Getting Into Gear Bristol Edition

By Scott Barglof

Kyle Brown Stock Car
Photo Courtesy of Speedway Shots

A giant field of entries awaits the upcoming Bristol Dirt Nationals March 15-20, 2021. Competitors from all over the country leaped on the opening day of registration for this mega-event. A murderer’s row of competitors have entered the event across all the racing divisions. From Hornets to Super Late Models there is a giant amount of speculation and intrigue surrounding gearing for the legendary half mile oval.

Here is a rundown of what we learned during gear testing last week in Bristol. Obviously the R&D of the race teams will continue to evolve all the way up until the Saturday Night Features but here is a brief recap of the gearing in the supporting divisions.

Kyle Brown tested a stock car and offered his thoughts on gear in that division. “Everyone should probably come down with a 5.29, 5.43. If you get up around that top when it speeds up or we get a fast heat race a 5.14 might be the place to be.”

Stock Cars
5.14 on a heavy surface
5.29 to 5.43 as the track comes in
5.67 when the track slows down

Brown tested in Mike Van Genderen’s crate modified and had the following thoughts on gear for the 604 crate engine in that division.“When I drove Mike’s mod he had a 4.68 in it and it was on the chip mid straightaway. I’d probably start with a 4.60 maybe have a 4.50 or 4.55 ready. I think they make a 4.48 and a 4.54. I’d be right around there” said Brown.

Crate Modified
4.50 Heavy Surface
4.60 to 4.80 As the track comes in
4.91 When the track slows down

SportMod
4.71 Heavy Surface
4.86 to 5.00 As the track comes in
5.14 When the track slows down

Open Modified
Steve Arpin tested his open mod during the gear testing session at Bristol Motor Speedway. Arpin used a 5.11 and turned 8200 RPMs around the high-banked half mile.

604 Crate Late Model
4.86-5.00

John Ketron tested his hornet on the Bristol Dirt and gave us an insight into what he ran. “I ran a M2S4 transmission which is the 4th generation SI Prelude tranny. I was at a 1.32 in third with a 4.266 final drive.”

Bristol Dirt straightaway speed appears close to most half mile dirt tracks or slightly slower. Bristol Dirt corners maintain speed much better than most half miles. Bristol Dirt has tons of grip in the high banked corners as was evident in the gear testing broadcast.

We are looking forward to a great show at Bristol for the Bristol Dirt Nationals. The best of the best will take to the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt surface for the first time in over 20 years. Don’t miss a minute of the Bristol Dirt Nationals in person or you can watch every lap live at XR+ beginning March 15th.