Go to any NASA event and you’ll see stock cars, lots of them if you’re on the East Coast. With so many teams headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., stock cars are plentiful in the South, and pulling from the discarded chassis from Sprint Cup teams can be a cost-effective way to go road racing in something fast and built for the rigors of motorsport.

However, full-on Sprint Cup chassis are heavy. According to NASCAR. com, “By rule, a Sprint Cup car must weigh 3,300 pounds. Where the weight of the driver is concerned, for every 10-pound increment below 180 pounds, 10 pounds of weight must be added to the car. So if a driver weighs between 170 and 179 pounds, the car must weigh 3,310 pounds to compensate.”

The rules stipulate graduated weight additions to the cars for drivers who weigh less than 170 pounds, but still, 3,300 pounds is a lot to toss around a road course. That’s what makes NASA Great Lakes racer David Davison’s former American Speed Association car so interesting. At 2,780 pounds, it features the same bulletproof construction you get in a Sprint Cup chassis minus 550 pounds of curb weight.

“The wheelbase is the same,” Davison said. “It’s just a little narrower at the front. They wanted the speed, and they only had 400 horsepower, so they made the cars a little more aerodynamic and lighter. The tubing on the chassis is smaller. I’ve owned a couple of Cup cars. This one is essentially the same size.

“The problem with the Cup cars is they’re too big, heavy and bulky,” he added. “They just build them that way. It’s just too big a car unless you have 900 horsepower, and I can’t afford to keep 900 horsepower running, or even buy it the first time. Unless you want to run 900 horsepower, which isn’t great on a road course, then they’re slugs. They’re neat cars, but they’re a little disappointing.”

The American Speed Association tour was a feeder series to NASCAR like ARCA. ASA went bankrupt in 2004 when General Motors quit funding the series. Davison’s car had only one race on it when he bought it from four-time ASA Champion Brian Refner, who held onto the car for seven years after ASA folded.

“When the series ended, and Brian figured out that it wasn’t coming back, he went to race trucks, then he even had a Busch career,” Davison said. “Anyway, when he knew that series was never coming back, he sold all his cars but this one. He kept it just because it was a new car. So when I got it, I started buying parts off Ebay and RacingJunk.com and put it together with a bunch of used parts, and parts that I had.”

The car was advertised on RacingJunk.com not as a roller, but as a chassis and body. When Davison went to pick it up, the former Menards-sponsored car had no powertrain and no suspension. Davison persuaded Refner to sell him enough spare parts so he could roll the car into a trailer. Once Davison got the car home, he spent the next year piecing it together.

 

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He sourced a Mid Valley NC500R four-speed transmission from Travis Carter’s old K-Mart team and picked up a LS1 376/525 horsepower crate motor from GM. Not satisfied with that kind of power, Davison added the massive Holley intake, which took some time to sort out.

“It was a pain in the butt to get it to work with the throttle by wire, which didn’t work at all with the factory GM programming for that motor. There’s so much volume in that intake when you let off the gas, it would just quit,” Davison said. “It didn’t have any idea what to do with all that air volume, so we had to do a lot of programming.”

With no other internal changes to the engine and no more rpm, the engine now makes 551 horsepower at the rear wheels, which Davison estimates to be 625 at the crankshaft, some 100 more than when it left the GM factory. He also estimates that he has about $20,000 in the car total. Not bad for a car he used to win the 2014 NASA Great Lakes Super Unlimited Championship.

That figure includes the nifty rear-view camera system Davison installed. The rear bumper is fitted with a 170-degree camera that feeds video to a screen on the dash. The car has no inside rearview mirror because it doesn’t need one. However, the car was in need of some improvements this offseason, so Davison dropped it at Wes Burton Performance in Concord, N.C.

In addition to rebuilding the shocks, Wes Burton Performance is cutting off and relocating suspension pickup points to square it up for road racing. That also meant building custom front spindles and front control arms, relocating and enlarging the front sway bar, changing the roll center and adding larger Brembo brakes. But the coolest thing Davison is having done is adding negative camber to the rear axle.

“It’s still a quick-change rear axle, with the same center section on it you see in the pictures,” he said. “The axle tubes come straight out, but end of them is welded on crooked for lack of a better word, with a degree or degree and a half of negative camber, and then the axle shaft that goes into the rear end is normal, but at the wheel it is a ball, so the spline where it goes into the drive plate at the wheel is a spherical ball.”

That will give him the handling he needs to keep the car planted through the corners and get the power down sooner. It might even be good enough for another Great Lakes SU Championship.

Owner:

David Davison

Year:

2004

Make:

Left Hander

Model:

Monte Carlo

Weight:

2,780 lbs. w/driver

Engine:

GM crate engine, LS376/525 hp

Suspension:

Front: double wishbone with coilovers

Rear: three link live axle, with coilovers

Tires:

Front: Hoosier Bias 27-10-15

Rear: Hoosier Bias 27-10-15

Brakes:

Front: Wilwood Superlite calipers, 12.19-inch rotor, Hawk DTC 70s

Rear: Wilwood Superlite calipers, 12.19-inch rotor, Hawk DTC 70s

Data system:

NA

Sponsors:

Fatt Boyz Dayton, Hoosier, Hawk Brakes

 

 

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Image courtesy of Brett Becker