Late Model Stock Cars are easily the most popular form of circle track competition in the United States. In most cases, Late Model race cars, so named because they tend to be based on the most up-to-date production models, are often the highest class of vehicle racing at local stock cars events. Varieties of late models (ranked from highest vehicle performance to lowest) include Super Late Models, Late Models, and Limited Late Models. Some series require crate engines to be utilized by racecars under their sanction. Vehicles raced on dirt are significantly different from vehicles raced on asphalt. Asphalt late model racing is an extremely common stepping stone for drivers who race in regional and national touring series including NASCAR.
The rules for Late Model Stock Car racing can vary greatly from series to series or even track to track. At many events, small block V8 engines are the norm while others are restricted to either four or six cylinder powerplants with varying displacement limits. Other limitations are also imposed such as carburetor size and type, cylinder head design, and the use of exotic components such as titanium. Most events also feature a rule regarding tire size and/or construction as a way to help maintain a level playing field and control costs.
In most cases, a Late Model Stock Car must feature a body that resembles a 1980 or later production vehicle and there are often strict limits on height and width as well as aerodynamic improvements such as wings, spoilers, and front splitters. All late models must feature an approved roll cage and a variety of other safety related features up to an including a window net, specially designed form-fitting seat, on board fire suppression system and a multi-point harness.
Late Model Stock Cars – Fast Facts
In 2010, third-generation driver Cody Coughlin made his debut behind the wheel of a 420-horsepower JEGS.com Chevy Impala SS Late Model Stock Car in the ASA Late Model Northern Series.
In just his third start in a Late Model Stock Car, Cody Coughlin was able to complete all 100 laps of the Octoberfest 100 event at LaCrosse Speedway in West Salem, Wis. Racing against competitors more than twice his age, the 14-year old stayed on the lead lap and finished a respectable 17th.
Almost all of today’s top NASCAR stars including Jimmy Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., have also logged time behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock Car.
One of the most popular Late Model Stock Car events is the annual Prelude to a Dream event held each year at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Hosted by Tony Stewart, the Prelude to a Dream is a television pay-per-view event which benefits various charities and attracts many racers from various disciplines including NASCAR, IndyCar, Road Racing, and NHRA Drag Racing.
On any given weekend, there are literally thousands of Late Model Stock Cars running at both dirt and asphalt tracks across the country. In some areas, it is possible to race a Late Model Stock Car three or four times each week.