly shows.

I watched O'brien win his qualifer last year at the Outlaw 200 in his small block and do pretty well in the feature too. 

 

To me, and I assume a lot of other race fans they look the same, sound real similar and if not knowing ahead of time, I probably wouldn't know the difference, and really I don't care as long as the racing is close and the big names are there, Hearn, Gypsum cars, O'briens, Johnsons, Bicknell, Tmac, Friesen, Sheppard, Godown, Phelps.... etc..

 

 

Can someone please enlighten me as to why this hasn't been done or what's stopping it?

 

Thanks in advance

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A  DIRTCar legal SB can compete with a BB on the dry-slick surfaces in central NY, but not when you have a surface with any grip. I believe some of the more open small blocks can hold their own against the BB even on a nice tacky surface.

 

The original SB class was the 320 mods. The 358's were introduced as a sportsman class in the 80's and the 320's were eventually phased out. Then the 358 sportsman evolved into 358 modifieds and a new sportsman class was introduced. Then GM convinced the sanctioning body that open sportsman were too expensive and a crate class was the answer. So now we have 4 classes that look alike, BB mods, SB mods, open sportsman, and crate sportsman (and for those afraid to jump in with both feet, novice crate sportsman, but they use the same rules so we won't count them as a separate class). If only the 320's were still around!

 

There should be only 2 classes and they should not look the same -

 

1 - Modifieds (BB & open SB running together)

 

2 - Sportsman Coupes (from Bear Ridge)

 

 

As always, JMO.

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A  DIRTCar legal SB can compete with a BB on the dry-slick surfaces in central NY, but not when you have a surface with any grip. I believe some of the more open small blocks can hold their own against the BB even on a nice tacky surface.

 

The original SB class was the 320 mods. The 358's were introduced as a sportsman class in the 80's and the 320's were eventually phased out. Then the 358 sportsman evolved into 358 modifieds and a new sportsman class was introduced. Then GM convinced the sanctioning body that open sportsman were too expensive and a crate class was the answer. So now we have 4 classes that look alike, BB mods, SB mods, open sportsman, and crate sportsman (and for those afraid to jump in with both feet, novice crate sportsman, but they use the same rules so we won't count them as a separate class). If only the 320's were still around!

 

There should be only 2 classes and they should not look the same -

 

1 - Modifieds (BB & open SB running together)

 

2 - Sportsman Coupes (from Bear Ridge)

 

 

As always, JMO.

 

Track size plays a big role as well.  3/8 or smaller a good SB can keep up.  1/2 mile or larger, unless it is a big SB usually will get run over. 

 

I agree the 320 was a good class.  You could also run a steel headed 355 ported, with flat tops in the mid 80's, then they phased out the 320's.

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If they did run just sb and got rid of bb or just bb and got rid of sb it would probably be cheaper for the teams to stick with 1 class and car counts would be bigger. jmo

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I think there is still aneed for both classes.  The Canandian tracks and the others that are SB only need a tour as well.......on a level playing field.  Like if you were from Brockville and they have a tour race at Can-Am on a heavy track - why bother to go?  Right?     

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I would love to see DIRT let alcohol in for the SB motors. But they won't. Cuz......well.....they are stubborn. A SB on alcohol would be on even footing with BBs. 100 lap events are where
alky motors run into trouble. Fuel mileage.....
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2 different cost structures as well.  Higher cost to put together a BB, but usually able to go more laps before needing to be freshened…and vice versa on the SB, less cost upfront but needs to be freshened more often (less laps).  

 

And I don't agree on track size as a determining factor, per an earlier post.  When Fonda slicks up, a good small block can easily win.  It is more about track conditions and set up.

 

Lastly, I only have experience running small blocks, but know that car set-up and driving styles are different…and sometimes how the car is designed and built as well.

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So of the debate is so close iI don't see why it matters if the track is heavy or slick, 3/8's or 1/2, Canadian or NY or Jersey...
I am not asking why or where one is better, I am asking why there needs to be two?
If they settled on one, there wouldn't be the debate about which is better or which has the advantage here or there. the racers would all be on the same platform and able to compete at all the events.
You could assume that the level of good cars/owners at the series races would improve a lot with both the top sb teams combined with the top bb teams.
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So of the debate is so close iI don't see why it matters if the track is heavy or slick, 3/8's or 1/2, Canadian or NY or Jersey...
I am not asking why or where one is better, I am asking why there needs to be two?
If they settled on one, there wouldn't be the debate about which is better or which has the advantage here or there. the racers would all be on the same platform and able to compete at all the events.
You could assume that the level of good cars/owners at the series races would improve a lot with both the top sb teams combined with the top bb teams.

