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Midget Chassis / Engine Combinations ... What to Buy ?


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15 replies to this topic

#1
plgray

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Larry has encouraged me to offer my thoughts ... but , hopefully this will attract the attention of those with a far greater depth of knowledge concerning midget chassis and engine combinations than myself or Larry.
But , neverless , I'm sure we will all look forward to Larry's input here !

1- PAVEMENT FULL MIDGET - " What Chassis / Engine Combination would you buy ?" dry.gif
* the question assumes that money is of no concern ...

2- DIRT FULL MIDGET - same question and criteria... huh.gif
_____________________________________________________________________

My initial thought would be a BEAST WIDE BODY / ESSLINGER for Pavement .... and probably a SPIKE / ESSLINGER for Dirt.

Iam referring to the Esslinger XT in both cases. It is my understanding that the ST is a lower cost economy version of the same. Obviously , I haven't researched this further.

Beast and Spike are both located here in Brownsburg , Indiana as was the Stealth Chassis Co. , now out of business. Spike has taken over the remaining inventory of Stealth and is servicing those customer needs. ( ( As a side note , Damion Gardner recently won the Chili Bowl in a Stealth / Esslinger. )

Other engines that seem worthy of consideration are the Ed Pink Ford , Stanton MOPAR and Fontana.

Fontana has recently introduced their latest offering know as the new " High Roller ".

Having owned and driven the Hawk chassis for a year , I am sure I know and understand more about it than the others. I think it is a chassis that you can get a "handle" on after proper adjustments to the front and rear sway bars that allow for lighter spring selections. Like the Beast , the new wide-body Hawk allows for use of a full containment seat. I would buy another Hawk , for pavement , as I do believe that Mike Streicher has created a very nice product in his Hawk Midget.

Our Hawk was powered by the 12 Head ( Chev) Gaerte. Never a problem with this engine ; no mechanical failure in 13 events. Changed the oil & filter , cleaned the nozzles , changed plugs , adjusted the valves ... not much more required ever. Mel Kenyon has the same engine but with the Buick head ... now over 120 races , no rebuild !

For as much as I like the reliability of the Gaerte , I haven't seen the interest in Gaerte from those talking about engines and spending their money. Does it seem that maybe Esslinger is eating their lunch ?
I do know that you can call Gaerte and talk to Earl ! Who owns Esslinger ?

Haven't mentioned Toyota .... How about a Honda .... Charles "Skeet" Bushor of Indianapolis has developed a Honda midget engine based on the S2000 engine. Initial testing was held in '06 , more engineering refinements in '07 ; may possibly see the track this summer here in Indiana. I have been retained as a test driver for this project. Not for sale yet , but Skeet will escrow your money to the first one available !

Your thoughts , please - and , LarryO .... tongue.gif

Paul Gray
www.paulgray28.com



#2
larryo

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tongue.gif Well, Paul we didn't get a lot of response on this subject but we did get a lot of lurkers/lookers...lol!

Well, I'm goin' to start it off. Watch how I vasalate on this subject and go off tangent, which
I'm really good at. Maybe Johnny Murduck will come in and give us some insights. I always
liked Johnny's inputs!

First of all I looked feverishly for an email from a good friend in California for an email he
sent me on the ED Pink Ford, Mopar and such. I don't know, he gave me three different name
brand engines and what he thought of each one. Each one had a certain characteristic.

Of course I lost that email and hopefully he will email it to me again. He frequents the board
but " likes to stay anomynous".

All he said/I remember was there was one engine that "spooled up" in a more linear fashion.
Some others had different characteristics and the pwr band/curves slanted one way or the other..
...ie. more top end or possibly more torque in the 'center?".

Personally my little experience with engines is I like linear ones. My few experiences in a 360
and 410 sprint cars had "Shaver Motors" and they were very linear. As you pushed harder
on the pedal they went up in a nice even fashion. It's really easy to drive a "linear" motor.

1) Looking at the post on the Copper on dirt at Manzy, Ca...I kept seeing these "Mopar" motors
from some very respectable drivers. And from what I have read on Mopar V8's I like what
I see. They seem to be a "over square motors"...ie... big bores and small strokes. Maybe
that will help them rev, like possibly a Z28 Chevy 302 motor.

The mopar V8's seem to have big diameter lifters, and beefy metal around them. This
makes them bend less, vibrate and move up and down straighter at high revs. Less flex
possibly.

