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Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series History

Written by: Bobby Williamson

Here is a very important message that we need to convey to the World in general:

Our Series was not “started on some poor back-woods dirt track, because that was the only place we could start”. And we never, had the mindset of “we'll start here”, in hopes of working our way UP to the big (asphalt) leagues.

NOPE, we started on dirt by choice, and by choice we will remain dirt. In NO way are we mirroring the NASCAR Story.

What's now known as the Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Series, began in June of 2009 at tiny Hammerdown Speedway, Red Springs, NC with Jim Wilmore and Bobby Williamson. Jim had asked track owner Mike Weeks if he could bring his vintage '37 chevy race car over and simply help to roll-in the track. Jim invited me to come along, and at least we'd get to driver our cars on an actual race track. Later that evening, race director, Gary Ford, offered us a 5-lap "race" as a reward for our track rolling service. Although we had not planned on racing, Jim and I quickly agreed, and five laps later, as we crossed the finish line, Jim had won by a nose. MAN, it was fun, and exciting! We quickly asked if we could return the next month for another race, and we quickly began recruiting anyone and everyone we could think of to join the excitement. Doug Meyer, Rick Lovett, George Pavlisko, Tommy Cresswell, Bill Tripp, and Dave Blankenship all joined the group. We adopted the name: Cape Fear Classic Auto Racing Show, the series had begun. We raced monthly from June through November of that first year, but at season's end, the Hammerdown Speedway was bulldozed. Of necessity, the group received permission from the Carolina Speedway in 2010, and all activity shifted to Lake View, SC. Bell & Bell Buick/GMC became title sponsor in June of 2010.

In the beginning, we were all inexperienced race 'drivers', and for our series to grow, we needed cars. Rules were pretty lax in an effort to attract interest and participants. For the most part, it all worked out pretty well. In 2013, we could have had 20 cars on hand, had all members showed on the same night, but we averaged about 15 cars per event. But with the passage of time, the disparity of abilities both mechanical and physical became increasingly evident. Also, with the passage of time, others, both veteran and fledgling racers, have been attracted to our series, and that's VERY GOOD. My job, as president, is to make all these dynamics fit together. To have strong competition, to attract the veterans, to allow entry level drivers a venue, to keep costs as low as possible and to make it all FUN. A new plan is necessary, and I'm very proud and very excited to unveil a totally new concept to auto racing, first implemented by our group. From the beginning, organized auto racing has attempted to classify and segregate by the mechanical signature of the vehicle cubic inch, weight, tires, suspension, body, component materials, etc. etc. this concept has been in effect for over 60 years, that's how we all have learned to 'think' and to view the subject. Mechanically equalize all vehicles, and the playing field should be level, or as level as possible. For the most part, it kind of works, and for the most part, this basic concept has never had an alternative.

However, realities and 'ideal situations' are rarely one and the same with a classic, and modern example being NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson. If everything is the same, how does he win 6 championships? And, an equally important question, is domination healthy for the sport? Does it attract interest, or foster boredom and indifference? Over the past 60 years, we've seen examples of both. Fans adored Richard Petty, and Dale Earnhardt, if they'd won EVERY race and championship, the fans would have cheered all the more. But, the reverse has been experienced with Jimmie Johnson's success. Right, there's a ton of 'holes' in our basic bible.

I've said this many times, but I'll repeat it here, again. VINTAGE RACING IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME SUBJECT AS 'REAL' RACING, AND CAN NOT BE VIEWED, AND GOVERNED AS SUCH. Whatever 'works' for the normal racing is not necessarily an answer for vintage racing. Sure, there's lot's of carry-overs, but not everything. Problem is, we don't know how to think in any other capacity. While similar, the two subjects are different:

1. Vintage racers, do not race for monetary compensation and heaven forbid that ever happening. OK, If not for money, then what is the attraction, or the reward?

2. I've said this many times too vintage racing is EXACTLY like going fishing or going hunting. The love of the subject, the ability to participate, the fellowship and companionship resulting from the experience and the pursuit. The love of the game. HAVING FUN. The main question becomes: What contributes to a fun experience in vintage racing?

