Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A look at Kenny Tremont Jr.’s modified with a brief history of East Coast modified racing

Prior to the 2016 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis, the author had never seen an East Coast dirt modified car up close. Performance Friction (PFC) brakes used Kenny Tremont Jr.’s Troyer built modified to showcase their brake package and it was eye-opening to see the level of detail involved in these machines.   
A restored early modified stock car

After World War two a typical East Coast modified race car was simply an automobile with all the glass removed, a roll bar installed to protect the driver, and a ‘hopped up’ production engine.  As the decade of 1960s progressed changes became visibly apparent as competitors began to channel and lower the bodies of the cars as front fenders disappeared forever Car builders started mixing and matching components such as pairing a Chevrolet racing engine with a Ford body and chassis. All these changes together created lower, leaner and faster racing machines.

A restored mid-1970's modified stock car

Dick “Toby” Tobias a racer and speed shop owner  from Pennsylvania revolutionized the chassis of the Eastern modified stock car in the early 1970s when he mass produced an entire tubular steel chassis of which the roll cage was an integral part which teams covered with stretched AMC Gremlin, Chevrolet Vega or Ford Pinto bodies. Not only were the tube framed cars fasters and more predictable they were safer.    
In 1980 driver Gary Balough, car builder Kenny Weld and fabricator Don Brown revolutionized East Coast modified stock car racing with their #112 'Batmobile' entry. On Syracuse’s Moody Mile the car alleged based on a Lincoln Continental  proved that the race car’s body could do more than cover the mechanical elements it could be used to generate aerodynamic forces and increase cornering speeds.  

The 'Batmobile' modified

The large, high roof on #112 acted as a huge wing while wide side pods that flanked the center driver’s compartment created more downforce while the front of the car the “grille” was designed to act as forced air induction system. The car exploited every loophole in the rulebook, qualified two full seconds faster than the existing track record and won the famed Syracuse race handily. The ‘Batmobile’ modified  was eventually legislated out of existence but its ground-breaking  innovations still apply to modern dirt track modified race cars.
photos of Kenny Tremont Jr.'s Troyer modified by the author
The driver of this #115,  Kenny Tremont Jr. is a legend in East Coast Modified racing. The 55 year old driver from West Sand Lake New York has notched 341 race wins in his career and won a race every one of the last 34 years. In 2016, Tremont scored 16 wins in 62 starts.
Detail of the PFC ZR24 front brake caliper on the Tremont modified
Photo by the author
Detail of the rear suspension and PFC ZR94 rear brake caliper
on the Tremont modified. Photo by the author

To learn more about Performance Friction Brakes racing applications visit  http://www.performancefriction.com/racing-brakes.aspx

No comments:

Post a Comment