 

Very good questions/line of thinking "leakin", and you are right, there probably should be one standard set of rules (that's another very long debate that has been gone over a couple million times at this point).  

 

Currently however, car owners and teams have a lot of money invested in what ever equipment/motors they are running now.  The cost to make a wholesale change one way of the other is significant, and I do not see it happening unless it is over an extended period of time.  Case in point…we have 2 small block motors and 2 cars built for small block racing, which equates to $70K+ of inventory when considering motors and frames, and some parts pertinent to small block motors.

 

Another one of these things where logic does not always prevail!

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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block. 

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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block. 

 

 A big small block is not legal . However that doesn't mean drivers don't run them.  The hot new gossip is that someone has added some very expensive light weight parts to the rotating portion of his big block. Time will tell if this proves true.

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things may very well be moving towards small blocks only over time... with that being the standard in PA and New Egypt switching last year.

sure, things would be simpler for a single class but then there wouldnt be as much money to go around at tour events.  with one tour there can only be one winner and one winner's payout.  with two tours there are two winners and 2 winner's payouts.  having massive car counts is good for fans and promoters but it's actually self defeating over time for the drivers.  When you have 70 cars at an event that means that around 40 guys are going to go home with no money at the end of the night. When you split that into 2 series and get 35 - 40 cars in attendance far fewer guys have to go home with no money.

this was discussed by Brain Carter at the driver's meeting at Charlotte last year... I believe they had 49 cars there and he actually commented that it was great to see that interest but that they didnt really like sending so many guys home with no money.  this is also why they dont want more than around 15 drivers following the series races.  the point fund at the end of the year only pays the top 15.  I know most people will have difficulty seeing that sort of logic but that is how it is.

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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block. 

 

as Outlaw pointed out, big small blocks are illegal.

in a big block series race, guys can run small blocks at the usual weights listed in the rules.  up until this year they were all allowed to weight less than 2500 but over this past off season the rules were changed to add 50 lbs to each of the small block designations so that small blocks with ported heads now have to weigh 2500 and spec heads have to weigh 2450 ( that is my understanding - someone correct me if that is wrong).  Much of the motivation in that is because BB series drivers who travel a lot and invest a lot of money in following the series are sick of getting beat by local SB drivers partly because of the weight advantage they have enjoyed in the past.

my understanding of why there came to be 2 separate classes was because of the initial upfront cost.  big block engines can cost double what small blocks do.  with different areas around the DIRT circuit being wealthier than others it emerged that creating a small block class would be helpful in keeping racing going in the less affluent areas... which was all the Canadian tracks, Ransomville and Mohawk.  And now with 20+ years under that formula things have gotten engrained that way and for the most part it works well.

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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block. 

 

as Outlaw pointed out, big small blocks are illegal.

in a big block series race, guys can run small blocks at the usual weights listed in the rules.  up until this year they were all allowed to weight less than 2500 but over this past off season the rules were changed to add 50 lbs to each of the small block designations so that small blocks with ported heads now have to weigh 2500 and spec heads have to weigh 2450 ( that is my understanding - someone correct me if that is wrong).  Much of the motivation in that is because BB series drivers who travel a lot and invest a lot of money in following the series are sick of getting beat by local SB drivers partly because of the weight advantage they have enjoyed in the past.

my understanding of why there came to be 2 separate classes was because of the initial upfront cost.  big block engines can cost double what small blocks do.  with different areas around the DIRT circuit being wealthier than others it emerged that creating a small block class would be helpful in keeping racing going in the less affluent areas... which was all the Canadian tracks, Ransomville and Mohawk.  And now with 20+ years under that formula things have gotten engrained that way and for the most part it works well.

 

 

 That is correct.  When it was 320's at Weedsport in 1983.  The only way the 320's could run with the BB is if the BB field was not filled, which was not very often.  I cannot remember how they decided who could run.

 

We ran in a couple.

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They need to get with the times on the rules and such. Look at Late Models and Sprint cars. Start allowing aluminum blocks. Maybe start moving towards a throttle body fuel injection system. There should only be one class and let them all run together. No matter if its a big block, small block, big small block, aluminum block or heads.

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I see the point about having too many in one class and some going home with nothing, but at the same time there aren't that many drivers that follow all the series races. I still think the majority of the ones to make each race would be the ones that are central to the tracks with the least amount of miles to travel. I doubt you would see Quebec drivers heading to Jersey, or Southern  NY or vise versa. 

