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March 2006 - MMRA Newsletter

Hello Racers!

Weekly paved short track racing in the United States is struggling.  Many like to blame televised NASCAR racing but I believe one of the main reasons is the cost of racing has risen exponentially over the years, while purses have stayed the same or declined.  Put simply - not as many people can afford to race.

In years past, this wasn't as big of an issue for MMRA.  Our minicup racecars were (and still are) very inexpensive to race.  Now, as we have brought Baby Grand racecars into our program, and established our Touring Series, we have placed far greater emphasis on lowering the cost of racing.  Our schedule this year reflects our efforts - by grouping more events in fewer weekends, we are reducing travel costs for all our racers.

For Baby Grand racers, we have worked with the manufacturer to reduce costs in several ways.  The new 2006 Hoosier tires will last just as long as the old style Goodyears, while saving $80/set.  Similarly, the new Aero Wheels save $20/set over the old style Bassett wheels.  Even the new bodies offer replacement noses and tails for only $159 - far less than the cost of repairing the old style bodies at a body shop.

There is one area that I have been thinking about that may offer more cost saving potential.  In Baby Grands, the most expensive part on the car is the engine.  Furthermore, when one blows, it often costs not only that competitor, but also possibly the ones behind him on the track.  This was the case in Florida,  where one car blew a motor in practice, and then two more had bad crashes after hitting the oil.  In short, if there was a way to increase engine life, and reduce engine failures, it could offer great cost savings to the racers.

Apparently, we are not alone in our thoughts on this topic.  I was reading an article on page 28 of the March 1, 2006 National Speed Sport newspaper about a mandatory ignition system in the ARCA Re-Max series.  In ARCA, all cars are required to use a Mallory ignition that limits the RPM of the engine to 8800.  In summary, the article describes how lowering the max RPM increased engine life, and brought the competition closer together.  ARCA has been very happy with the program and is planning to continue it.

NASCAR has a different rule designed to produce the same result - they have put a new gear rule in place that effectively limits the RPM for the Nextel Cup Series.

Finally, the ASA Late Model Series has also come out with a mandatory ignition rule this year.  They have partnered with Crane Cams who produce a spec ignition box used by all competitors which limits RPM to 6200.  The motivation was lowering costs, and ensuring close competition.

In short, many leading "big car" sanctioning bodies have decided that lowering RPM's a bit from their max potential does in fact save the racers money, and make for better racing on the track.  If it makes sense for series where the teams have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to spend - would it make sense for our series? 

If you have some feedback on this topic, or other ways we should consider to lower the cost of MMRA racing, please let us know.  Send your e-mails to

Thank you for your support and best wishes for a great 2006 season!

Pete Neimeier
President, MMRA