OK, I HAVE ANSWERS FOR ALL OF YOU. I'll do my best to not make this a cluster$%(#.
The big dilema seems to be residual value, so I"ll tackle that one first. Professional.Dreamer and I and a couple other people have been whacking it out over email, and here is the final result: Bring a $500 car to Chump Car.
The Lemons residual value was created so people could fix their broke-ass rigs, but many (including me) took it as a means to upgrade their cars. If those upgrades have pushed you over $500, you'll be getting penalty laps in ChumpCar.
Having said that, if you've replaced broken tie rods and suspension bushings and engines and transmissions and WHATEVER with good used parts (junkyard, craigslist etc) then ChumpCar doesn't even look at it. How are they to know? So they give the open door on that one. If you've replaced key suspension or steering parts with new stock and it was cheap, it'll likely only get a passing glance, and you'll be fine (not so for engines/trannys, obviously). Bring documentation. That's within the spirit of $500 crap can racing. But, if you've upgraded to poly or heim joints or you have a shiny new racing whatever, expect to be penalized
A quote from the email string that sums it up: "But don't assume that if you BS'd your way through Lemons, that you will be able to BS your way through Chumpcar."
$500 cars people, well documented, too.
The rules verbatim:
4.3. Approved Post-Race Parts Replacement and Vehicle Value Determination (Previously Section 5.6):
4.3.1. All cars entering Safety & Technical Inspection in any ChumpCar World Series event shall have a full and complete value of $500 or less. This $500 value, as detailed and discussed in Sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the ChumpCar World Series Rules, is less whatever cost-reduction sales you can document and/or all approved and specified safety items. The $500 value is regardless of past racing use in any other series or event. You either have a $500 crap-can race car or you don't.
4.3.2. After any previous ChumpCar World Series (or other) racing event, teams may replace any worn, broken, ventilated, impaled, defective or bent-beyond-all-recognition parts on their car -- anything -- without affecting the value of the car so long as it's a used or junkyard part and it’s OEM and it's 100% stock. No new parts; no aftermarket crap; no OEM part that's been modified or upgraded in any way… and no swapped parts just because they fit. Everything has to be OEM and 100% stock and well used to qualify for the no-added-value pass. It would serve all teams to keep their junkyard or CraigsList receipts.
18.104.22.168. For vehicles with non-original powertrain swaps (e.g. – 1988 Yugo with 350c.i. V-8), we don’t want to discourage creative engineering… so… used/OEM/stock powertrain parts replacements are allowed provided you can prove that your vehicle did participate in a ChumpCar World Series event prior to the parts replacement with the same or comparable powertrain swap installed. If you can’t prove it, we’ll have to inspect your car thoroughly… but once that’s done,
you’ll have the proof needed for the next time. It’s pretty simple, really!
4.3.3. Other than replacing or repairing necessary and approved safety items listed in Section 4.2 of the ChumpCar World Series Rules (such as brake pads, hoses or other operation-critical parts), Teams are allowed a maximum allowance of $50 of non-OEM replacement parts after every race. Want some Nylon bushings to tighten up that suspension of yours? If you can get them for $50, fine – if not, rethink your plan. Teams are advised to have solid documentation for parts purchased (with dates on all receipts) and realize that once the $50 is gone, you've spent your wad. That's all you can do until the next race. If we find any trick racing crap on your car that isn’t within the $50… you're toast.
4.3.4. If you’ve built a legal car (under $500 value), and you can keep it legal (under $500 value), and you’d like to avoid having to go through Technical Inspection at every race… teams that have successfully completed a ChumpCar inspection and an event without any ChumpCheck penalties may request that
their vehicle be assigned a fixed “LESS THAN $500 VALUE” -- that is, if you’re going to race that same POS again.
4.3.5. Section 4.3.4 refers ONLY to Technical inspection. All cars must undergo a Safety inspection at every event.
4.3.6. Requests must be filed using the Official ChumpCar “LESS THAN $500 VALUE” Form (available on-line or at ChumpCar Tech Inspection).
4.3.7. Any entrant, team or vehicle receiving an approved “LESS THAN $500 VALUE” and is subsequently found to have added components that bring the value of the vehicle in excess of $500 (otherwise known as cheating-after-the-fact) will be penalized $50 and the funds donated to charity. Additionally, the car will be issued an immediate 25 lap penalty at whatever event they are entered in and the car will be refused a fixed value approval in the future.
4.3.8. “LESS THAN $500 VALUE” approvals may be rescinded by ChumpCar at any time.
4.4. What Section 4.3 means is this… we’re very serious about a $500 value. Don’t screw with us and we won’t screw with you.
Bob, the engineering award is a very straight-forward award. Any engineering feat will be analyzed and rated. Nothing about banned or dangerous, nothing about heroics. If you built something very cool to make your car faster/better, you're in contention. Gimmics (such as our windmill =pointless) will be looked at but really won't be in contention, unless they work.
The midwest is simply a 'can we do it' evaluation, along with cost of tracks. I know John has been working incredibly hard to try and get everywhere, but in the end it's a numbers game.
Bongle, as I understand it Lemons is done expanding. That is where the motivation for ChumpCar came in - to service the under-serviced areas, and that's the motivation for ChumpCar's 'no-compete' rule.
As for entrant choices, I haven't heard an official word, but based on my experiences so far I'd bet heavily on the choice being made based on quality of race experience for everyone less than theme. Wanna race a 59 Edsel? You'll have a lot of convincing in ChumpCar and are a shoe-in at Lemons, that's my bet (totally a bet, though. No word yet)
Jer, PIR is a fast, fast track and this is a full 24 hour race. It should be a hell of an opener and I've not been more excited since my first race, ever.