As far as the Worlds being over loaded with cars and some going home with nothing, I doubt the series points/money had that much to do with a lot of the driver's decisions to go. Obviously those high in the points were there to race for the points but, the rest of the field I would guess went for various reasons, some for a "racing vacation", some just for one more race.

I do see your point that car counts will increase but I wonder just how drastic an increase it would be?

The elite teams that tour will generally be in the money and the regulars with less of a budget will most likely be left out. I would think on those series nights, the locals are more interested in "racing the best" than the purse. (don't get me wrong, money is still nice to win).

I look at the WOO LM series and how the Crate LM's travel so far, just to get a chance to race the pro's, knowing the chances of them bringing home a good paycheck are next to nil.

 

On a different, but sorta related topic, what wins Brockville wednesday, Big block or 358?

Is there a drivers list anywhere? I would have to assume the regular series BB drivers will be there, anyone know of 358's making the trip?

I will say a BB based on the drivers in them and not the car itself. If Hearn, Tmac, Friesen, Sheppard, Decker etc were in a 358, I would say a 358, which brings it right back to having one class...... apples to apples.

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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block.


A big small block is not legal . However that doesn't mean drivers don't run them. The hot new gossip is that someone has added some very expensive light weight parts to the rotating portion of his big block. Time will tell if this proves true.
what is the point of a big small block being illegal if some competitors still run them?
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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block.


A big small block is not legal . However that doesn't mean drivers don't run them. The hot new gossip is that someone has added some very expensive light weight parts to the rotating portion of his big block. Time will tell if this proves true.
what is the point of a big small block being illegal if some competitors still run them?

 

They're not illegal everywhere, just DIRTcar sanctioned events.  And if anybody is running one at a track racing under DIRTcar rules, they're getting away with it, or the track is looking the other way during weekly competition when they handle their own tech.  Running one at any DIRTcar "series" race would probably earn a DQ if they finished toward the front, like top 5; behind that, it is not likely to be checked.

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Many of the southern tier tracks and ROC allow big small blocks. I believe the Jim Shear 77x that Mahaney drives is a new SB near 800 HP and about 402 CID. That's what I was told, anyways. That motor certainly acts and sounds every bit of that.
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In a D.I.R.T. series big block race do all the cars weigh 2500, Or are there weight breaks for the different styles of small block. motors? Also I've heard about guys running big small blocks how is their minimum weight decided? To differentiate the two divisions how about letting/making the big block series run the big sprint car tires? I know they're more expensive but it might change your thoughts on whether or not you need a big block.


A big small block is not legal . However that doesn't mean drivers don't run them. The hot new gossip is that someone has added some very expensive light weight parts to the rotating portion of his big block. Time will tell if this proves true.
what is the point of a big small block being illegal if some competitors still run them?

 

They're not illegal everywhere, just DIRTcar sanctioned events.  And if anybody is running one at a track racing under DIRTcar rules, they're getting away with it, or the track is looking the other way during weekly competition when they handle their own tech.  Running one at any DIRTcar "series" race would probably earn a DQ if they finished toward the front, like top 5; behind that, it is not likely to be checked.

 

That was my point. I think some of the big small block motors are showing up on weekends at DIRT sanctioned tracks.(don't know this for certain). So what is the sense of even having this rule?

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"That was my point. I think some of the big small block motors are showing up on weekends at DIRT sanctioned tracks.(don't know this for certain). So what is the sense of even having this rule?"

unless you know the specifics of who has been getting away with it and when, I dont believe it's happening. you'd think if the rumours were out there about specific guys doing this that fellow competitors would be asking the tech guys to check for it. or are you suggesting that Dirtcar is intentionally allowing some guys to cheat on engine size? guys have been dq'd and fined for far less.

 

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My favorite days were back when there were 358 small blocks on alcohol and big rubber running against DIRT legal big blocks. The best from a  fan standpoint for me? When the Junkyard Jet beat all the big boys at their own game at 5MP, in what I believe was the last Syracuse qualifier ever held there.

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"That was my point. I think some of the big small block motors are showing up on weekends at DIRT sanctioned tracks.(don't know this for certain). So what is the sense of even having this rule?"

unless you know the specifics of who has been getting away with it and when, I dont believe it's happening. you'd think if the rumours were out there about specific guys doing this that fellow competitors would be asking the tech guys to check for it. or are you suggesting that Dirtcar is intentionally allowing some guys to cheat on engine size? guys have been dq'd and fined for far less.

I was led to believe competitors were running the big small block last season at Albany Saratoga as well as Fonda?(somebody can surely correct me if i am wrong). Why would that change this year?

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