ICAR officials have built their series to provide an outlet for drivers to get started in late models while working toward that upgrade in equipment and series if they choose that route.
The ICAR Late Model Series enters its fifth season of competition this weekend at Stateline Speedway. New this year will be double-file restarts, similar to those used in NASCAR, and a strong crop of rookie drivers.
One thing that has most in the region talking is the signing this week of Appleway Parts Center and GM Performance Parts as the series’ new title sponsor. The opportunity to bring one of the region’s largest automobile dealerships together with one of the fastest-growing late model programs in the Northwest is met with tempered enthusiasm, according to ICAR co-founder Corey Juhnke.
“2010 is going to be exciting and rewarding for the drivers in ICAR,” Juhnke said. “Our drivers have a tangible prize at the end of the year with Appleway Parts Center and GM Performance Parts providing us a 604 GM Crate Motor. We will be outfitting this motor with the required accessories and present it as a prize.
“The winner of the motor will come from a drawing of the top five drivers in the final 2010 series points. A driver will have the right to refuse the motor if they’d like, and if that happens we’ll draw again. Our stipulation to the winner is that the motor must be run in the ICAR Series in 2011.”
Appleway’s staff is excited to be part of ICAR’s new season and its new involvement.
“(Appleway) has been around for over 80 years,” said parts director Mark Marlatt. “It has been supported by our community, and when we have an opportunity and the means to give back, we do. In this particular occasion, we were able to use earned marketing funds through GM Performance to support the ICAR Series. We know that the car owners, drivers, crews and fans are our customers. To be able to support ICAR, which aligns us with what we do day to day – the automotive business – is just icing on the cake.”
The 604 engine and its 400 horsepower output is becoming a standard for late model racing. Drivers look to get comfortable in a division, then consider advancing to series that have motor rules that allow more horsepower then offered by a sealed crate. ICAR motor rules restrict horsepower output to a range of 400-450 horsepower, with all cars running the same intake manifold for additional limitation.
ICAR officials have built their series to provide an outlet for drivers to get started in late models while working toward that upgrade in equipment and series if they choose that route, Juhnke said. Having Appleway and GM Performance Parts involved allows more exposure for their growing group, he said.
“The ICAR Late Model Series is an integral part of racing in the Northwest and home to some of the best competitors, as well as an important training ground for the development of future elite drivers that can advance to Super Late Model shows in the region,” Juhnke said. “To have Appleway and GM help this division and continue to mold the careers of our competitors, and the future they may build, will provide some thrilling racing for our fan base.”
Offering the crate motor to a series driver for future use keeps the ICAR principle of affordable racing with an even playing field viable to drivers, Marlatt said.
“Since the motor comes from the factory sealed (restricting access to adjust the internal parts), it helps level the playing field,” he said. “Once the motors are even, then it all comes down to car setup and racing ability, which provides the fans what they want to see which is good close racing. Because of these two features, there has been increased popularity of the crate motor in circle track racing (across the country).”
The increased popularity will enhance entry-level late model racing and grow car counts, Juhnke said. ICAR has already witnessed an increased number of drivers for 2010, including Rookie of the Year contender Blake Williams, who cut his teeth in Stateline’s Fever Four division before advancing to Juhnke’s series.
For information on the ICAR Late Model Series opener, visit www.raceidaho.com.