3. High on the list: Safety, feeling secure and protected as possible, in an actual on-track racing environment. Also, on our personal list: Success every vintage racer, hopes for some degree of on-track success. We want to feel 'good' about ourselves, that we have performed well, and the potential our future holds is exciting.

Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series

Bobby Williamson
President

Sherman Garris
Vice President

Patsy Thompkins-Keisler
Administrative Assistant/PR

Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series Rules

Our goal is simple; to provide an opportunity for car owners to enjoy the thrills of racing without the pressure to win, though we do encourage maximum participation in every race. We race for entertainment and winning is not our final solution to having a great time.
Bell & Bell wants you to be able to enjoy racing your car without the pressures to win.

General Safety Rules 2014

NOTE: B&BVMRS acknowledges that every situation can not be anticipated, and hereby reserves the right to make certain, necessary, and prudent on-site judgments.

1. Eligible models: 1948 and earlier American made vehicles. The Open division will receive additional latitude with regard to body eligibility. Pinto, Vega, Gremlin, and other modified-appearing bodies (at the discretion of BBVMRS® officials) will also be allowed. It is highly discouraged from building a car.

2. All interior/exterior trim, chrome, lights, glass must be removed. Windshields are optional, and can be replaced by plexiglass. Safety bars/wire-mesh must be installed in the case of windshield removal.

3. Driver’s side window net, optional but highly recommended.

4. Steel firewall must exist between driver’s compartment and fuel cell. Openings in engine firewall must be kept to a minimum.

5. Fuel cell mandatory, size of cell optional.

6. Fuel supply line may route through cockpit, but must be conduit enclosed.

7. Fire extinguisher must be mounted in cockpit, and must be within driver’s reach.

8. Five point safety harness, securely mounted to roll cage, mandatory.

10. Racing style aluminum or fiberglass seat, securely mounted to roll cage, mandatory.

11. Steering wheel quick-release hub optional.

12. Flame retardant suit, gloves, shoes, and full coverage racing helmet mandatory; SA-92, SA-2000, SA-2005 accepted.

13. Six-point roll cage, 1.25” minimum ID tubing mandatory. No drive-shafts, exhaust tubing, or galvanized material shall be utilized in cage’s construction. Cage must contain 4 bars in driver’s side door and 2 bars on passenger’s side. Roll cage must be fabricated in a workman-like manner and padding and gussets are recommended in all critical areas. Cage may extend into the engine bay, and incorporate/facilitate front suspension components.

14. All doors must be welded, bolted, or strapped closed.

15. Bumpers may be fabricated, but must not have any sharp or protruding edges. Towing-hitch points for front bumper highly recommended.

16. Nerf bars optional, but highly recommended.

17. One radiator mounted in front of engine.

18. Electric fuel pump allowed, but must include inertia switch.

19. Battery shut-off switch, accessible from outside of cockpit, mandatory.

20. Window-openings may be enlarged for driver entry.

21. Drive shaft must be painted white and all cars must have drive shaft safety loop.

22. Battery mounted in driver’s compartment must be enclosed.

23. Complete floorboard in driver’s compartment.

24. Hood and trunk lids must be secured by pins and, or, shock cords.

25. Rear-view mirrors recommended, and may include side convex mirrors.

Suspension/Drive Train Open Modified

1. Chassis/body may be interchanged among mfg. Lines. Fabricated chassis allowed.

2. One-piece straight axle or independent front suspension allowed.

3. Leaf spring and coil-over shock or a combination of both are allowed as suspension components.

4. Rear suspension may incorporate leaf, coil, and coil-over-shock systems.
Mulit-link components will not be permitted.

5. Shackles, sliders, lowering blocks and jack bolts are legal.

6. Drum, and disc brakes are legal. Cockpit-located brake bias and shut-off valve allowed.

7. Tires and wheels optional.

8. Shocks optional.

9. Steering optional.

10. Rear axle assembly optional, with the exception of any independent axle assemblies. Rear assembly can be locked/welded.