The (mopar V8's) have thick decks, where the head meets the block. So maybe this
is better for sealing and strength. Maybe the head won't crack as much and take
more compression.

Seems like the "Hemi" speaks for itself. Seems to be the design that can make the most
hp.

I think in stock form the mopar has bigger bearings around the cams and I assume everybody
uses roller bearings. Maybe a 60 mm cam would be the standard? I hear a lot about 60 mmm
diameter cams?

The blocks seem to be beefy and the 'caps' designed with some angled bolts and the caps
are fitted into the block rather than sitting on it like engines of the past.

2) So I'm hoping the Mopar midget engines have the same characteristics?

Don't know why but the "Spike" from John Godfrey(?) seems to be the standard".

3) So for starters if I didn't know anything about midget racing and everybody knows that
is true. I would go to some rich Midget racer and say I'm kind of looking for a "killer"
mopar in a spike chassis, that don't have many races on it. Hopefully he would give me
a good deal....lol!


Larry "O"

P.S. I'm hoping someday in the near future that I can be introduced to Ed Pink. I have
a close aquaitance that knows him well. He has not seen Ed in a while, but I suspect
will be calling him soon. I hoping this friend/aquaitance(?) will allow me to tag along if he
visits Ed in the near future. Maybe Ed might give me some hints on Midget Motors?
I would really be interested in a Ed Pink/Mopar if he builds one. laugh.gif







#3
racer65

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Paul, Ive been looking at midgets and been to a few races and it seems on dirt that the spike is about the only way to go bassed on the results and number of people running them. XXX and zero both have dirt midgets and tehy both look pretty good from what ive seen in pictures. But if i was going to go out and buy a new dirt midget id go with the spike.

With the pavement midgets the Beast seems to be big right now. Ive seen some hawks and know mike (he is an instructor at my university) and he builds a very nice piece as well. I believe spike has a new pavement midget coming out soon if not this year (believe ive saw some pictures of it possibly on there site or somewhere) and it looks pretty nice. I think if it were me knowing mike and how knowledgeable he is i would go with a hawk as i believe he would be great giving you advice whenever you need it.

When it comes to engines, im not the brightest star in the sky, but pink and esslinger would both be great choices or possibly a smaller builder that could give you more personal advice when needed.

thats just my thoughts

#4
plgray

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To Racer65 -
Thanks much for your reply ! Seems we're in agreement concerning the Beast & Spike midgets and probably a majority of others would meet with the same conclusion.

I purchased my HAWK midget a year ago for the 2007 USAC Regional Series ; was the 2005 WOMS Championship car having been driven by Ike Beasley. I knew it was a good car with a great winning history. We ran 13 events with regular maintenance only ; never a single mechanical failure ! Mike Streicher gave us some help on a few occasions , by phone , ( he's in Ohio ; we're in Indy ) and was always helpful.

I had the fortune in first meeting Mike at the Rumble Series event ( Ft. Wayne / Indoor USAC ) in December. While it does seem that the Beast pavement midget is the product of choice for most , I would certainly have to consider another HAWK. I'd really like to check out Mike's new wide-body. It would further be interesting to do a price comparison !

Maybe someone who has a new Hawk could reply here ... better yet someone with a Hawk / Esslinger !
I wonder how many of those are around ?

Thanks again and best wishes ,

Paul Gray

You can see our Hawk / Gaerte pavement Midget # 28
&
our Creek / Fontana dirt Midget # 16B

at : www.paulgray28.com

#5
schuckracing6&7

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Smaller pavement tracks I think a late 90's early 00's Hawk is the way to go. Longer pavement tracks Beast wide body with a Toyota.
Dirt is just being dominated right now by spike chassis. So a Spike/Mopar combination (mopar bc most parts are over the counter)
Just my opinion.
Thanks
Matt Schuck

#6
tsguido

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QUOTE(schuckracing6&7 @ Feb 11 2008, 02:22 PM) View Post

Smaller pavement tracks I think a late 90's early 00's Hawk is the way to go. Longer pavement tracks Beast wide body with a Toyota.
Dirt is just being dominated right now by spike chassis. So a Spike/Mopar combination (mopar bc most parts are over the counter)
Just my opinion.
Thanks
Matt Schuck


Mr. Wilson (Racer65)

Spike has a pavement chassis that's been out for a year to a year and a half, I think. I know Kevin Swindell used one for Venture Racing a couple of years ago. Also, Justin Overfelt ran one that same year, too. This past year Jerry Coons, Jr. used one during the USAC season. It's a decent car, it seems, but still not up to par with Beast, IMO.

