Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Dirt Stock Car Racing Works

        Auto | NASCAR Racing

Dirt Racing Stock Cars

­The cars used on dirt tracks run the gamut from high-performance racing machines to junkyard clunkers. Vehicle weight, engine type, frame style, rear ends, fuel system, transmission and framing materials are just a few of the variables that help define a division, or class, of dirt race car to ensure races are competitive [source: Holder].

­Dirt Late Model -- As the top-of-the line machine on dirt, these are low-slung, very wide, super-fast racing juggernauts. Weighing in at 2,300 pounds (1,043 kilograms), they use high compression V-8 engines that can generate up to 800 horsepower. Bodies are made from aluminum, giving them all a Batmobile-type look. The car's rear end is completely open; spoilers provide down force. These very expensive machines (an engine alone can run $35,000) are very popular with fans.

Limited Late Models -- Also known as sportsman and super sportsman cars, late model stocks or outlaw cadets; some of these models look just like dirt late models. A limited late model typically uses a small-block V-8 with a 5.7-liter engine. Most tracks have a displacement limit for a limited late model engine. Frames can also be a standard automotive type.

Crate Engine Late Models -- This vehicle combines a dirt late model with a standard crate engine from one of the "big three" auto manufacturers (Chrysler, Ford and General Motors). Sealed so it can't be modified, this vehicle runs under $5,000.

Modified -- This vehicle typically combines a stock car, with a lighter-weight body, and good performance at a reasonable price. These are easy to spot, since part of the front body is exposed, giving the car an open-wheel look in front and offering a view of the racing machine's power plant. Most of these cars use a small-block (5.7-liter) Chevy carbureted engine.

Entry Level -- Also known as hobby stocks, street stocks, pure stocks, bombers, factory stocks or stingers; requirements for this category can vary greatly. Some tracks will specify that this class is for novice drivers only. Typically, roll cages must be welded into the frame. All glass, vinyl, upholstery and lights must be removed from the vehicle [source: Columbus Speedway].

Wonder where you can find dirt-racing tracks? Go to the next page and keep reading to learn more.