NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

NASCAR Changes Rules In Mid-Stream

– FRIDAY, MAY 23RD, 1980 –


The “Decade of the 80’s” was supposed to bring about some changes that would better the sport of auto racing for both the competitor and fan.

Some changes have helped the sport already, including USAC’s decision to finish all their stock car events under the green flag. Some tracks enacted their own tire rule while yet other facilities have shortened the distance of their regular races and cut down on the number of extra distance events.

Fans have been treated to the prettiest looking and finest field of asphalt Modifieds ever assembled with all the Troyer, Bo-Dyn, Evans, Nu-Style, Lindblad, Flemke, R.G.M., plus various other brands and home-made cars being built.

Taking the Northeast, which consists of New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and all of New England, there have been 54 Modified races on asphalt with 35 different winners and 139 drivers have placed in the top five in those 54 events. What more could a fan ask for as far as competitive racing?

Modified racing is expensive as is Grand National (*Now Cup), late Model Sportsman (*Now Nationwide), Indy Car, Formula One, SuperModified and any other dozen or so divisions. Most car owners have come to the conclusion that this is a high buck class of racing machine and if one can’t afford it, then either he gets out or he drops down a division that meets his pocket book. This doesn’t mean that Modified owners are happy high cost or they wouldn’t mind seeing costs lowered considerably.

About 90 percent of the Mod owners feel that tires are the biggest culprit in high cost while they know the second most expensive item is motors.

The season is only five or six weeks old and everything seems to be running on an even keel with a decent field of cars showing at most speedways… So… What happens?… NASCAR lowers the boom!

Let’s look at what the word NASCAR means, National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The key word in this large sanctioning body’s name is a three letter preposition… The word FOR!… This means the large racing conglomerate is in the business of helping the sport… Or are they?… A technical Bulletin sent out by NASCAR, dated April 25th, stated that four things would have to be changed by May 7th. Those items listed were: 1) Weight, meaning pounds per cubic inch for the big blocks. 2) Rearend tread width and location of left rear wheel. 3) Engine location. 4) Hoods.

The time period alloted gave car owners exactly twelve days to make these changes to once again be legal, and if you consider a couple of days in the mail, the time was even less.

After car owners exploded about the time alloted and why?… The deadline was extended to June 1st… Big deal! Why make these changes at all at this time?… Why add more expense to an already costly product?… Why try to disrupt the division when things seem to be running fairly smooth?

I wish someone would show me how NASCAR is helping the Modified division by making these changes at this time.

Why would they want someone to bolt 200 or so pounds of lead onto their car at a cost of about $200, when that same piece of lead or pieces thereof could become a missile flying off the car if it was involved in an accident running a hundred M.P.H.. I wonder how a fellow driver or yourself, for that matter, would feel if hit by this bolted on lead? Well the driver or yourself probably wouldn’t have to worry about it as we’d most likely be paying our respects. This is the feeling of myself and Shangri-La Speedway promoter, Dale Campfield, who has mostly big blocks running his facility.

Maynard Troyer, Charlie Jarzombek and Bob Polverari voiced their opinions regarding the early season rule changes NASCAR was instituting in 1980. The opinions mirrored what most racing Mods under the banner were saying. Howie Hodge photos.
Maynard Troyer, Charlie Jarzombek and Bob Polverari voiced their opinions regarding the early season rule changes by NASCAR for the Modifieds in 1980. The opinions mirrored what most racing Modifieds under the banner were saying. Howie Hodge photos.

I personally feel that the other three things in the Technical Bulletin are totally unnecessary at this point in time.

Maynard Troyer feels that the changes now are both harsh and unneeded. The rules, as Troyer states, “Is directed at a few guys who run up front and what it does is puts the little guy, who’s been running somewhat competitively right out of the ballgame.” He then said what everyone has been saying right along, “No matter what they do, the same guys are going to win.”

Campfield, who had yet to receive a copy of the Technical Bulletin as of May 12th, and Spencer Speedway promoter, Del Spencer, are both asking why they weren’t questioned before this action was taken… I agree… It is Campfield’s contention that Spencer and himself have done more NASCAR in New York in the last couple of years than anyone else, so why weren’t they asked.

Charlie Jarzombek, former Islip Speedway champion and top runner, feels the changes at this time are too costly and hurts the little guy more than they slow down the front running few the rule seems directed at.

Bob Polverari, who’s returned to Modified racing after a year off, stated, “You don’t make these changes during the season, instead do them after the racing year is over and before the next one begins.” He had some other things to say about NASCAR which were unprintable, but I was in total agreement with him in his reference to the group.

All the people questioned are in agreement on one thing, which is that the Modifieds need a representative in the Northeast that lives in the Northeast. They feel the people in Daytona who are at weekly Grand National events and half of the Late Model races, but are seldom seen in the Northeast for a Modified show, should finad a Northeast representative for the division or just leave the Modifieds alone before they destroy the class.

The one person who most are in total agreement would be the best individual for the job is Islip promoter, Bob O’Rourke. They feel he knows the division as well as anyone if not better. He loves the Mods and is considered fair in making decisions… Good choice!

Troyer stated, “You can’t rule over the Modifieds from behind a desk in Daytona when you know nothing about the division.” He then added, “Most guys get into this division because they want to use their inventive ideas. That’s why they’re called Modifieds.”

So listen up NASCAR, before you ruin a super class of racing, get someone up here who knows what the hell is going on. You can help the division, but not the way you’re leading it.

Most of the people own offset cars or big blocks that I’ve talked to, have stated that they’ll either park their cars or run non-NASCAR sanctioned tracks.

Can Stafford Motor Speedway, Riverside Park, Thompson, New Egypt, Shangri-La, Spencer or Islip afford to lose cars when track like Westboro, Monadnock, Waterford, Claremont, Star, Plainville, Lancaster and Wall are waiting in the wings to gobble up the evicted machines.

Wake up NASCAR!… Before it’s too late or you might be on the outside looking into the Northeast.

Until next time, “See you at your favorite Speedway!”

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