Gerhardt (sp) from out west makes a nice pavement midget chassis, if you want something other than a Beast.

I think it's hard to beat a Beast, on pavement, period. Motors are totally up in the air, with Esslinger probably being tops.

More to come soon....

#7
larryo

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biggrin.gif Just a question for anybody.

Nobody wants to mention Kieth Kunz Bullet Chassis on the pavement.

1) I will have to see if Keith has won any pavement midget races. I got a feeling
he won a big one at Winchester.

Any reason why nobody mentions his chassis? Jealous or something? Afraid of it, because
there are not many out there?

I will be the first person to answer that question and I know nothing about his car but from
what I see on the dirt at our local tracks...ie... Ventura and Perris.

They seem to hook up quite well on the dirt if you run a sprint 360 or 410. But I hear the "sweet"
spot is small and are tricky to get right.

Larry "O"

#8
John P Huss

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Larry- The Bullet Car on pavement or dirt is always fast. I can remember watching Keith
Kunz running Dairyland Midgets in the 1980's in Wisconsin. Dean Billings was a major player
in founding Dairyland Midgets.
Best Regards,
John

#9
larryo

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"As Posted. 4- The Honda should be very competitive with everything else currently in use, in addition to a cost advantage in both ownership and long-term operation".

"As Posted. The production engine has a displacement of 2157 cc. Because of the 4valve per cylinder configuration, USAC rules will limit this engine to 2000cc or 122.0 cubic inches. Therefore, the race version will be 9.577 cu.in. smaller but with a significant gain in both horsepower and torque."

"PBH Indy is the company that is developing the Honda F20C DOHC 4-Valve here in Indianapolis. It is proving to be a cost effective alternitive for all Midget Racing sanctioning bodies. If you would like a little history on the project go to our website http://pbhindy.com and click on the "About" link. The site is under construction but it should be up and running in the next 3 or 4 weeks."

"The west coast engine that Bruce Crower built is going on it's third season with no failures. That's the engine that powered Greg Bragg driving the Walker Stealth/Honda to win the Friday night A-Main at this years Chilli Bowl. We wish to thank Bruce Crower, Brian Crower and Nick Aries III for their invaluable help with this project."

"As Posted. 2- The engine will be further developed in accordance with the 2008 USAC rule book and upon completion will be presented to USAC for certification. USAC inspected and preliminarily approved the first prototype engine for testing in 2006. The results of that test were highly encouraging! This engine would be compliant to any and all midget groups that utilize the USAC engine specifications as most do."

"Clarification. Our engine was approved in 2006. There is no certification process at USAC. If you build it by the rule book, it's legal. Both our engine and the Walker engine are USAC legal. Additionally, all of the major components are available in reasonable quanity and at reasonable cost from various aftermarket suppliers and on our website."

"3- Yes, the production based Honda S2000 is a 4-valve design.
Specifically, the engine is aluminum-alloy, both block and cylinder head ; is 16 valve -DOHC."

"Clarification. If any of the USAC guys are looking in, PBH Indy bases our engine on the F20C 1997c.c. (84mm x 87mm) version of the engine that in it's stock configuration falls within the 2 Liter 122 c.i. USAC mandated limitations. The F22C 2157c.c. (86mm x 87mm) does not and therefore would not be legal for USAC competition."

Note: All comment posted from www.indianaopenwheel.com message board.


"If anyone has questions concernig the PBH Indy F20C Honda Midget Engine, please feel free to email me at skeet@pbhindy.com"

I have seen this engine at local tracks on the Wests Coast. Pretty Neat engine.

Don't know if it's goin' to be the engine of choice, but cost, availability, competiveness will determine
it ultimate fate. I think we will see it at Hanford, if not Manzy.

Larry "O" laugh.gif









#10
PBHIndy

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QUOTE(larryo @ Feb 12 2008, 08:04 PM) View Post

"As Posted. 4- The Honda should be very competitive with everything else currently in use, in addition to a cost advantage in both ownership and long-term operation".

"As Posted. The production engine has a displacement of 2157 cc. Because of the 4valve per cylinder configuration, USAC rules will limit this engine to 2000cc or 122.0 cubic inches. Therefore, the race version will be 9.577 cu.in. smaller but with a significant gain in both horsepower and torque."

