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Just what key elements are involved in turning such mundane factory combos as 305 Malibu wagons and 318 Dusters into competitive Stock class race cars with such restrictive rules? I've heard rumors of weirdly ground camshafts that still check legal by the rules. Can you shed some light here?
Beech Island, SC
Thanks for the question! I think I can answer the question in three words. Work, testing, and money. Actually, it's a lot more complicated than that but those are the basic elements in building a competitive Stocker. Now when I'm talking "competetive" I am referring to a car that not only will repeat itself in "bracket mode" but also will have a fair shot at winning some heads up races also. Some people pick a certain combination simply because that is the type of car they like and they want to see how fast they can make it go in "Stock" trim. Others don't necessarily pay much attention to staying with any particular brand or model of car but instead look through the NHRA classification guide for what they think is possibly a "soft" combination meaning the NHRA factored horsepower and weight is less than it perhaps should be for that combo and it should be a "killer" car in it's respective class. The 305 Malibus were once one of those "under factored" combos and still are very competitive today. I simply don't have the room in this column to go into a thorough breakdown of everything involved in picking and building a Stock Eliminator car but I will cover the highlights. Once you have picked the car and engine combination you want to build it is all about the details. Complete disassembly of every component in and on the car. Legally shaving weight from every potential source so you can later ad it back in where it's needed. Cutting rotating weight to a minimum. Cutting rolling resistance to a minimum. Basically making everything you can get your hands on as perfect as it can be with the goal of going fast in a straight line. As for the camshafts there really isn't any "weirdly ground" cams that check legal. The cams in a Stocker are generally ground with a lot of "area under the curve". What that means is that if you are limited to say .440" VALVE lift in a HO 302 Mustang, you will have a cam custom ground to give you right at or just under .440" lift taking into account the real observed rocker arm ratio, pushrod geometry, etc. Then the lobes are ground to have very fast, aggressive opening ramps, stay open a long time, then close quickly. Basically a cam with a lot more duration than would normally be found with only .440" valve lift. That is a simplified description but I think you get the picture. Best advice if you are considering building a Stocker is to start hanging out with people that have them, don't come off as a know it all, and be prepared to try LOTS of ideas that don't work until you find some that do. It really is....that simple! Hope this helps!