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The chassis of a sprint car is quite simple when compared with most other forms of race cars.   It has relatively few suspension pick up points and has no permanent body panels attached.  It is fairly easy to see that the layout of the tubes within the chassis is an attempt to make the overall structure as rigid and light as possible.  In fact, the modern day down tube style chassis forms a giant triangle as its basic structure and weighs in at less than 200lbs.

The front and rear suspension are both of the solid beam axle type which adds to the simplicity and weight savings.  Most sprint cars use torsion bars as springs because over the years that is what has been proven to be the most versatile.  A few sprinters have experimented with the use of coil over shocks in place of torsion bars.  This arrangement has met with significant success on asphalt and notable success on dirt tracks after the surface has dried out and become slick.  Coil over shocks seem to fall short when a dirt track is either wet or rough.  The front axle is positioned in the car using a 3 link system with 2 rods on the right side and one on the left.

The rear axle is of the live axle type meaning the axle is exposed and used to hold the weight of the car as well as provide drive to the tires.  This axle is positioned front to rear using a modified watts link system positioned at each end of the tube.  The axle is held in the center of the car using a jacobs ladder.  The torque tube is bolted to the nose of the center section of the differential and is attached to the engine plate through a swivel joint.  As the differential attempts to twist the torque tube transfers this into lift on the chassis.  

The fuel tank is a plastic shell with a rubber inner liner.  Most tanks have a capacity of between 18 - 25 gallons. Add brakes, wheels and tires and you have a complete rolling chassis. The large top wing can produce in excess of 1,500 lb. of down force on a car that will weight only 1,400 pounds with the driver ready to race.  The front wing, due to its smaller size, produces much less down force but still has an important effect on the handling of the car. 

The last major component to add is the engine.  This is the point at which the simplicity of these cars goes directly out the window.  When a 1,500 pound car is joined with 800+ horsepower , no matter the mechanical simplicity of the underlying car, the racing dynamics become infinitely complicated.  Put 20 to 25 of these cars on a dirt track each having "guessed" what the track conditions are now and what they will do next and you have the recipe for some of the most exciting racing you are likely to see.

Sprint Car Technology