"PBH Indy is the company that is developing the Honda F20C DOHC 4-Valve here in Indianapolis. It is proving to be a cost effective alternitive for all Midget Racing sanctioning bodies. If you would like a little history on the project go to our website http://pbhindy.com and click on the "About" link. The site is under construction but it should be up and running in the next 3 or 4 weeks."

"The west coast engine that Bruce Crower built is going on it's third season with no failures. That's the engine that powered Greg Bragg driving the Walker Stealth/Honda to win their heat race at this years Chilli Bowl. We wish to thank Bruce Crower, Brian Crower and Nick Aries III for their invaluable help with this project."

"As Posted. 2- The engine will be further developed in accordance with the 2008 USAC rule book and upon completion will be presented to USAC for certification. USAC inspected and preliminarily approved the first prototype engine for testing in 2006. The results of that test were highly encouraging! This engine would be compliant to any and all midget groups that utilize the USAC engine specifications as most do."

"Clarification. Our engine was approved in 2006. There is no certification process at USAC. If you build it by the rule book, it's legal. Both our engine and the Walker engine are USAC legal. Additionally, all of the major components are available in reasonable quanity and at reasonable cost from various aftermarket suppliers and on our website."

"3- Yes, the production based Honda S2000 is a 4-valve design.
Specifically, the engine is aluminum-alloy, both block and cylinder head ; is 16 valve -DOHC."

"Clarification. If any of the USAC guys are looking in, PBH Indy bases our engine on the F20C 1997c.c. (84mm x 87mm) version of the engine that in it's stock configuration falls within the 2 Liter 122 c.i. USAC mandated limitations. The F22C 2157c.c. (86mm x 87mm) does not and therefore would not be legal for USAC competition."

Note: All comment posted from www.indianaopenwheel.com message board.


"If anyone has questions concernig the PBH Indy F20C Honda Midget Engine, please feel free to email me at skeet@pbhindy.com"

I have seen this engine at local tracks on the Wests Coast. Pretty Neat engine.

Don't know if it's goin' to be the engine of choice, but cost, availability, competiveness will determine
it ultimate fate. I think we will see it at Hanford, if not Manzy.

Larry "O" laugh.gif



#11
PBHIndy

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QUOTE(PBHIndy @ Feb 12 2008, 11:47 PM) View Post

QUOTE(larryo @ Feb 12 2008, 08:04 PM) View Post

"As Posted. 4- The Honda should be very competitive with everything else currently in use, in addition to a cost advantage in both ownership and long-term operation".

"As Posted. The production engine has a displacement of 2157 cc. Because of the 4valve per cylinder configuration, USAC rules will limit this engine to 2000cc or 122.0 cubic inches. Therefore, the race version will be 9.577 cu.in. smaller but with a significant gain in both horsepower and torque."

"PBH Indy is the company that is developing the Honda F20C DOHC 4-Valve here in Indianapolis. It is proving to be a cost effective alternitive for all Midget Racing sanctioning bodies. If you would like a little history on the project go to our website http://pbhindy.com and click on the "About" link. The site is under construction but it should be up and running in the next 3 or 4 weeks."

"The west coast engine that Bruce Crower built is going on it's third season with no failures. That's the engine that powered Greg Bragg driving the Walker Stealth/Honda to win their heat race at this years Chilli Bowl. We wish to thank Bruce Crower, Brian Crower and Nick Aries III for their invaluable help with this project."

"As Posted. 2- The engine will be further developed in accordance with the 2008 USAC rule book and upon completion will be presented to USAC for certification. USAC inspected and preliminarily approved the first prototype engine for testing in 2006. The results of that test were highly encouraging! This engine would be compliant to any and all midget groups that utilize the USAC engine specifications as most do."

"Clarification. Our engine was approved in 2006. There is no certification process at USAC. If you build it by the rule book, it's legal. Both our engine and the Walker engine are USAC legal. Additionally, all of the major components are available in reasonable quanity and at reasonable cost from various aftermarket suppliers and on our website."

"3- Yes, the production based Honda S2000 is a 4-valve design.
Specifically, the engine is aluminum-alloy, both block and cylinder head ; is 16 valve -DOHC."