11. Any manual or automatic OE type transmission. Bert, Brinn, Falcon, or any other racing transmissions are not eligible.

12. Transmission shifter(s) optional.

13. Internal-driver-activated weight transfer mechanism(s) will not be allowed.

14. Forward gears may be altered, and removed, but all cars must have working reverse gear.

15. Scatter-shield or explosion proof bell housing recommended but not mandatory.

Engine Open Modified

1. As the philosophy of Bell & Bell VMDRS is fun/enjoyment based. Engine “extravagance” and technical protesting is not anticipated, at this time. However, as general engine guidelines, for the open class:

2. V-8, V-6, Inline-6 and Inline-4 cylinder American manufactured cast-iron engines are all allowed in the open modified division. No aluminum blocks accept flathead V8. However, there may be exceptions for guest appearances only in the open class, contact us for approval prior to race.

3. Engines shall be normally aspirated, although in special circumstances, officials may allow an exception (fuel injection) to participate in a one-off situation. Carburetor type and quantity are both optional. Carburetor adapters and spacers are allowed. Intake manifold optional, including aluminum units. Two throttle return springs mandatory.

4. No dry-sump oil systems.

5. No Aluminum after-market or angle-plug cylinder heads.

6. No magneto ignition. Point, HEI, or aftermarket electronic ignition systems allowed.

7. Engine must have starter and working reverse gear in transmission.

8. Alternator, power steering pump allowed.

9. Headers optional.

10. Manual fuel pump, pump gas mandatory. Electric fuel pump allowed, but must include inertia switch.

11. Oil pan size optional. Oil pump pick-up may be modified, windage trays allowed.

12. Stock stroke, and stock-appearing crankshafts only. No lightening or altering of crankshaft. Bore may be
.060 over plus .010 wear tolerance.

13. Connecting rods/pistons/rings optional.

14. OEM style clutch system only. Hydraulic-assisted clutch unit allowed.

15. Camshaft/lifters/rocker arms optional. No roller cam system.

16. Valve cover(s) may be modified to allow for crank-case breathing.

Suspension 6 -Cylinder Modified

1. Chassis/bodies may be interchanged along manufacturer’s lines.

2. No fabricated chassis. OE chassis only.

3. Straight front or independent axle.

4. Leaf, coil, or coil-over shocks suspension are all legal on front and rear axle. No multi-link suspension systems.

5. Lowering blocks, screw jacks, sliders, and shackles are allowed.

6. Rear axle is optional with the exception on any independent-type axle assembly.

7. Brakes optional.

8. No driver-activated weight altering devices.

9. Steering optional.

10. Tires and wheels optional.

11. Any OE type manual or automatic transmission. Gears may be altered and removed, but all cars must have working reverse gear. Bert, Brinn, Falcon, or any racing type transmission are not eligible. Shifter(s) optional.

12. OE style clutch, pressure plate, flywheel. No mini-clutch system. Hydraulic assist units are legal.

13. All cars must have on-board starter.

Engine: 6-Cylinder Modified

As the philosophy of Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series is fun and enjoyment based.

Engine ‘extravagance’ and technical protests are not anticipated at this time. However, as a basic framework, The
Following rules will be invoked.

1. Any in-line American manufactured 6 cylinder engine. Engines may be interchanged among body and chassis manufacturers.

2. Stock stroke only. Cylinder bore will be limited to a total tolerance of .070.

3. OEM style crankshaft, no lightening or altering allowed.

4. Connecting rods optional.

5. Flat-top pistons only, rings optional.

6. Camshaft, lifters, rocker arms optional.

7. Intake and exhaust manifolds optional.

8. Normal aspiration only, Carburetor(s) optional.

9. HEI, OEM electronic or point-type, ignition systems allowed. No magneto systems.

10. No dry sump oil system.

11. Oil pan optional, and oil pump pick-up may be modified.

12. Alternator and power steering pump allowed.

13. Valve cover may be modified for crankcase ventilation.

14. Air cleaner optional.

 

 

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