Easy Steps to build a Pony Stock
Information Contributed by : Torg Motorsports
Find a suitable car. It's best to purchase your first racecar already put together. But if you decide to build one, here are some tips. Watch the races and see what the fast guys are driving, chances are they have already researched different makes and models and are racing a style of car for a reason. Experience suggests GM and Chrysler are the best cars to race with because the front suspension of both of them is adjustable for camber and the entire front suspension is mounted on a cradle. Being on a cradle allows you to replace it if you bend it.
You should look to spend a small amount of money on a car because you will be removing everything out of it. Look for a car that has been taken care of and not rusted out. A rusted car will take a lot of repair before being able to weld in a roll cage. Be sure to look under the car and check for rust. Most cars have some rust, you just don't want one that has rust HOLES.
Ok so now you picked out a car. Remove the entire interior, you don't want to leave anything that could catch fire when you start welding. If you want to leave the dash and shifter that's OK. Also remove all glass, the windshield is optional.
As for the roll cage. Now is the time to find some help. If you're not an experienced welder you should find one. After all your very life may depend on how well the roll cage is welded together. There are many local people that would be willing to install a cage for you. Check with the race track as many of the racers are willing to do this. When finding a company to install the cage ask if they will be bending the tube or buying a kit form. Bending the tube will result in a better fit, but buying a kit is sometimes cheaper.
Once the car has a cage you can purchase a racing seat and safety equipment. The rules will only allow aluminum seats. Normally there are lots of used seats available you just have to look around. Be sure to buy a seat that fits snug and holds you well. Snug is better. When mounting the seat be sure to use at least 3/8 bolts, grade 8. A little work here will pay off really well. You should use four to six bolts to hold the seat down.
The rules call for a five point, three inch wide belt. RCI and G force make some really good belt systems that are reasonably priced. Don't buy used belts, as all belts are dated and must be replaced every 3 years.
Do a tune up on the engine and check the compression. The compression should be 125+ psi and no cylinder should be less than 100psi. Change all the fluids; drain the antifreeze replace with water. Replace the engine accessory drive belts. It is also a good idea to change the oil and filter in the transmission.
You should run a fuel cell, I know some tracks say you don't need one but it's not really that costly and will help you out in the long run. Running a stock tank is not a good idea because you will have to keep a lot more fuel in the car. Stock gas tanks are not designed to keep the fuel in place during a night of racing. There is no foam in the stock tank and the fuel will slosh around making it hard to keep the right fuel pressure to the engine. If you run a cell you can keep less fuel in the car and the foam will keep it in check to allow the fuel pump to keep a good supply of fuel to the engine. Less fuel equals less weight in the car. When running a fuel cell you will need to run an aftermarket fuel pump. Most of the racers are using the frame mounted fuel pump from an 88-91 Ford truck. Just ask the parts store for a frame mounted external fuel pump for an 89 F-150. The pump runs on 12volts and will pump plenty of fuel.
Tires are the most important part of any car! Check with the other race teams and find out what tire they are running. Be sure to check and see what's legal. Good tires will make the difference in the way your car handles. Buy a good air pressure gauge, tire pressure is the biggest adjustment you will be making. You should also buy a tire pyrometer. It's a temp gauge that you will use to see how well the tires are working. Tires will be the most used/checked thing on your racecar. You will need to keep a lot of information on your tires. Every time you get to the track check your air pressure before every race and every practice. The air pressure in your tires will change with heat. About 1psi for every 7deg F. You will need to make adjustments that allow for this to happen and not upset the car. So for Example your tires are running at 140°F and it's 80°F outside. (Ex: 140°- 80° = 60° / 7 = 8.5psi)
You will need to reduce the air in your tires by 8.5psi to allow the right pressure when racing. Again tires are the most important part of the car. You need to learn as much about them as you can. Keep really good notes and you will have something to fall back on when the track changes.
Toe and Camber setting
Toe is the angle that the tires have toward each other. Look down at your feet. If your toes point toward each other then you are toed in. If your toes point away from each other then you are toed out. The same goes for your racecar. If your tires are pointed toward each other then they are toed in and visa versa. You will need to set the toe, and camber on your car every week. Always check it after any contact with other cars. You should set the front toe to 0" to 1/16" OUT. On some cars the rear toe is adjustable, be sure to set it too. In the rear you should run 0" to 1/16" IN. Be sure to check your toe often and learn to adjust it.
Camber is the angle at which the top of the tire is tilted in or out. If you are turning left all the time you should tip the RF tire in at the top. With camber in it allows the tire to stay in contact with the road surface longer and turn the car better. More camber is not always better. This is where you need to check the tires after you run and move the camber and toe until the tires are the same temperature all the way across.
In a front wheel drive car most of them are running
2deg out on the left front
7deg in on the right front
1.5 In on the right rear
0 on the left rear.
Ok, so now you have a car with a roll cage, seat, belts, fuel cell and the suspension has been set. Buy a good fire suit and a "S" Rated Helmet and Go Racing.
Note: To learn more about racing in the Pony or FWD Pure Stock divisions, you can join our Mentorship Program by contacting the office at (517) 244-1042.