Hornets to sting at Champion
December 29, 2002
I had the occasion to visit RWW Fabrications, Rob Woods’ shop in Sparks, last week.
For those of you who don’t know him, Rob is the Legends and Bandoleros distributor for Northern Nevada who also does race car fabrication. We had a discussion about one of the new divisions that will debut at Champion Speedway in 2003, the Hornets. Rob has already built one for the track and when I visited him he and his son, Nick were working on a second car that Nick will drive.
The rules for building a Hornet are pretty simple because it’s intended to be just about the most “entry-level” racing car anywhere on the planet.
Basically, you take any three- or four-cylinder car (front-drive, rear-drive, manual or automatic), gut the interior, remove all the glass except the windshield, install a rudimentary roll cage and a racing seat, and you’ve got a Hornet racecar. Rob says that if someone provides the car he can do everything but the seat for $600. The seat will run you another $100 up (depending on the seat you select). I’m told that you can get a suitable,
running car for $100 to $200 or less at a towing company auction. So for less than $1000 you’re in the racing business.
Add a helmet and a flameproof suit and you’re good to go. The cars must run D.O.T-approved 70-series or taller tires. And lest you’re tempted to gain an unfair advantage by “building” a
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super engine, playing tricks with computer chips, or engaging in any other performance-enhancing activities, the track will have a $700 “claiming” rule.
This means that if you start to consistently run away from the field, the track will purchase your car for $700 and you can go put another one together. For complete rules, go to
Rob also told me that he had a lengthy discussion with the promoter of the Dodge City, Kansas, track that has been running the Hornet division for a while. They had eight cars at their first race, about 30 a month later, and now regularly get 80 cars or so per weekend. They have so many cars that they had to separate them into two divisions, splitting the front-drivers from the rear-wheel-drive cars. Rob says he suspects that Champion will have similar good luck with the Hornets because they are a truly affordable car for the average fan in the stands who wants to see what it’s like out there. By the way, there will also be a division for the same type of cars called the Queen
Bees, with women drivers only allowed. So all you ladies out there who have the racing bug, here’s your chance!
If you’re suffering from withdrawal symptoms after the end of the racing season, there’s hope. Thanks to this planet’s axial tilt, it’s now summer in the Southern Hemisphere and those crazy Australians have come up with something called V8 Supercars. The races appear regularly on the Speed Channel and are great fun to watch. They run on road courses, so just squint really hard and pretend it’s Winston Cup at Watkins Glen or Sears Point. Try watching just once. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!
As if Tom Cruise’s silly “Days of Thunder” and Sylvester Stallone’s execrable opus “Driven” weren’t bad enough, now we’re going to be assaulted by a racing movie starring none other than Brittney Spears. Plans for the flick were announced a couple of months ago but I was in denial until I recently received a press release that indicates she is going ahead with the project.
She visited the Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month to do research for her “upcoming NASCAR feature film.”
Said research consisted of an eight-lap Richard Petty Driving Experience session followed by a Ride-Along and two more 11-lap driving experiences, about 30 laps in all or 45 miles at the 1.5 mile oval.
In a statement that would probably shock Jeremy Evans, Brittney said, “I didn’t realize the extent to which race car drivers have to go through. I think it’s cool. I’ll have a different perspective now when I see it on TV.”
Gag me with a spoon!
Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist.
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