Weedsport, NY — March 19, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
The DIRTcar 500. It’s not a new race on the schedule, instead it’s a new engine option spearheaded by DIRTcar, and it will make racing a Big-Block Modified more accessible and competitive than ever.
Featuring high-end components manufactured by companies such as DART Machinery, Manley Performance Products, Diamond Racing Products and MSD Ignition, the new DIRTcar 500 engine turns out the same horsepower as most current engines for about half the price. On the dyno, the 499 cubic inch engine produces 800+ horsepower at 6800 rpm and 700-foot lbs. of torque at 5600 rpm. Top-end horsepower aside, with a 7800 RPM maximum, the engine’s short stroke, wide bore design will reduce piston speed, providing greater reliability and longevity that will reduce operating costs for teams utilizing this combination.
DIRTcar has partnered with CV Products to become the sole supplier to engine builders and racers alike. The DIRTCAR500 part number will carry a racer price of $16,466 and be shipped as a complete package that contains every part needed, down to the last bolt, pump, spark-plug and gasket. In order to be legal for use in DIRTcar competition, the specific engine block, heads, intake, ignition, crank and oil pan must remain a constant in every DIRTcar 500 engine. All other parts however are fair game, meaning that they can be swapped out for any manufacturer’s parts at any time during the engine’s life cycle. With engine builder estimates ranging from $2,500-$3,500 for assembly and dyno, the final cost to the racer will easily fall under $20,000.
“It was created primarily to reduce the widening expense gap between our Modified and Sportsman divisions today,” stated Bob Dini, the DIRTcar Northeast Region Director of Technical Operations who has played an integral part in the engine’s development with Enders Racing Engines. “We’re encouraging racers to work through their own engine builders as this is very much a high performance engine, yet this package can still be bought and put together by anyone. It’s a good situation for everybody as it keeps all the builders and manufacturers involved while not making any of the current engines obsolete.”
The new DIRTcar 500 isn’t meant to replace the current 467 cubic inch motors. If an engine was legal in 2009, it will be legal in 2010. But for a driver who can’t make the jump to Big-Block competition because of costs or is weighing his next Big-Block engine purchase, the DIRTcar 500 is an affordable alternative.
While everything looks good on paper, it was the engine’s on track performance that earned it a permanent spot in the DIRTcar rulebook. The engine has been competitive from lap #1.
After months of development that included a design phase, part selection and working with the combination on the dyno and an initial test with Super DIRTcar Series champion Brett Hearn behind the wheel. The engine debuted in February at the half-mile Volusia Speedway Park. Two-time Syracuse champion Danny Johnson drove Nick Nero’s #49er Bicknell the entire week with the new DIRTcar 500 engine under the hood.
“Absolutely,” remarked Johnson, when asked if the new engine had the potential to win a race against current Big-Block motors. During three nights of action, Johnson finished 2nd in all three of his heat races and finished 9th out of 44 Big-Block entries in the overall DIRTcar Nationals point standings on the strength of one 5th place finish one 9th place finish and a 20th place finish that came after being collected in “the big one” during the opener.
“If a few things had fallen in place I think we had a good shot to win any one of the races,” Johnson said. “It was a strong motor, ran good all night and definitely had a lot of power. I never had any problems all week. I can see it being something going over well in the future, certainly a worthwhile project that should get a lot of attention.”
Reigning Super DIRTcar Series and Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Champion Hearn saw the engine’s potential during his test session last fall.
“It was pretty respectable my first time out on a big half-mile track, so I’m not really surprised that it’s compatible with our stuff today,” said Hearn, who turned laps in his own Madsen Motorsports TEO Modified and Nero’s ride during that initial test.
“It certainly appears to be a good option, very competitive right now even without a lot of laps turned,” Hearn said. “When we ran it was very responsive with the gears and different rpm ranges. Danny was running some pretty good laps, so coming away with a couple solid finishes probably wasn’t anything unexpected. I’m sure this engine will be a great alternative for a lot of teams looking to move up.”
With a handful of teams already eager to place orders, engine-builder Kevin Enders from Phoenix, N.Y., will be surprised if more racers don’t take advantage of the DIRTcar 500.
“Only time will tell, but this is a high-performance engine designed and built specifically for Big-Block Modified racing, cutting no corners in the process,” said Enders, a premier engine builder in the Northeast for 25 years who has been providing motors for Hearn since 1998 as well as veterans Jimmy Horton, Eddie Marshall and Rick Laubach, plus rising stars Ryan Phelps and Stewart Friesen. “It’s definitely less expensive than a 358 and certainly more in the price range for a Sportsman driver, so I don’t think it will take too long for teams to recognize the value.”
Several engine builders were provided input, but when Dini first approached Enders last June, he took the lead on the project. Enders methodically designed the engine, picked the proper components and worked with each contributing manufacturer to match his blueprint. Enders and his staff along with car owner Nero donated their time and virtually every manufacturer involved donated their parts, reinforcing the support for this type of program in DIRTcar’s premier division.
“I was in total agreement with Bob when I first talked to him about the need for this type of engine program,” Enders said. “You need guys to be able to move up, not settle into an entry-level class for life. This engine is structured so anybody can buy it and build it, a great way to feed into the Big-Block ranks in the coming years.”
“I knew this engine was going to be good but never expected it to be as good as what showed in Florida against one of the toughest fields we see all year. We’ll be ready to give it another shot for the Super DIRTcar Series race at Hagerstown (March 27).”