"Clarification. If any of the USAC guys are looking in, PBH Indy bases our engine on the F20C 1997c.c. (84mm x 87mm) version of the engine that in it's stock configuration falls within the 2 Liter 122 c.i. USAC mandated limitations. The F22C 2157c.c. (86mm x 87mm) does not and therefore would not be legal for USAC competition."

Note: All comment posted from www.indianaopenwheel.com message board.


"If anyone has questions concernig the PBH Indy F20C Honda Midget Engine, please feel free to email me at skeet@pbhindy.com"

I have seen this engine at local tracks on the Wests Coast. Pretty Neat engine.

Don't know if it's goin' to be the engine of choice, but cost, availability, competiveness will determine
it ultimate fate. I think we will see it at Hanford, if not Manzy.

Larry "O" laugh.gif


Just to set the recod straight. The Greg Bragg piloted Walker/Honda won their "Heat Race" at this years Chili Bowl. I have corrected my error on this post and the one on IOW. Skeet

#12
tsguido

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I'm pretty sure that Keith Kunz Motorsports uses Beast Chassis on pavement, but I could be wrong. I look for the Bullet Chassis to continue to get stronger on dirt. He's a man that knows what he's doing and keeps working at it. They're no slouch now, but I think he's only going to make it better.

Hawk and Drinan Chassis' used to be popular, but seemed to have faded during the past five to ten years. The Hawk Chassis used to be quite the contender with Andy Michner, Kenneth Nichols and Mike Streicher. Of course, Danny Drinan used the be the primary threat on pavement in the Drinan Chassis. However, Chris Shultz used to be another threat on the asphalt, in a Drinan Chassis.

Today's motor combo's have changed quite a bit. I think Esslinger's top on pavement and dirt, but there are quite a few other solid motors. You have Ed Pink that has built pretty much every kind. Whether it's Ford, Chevy or Toyota, Pink builds motors that give you a chance to win. Gaerte has produced many types, too. You now add in Hawk Engines, which make Chevy powerplants, which are towards the top of the list. Stanton Mopar's are still a solid motor, too. Add in names like Sesco Mopar and you see the list isn't that small.

Racer65 mentioned XXX Chassis, which made it's debut at the Chili Bowl. It looked pretty good for it's first time out and I'm sure this chassis will become a little more popular. It was a shame that McCreadie didn't run a XXX, like he was listed to, but raced the Spike instead. That team might have made XXX's debut more sweet! Zero Chassis is far from the top of the list. Johnny's been working on this chassis for a few years, but hasn't had the results. The latest photo of an all black Zero Chassis was very sharp, but we'll see how the results pan out. Best of luck to Mr. Murdock.





#13
neverliftms

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Lets not forget the new DRC that made the A main at Chili Bowl this year.

#14
tsguido

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Yes, we can't forget the DRC Chassis! I totally spaced it while thinking of new chassis in midget racing. Mr. Devin makes quality products and I don't think the midgets are any different. DRC's track record speaks for itself in the sprint car ranks.

There are also a few other chassis that I didn't touch on. Aggressor Chassis from "across the pond" seems to be very popular. I would like to see more of these make their way to the states! Breka, I think, is the name of another popular chassis over there.

The Chili Bowl has brought many chassis companies to midget racing. Eagle Chassis gave it a shot, as did Twister. You'll still see some Twister and Eagle Chassis floating around, but I'm pretty sure they're not being made, as Twister doesn't exsist, does it? I think Twister became F5, which there are still some around, like Cody Brewer. So, did F5 become GRP, or is it totally different? Anyhow, there's a few GRP's around, including in the ARDC arena. You can also add Ellis Chassis to the mix. I don't think they're as popular now, but used to be stout in the days of Jason Leffler and Page Jones.

iTi Performance is building a new Viper midget, which if the sprint car is any idication, it'll look A LOT like a Bullet Chassis. Staying on the "left coast", TCR used to be a very popular chassis, which reminded me a lot of Stealth. They came out with a new chassis a few years ago, then went out of business, I think? It was a cool looking car that Alan Ballard drove, along with Josh Ford, which now calls that chassis a JFM Chassis.

There are quite a few options out there, especially if you add in the older cars that are out there. Just ask Jason Leffler and "The Demon", since their Chili Bowl winner was an "older" Stealth Chassis!

#15
tsguido

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Well, I've noticed since my last post that Aggressor Chassis purchased Breka Chassis. So, from what I can tell, Spike and Aggressor are the cars of choice over there...




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