DIRTcar 500 Engine FAQ Sheet
1) How much does the DIRTcar 500 Engine cost?
a. Racer price on the parts package is $16,466 + shipping and tax.
b. There is no set price on labor for assembly or dyno time, but we have received estimates from engine builders ranging from $2,500 to $3,500.
2) How can I buy the engine?
a. We recommend that you contact your engine builder.
b. If you want to assemble the engine yourself, you can call CV Products at (800) 448-1223 and ask to speak to someone on the dirt track sales team about Part # DIRTCAR500.
3) Why do the parts come as a package?
a. In addition to carrying more cubic inches, the entire combination varies from the standard Big-Block configuration. As a result, a lot of time, research, development and testing has been put into providing a proven combination.
4) What is included in the package?
a. There is a complete parts list at the end of this FAQ Sheet
5) Why does the package come from CV Products?
a. CV Products has a great reputation as a technical distributor and parts supplier to engine builders and is stocking this package, eliminating delays and/or incorrect parts.
6) Who can build the engine?
a. Any engine builder can purchase the package directly from CV and build this engine.
b. While we encourage you to purchase this engine through an engine builder, any racer may purchase the package and assemble the engine themselves.
7) What parts can I replace?
a. During the life cycle of the engine, any part may be replaced with a different manufacturer’s part, with exception of the block, heads, intake, ignition, crank and oil pan, which can only be replaced by the exact same parts in the event of failure or standard wear and tear and may not be altered or lightened in any way.
8) How will the engine be inspected?
a. Exact rules/specifications will be added to the DIRTcar rule book.
b. The heads, block, intake and oil pan will have DIRTcar stamps visual from the exterior and are subject to additional inspection.
c. Standard specific head inspection procedures will apply, with no additional port work allowed.
d. DIRTcar 500 engines will be checked periodically for cubic inch (499c.i.) and compression (13.5:1).
e. The oil pan will feature an inspection port to verify the proper crank is being used and the absence of titanium connecting rods.
9) How do the rules differ from the current DIRTcar Modified Engine rules?
a. The only rule differences are the specific heads, block, intake and oil pan, and the acceptability of up to 499 c.i.
b. Titanium valves and connecting rods will not be allowed!
10) What carburetor and headers can I use?
a. Any carburetor and headers currently legal for DIRTcar competition will be legal for use on the DIRTcar 500.
11) How does this engine perform?
a. While dyno numbers vary, this engine has produced 800hp at 6800 rpm with 700-foot lbs. of torque at 5600 rpm.
12) Has the engine been on the track?
a. Yes, Brett Hearn tested the engine in the fall and Danny Johnson raced the engine during three nights of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in February, 2010.
13) Is there a weight break for cars running this engine?
a. Yes, Modifieds running the DIRTcar 500 will have a minimum weight of 2400lbs., as opposed to 2500lbs. for cars running the current 467c.i. combination.
14) What do I do when it is time to rebuild the engine?
a. The engine can be taken to any engine builder to be rebuilt, provided that you notify DIRTcar Officials (Bob Dini or Joe Skotnicki) as to where the engine is being taken.
b. If you plan to rebuild the engine yourself, you simply order the necessary parts and rebuild the engine, provided that it meets the specific parameters of the program upon completion.
c. There are no seals, bolts or approval process governing rebuilds.
15) Is there a guarantee on the engine?
a. There is no unique, umbrella guarantee provided with the engine.
b. Manufacturer warranties may be available on certain parts.
c. Guarantees related to assembly will vary from builder to builder and will be between the racer and the engine builder.
ARP Carburetor stud kit
ARP Engine accessory bolt kit
ARP Head bolt kit
Bosch Spark plugs
Calico Connecting rod bearings
Calico main bearings
Callies Two-piece seal, 3.760 stroke with standard 2.200 rod journals
Canton Canton oil pump adapter
Cloyes Timing set
Cloyes Cam button
Cometic Complete engine gasket kit
CV Brand Timing pointer
CV Brand Timing cover
CV Brand Serpentine drive kit
CV Products Water pump pulley
CV Products Pulley spacers
CV Products Crank pulley
CV Products Crank hub
CV Products Power steering pulley
CV Products Pulley adapter
CV Products Power steering pump mount
Dart Machinery Steel engine block
Dart Machinery Aluminum cylinder heads
Dart Machinery Aluminum intake manifold
Denso Alternator pulley
Denso Alternator bracket
Diamond Racing Products Diamond pistons
Diamond Racing Products Diamond pins
Diamond Racing Products Diamond locks
Diamond Racing Products Diamond piston rings
Edelbrock Water pump
Enders Enders camshaft
Gibb’s Racing Oil Break in oil
HVH 2″ carb spacer
Manley Performance Intake valves
Manley Performance Exhaust valves
Manley Performance Titanium retainers
Manley Performance Valve locks
Manley Performance Spring cups
Manley Performance Spring kit
Manley Performance Connecting rods
Manley Performance Pushrods / intake
Manley Performance Pushrods / exhaust
Moroso Crankcase evac
MSD Ignition Distributor/mag
MSD Ignition Distributor hold down kit
MSD Ignition Spark plug wires
Precision Parts Balancer
Spin Fuel pump pushrod
Spin Fuel pump
Spin Power steering pump
Stef’s Performance Low profile valve covers pair
Stef’s Performance Aluminum oil pan with heater & inspection port
Stef’s Performance Modified oil pump & pick-up
T&D T & D rockers
Wix Filters Oil filter
Xceldyne X2 Lifters