Behind the Wheel
Kings Without Wings
XCEL CHASSIS 600 MODIFIED FITS RACERS BIG AND SMALL
The Xcel Chassis 600 modified may be classified as a small car until you see the speeds on any size race track and the same could be said for the competitors that drive them. The discussions over the years have been the labeling of a small car and the perception that you have to be average size or below to be competitive.
Doug Borger, founder of the 600 modifieds, wants to throw that idea out the window. " I can't tell you how many people come up to me and ask if they can fit in one of my cars. As they put it, Can this fat boy get in the car and run up front? The best part is when I tell them some of the champions are some of the big guys in the series and I make it a point to have them talk to one of the drivers. When you look at the numbers these guys have accumulated, you just can't deny the fact that one size does fit all when it comes to a 600 modified. Just like Harley Davidson has their Fat Boy motorcycle, we also have a FB set up but we don't call it fat boy, we call it "Forward Bite"
Modifed stand out Brian "Big Daddy" Mady was the first to put the set up to the test and in his first year of racing garnered "Most Improved" followed up by a championship one year later. "I thought my height and weight would put me at a disadvantage until I hit the track. Once we figured out the set up I needed, there was no looking back. The minimum weight for the car and driver is 900 lbs. and I usually ran around 1100 the year I won the championship. The biggest fear for me was when I lost my weight how much it would affect the set up which I have to say it never did. If you want to talk from one extreme to the other compare me, Eric Whitby and Aaron Bowes to Abbey Price or Steven Sherwood. It's kinda like have a Cadillac Escalade versus a Smart Car. Doug helped us a lot during our first year and now we start with the basic FB set up and go from there."
Aaron Bowes easily one of the tallest drivers topping out at 6'3" doesn't see his height as a problem. Just as Mady adjusted his car to his liking so has Bowes. " My dad actually bought the car Brian won the Championship from his owner Wayne Kuehn. After talking with them and Doug, my set up is really not that far off the average guy. I run the average guy set up and move my seat back farther."
" I think the best part of talking to the fans is when I tell them I drive the #12e at Lindas Speedway on a weekly basis," stated Eric Whitby, "and their jaw drops to the floor or when I point out guys like Brian and Aaron. It doesn't matter if you run a 1/4 mile track like Lindas or the 3/8 mile at Penn Can Speedway just like it doesn't matter how big or tall you are. If you spend the time working in the garage and at the track, you're gonna run upfront every week."
The Forward Bite or FB set up, as it's called in the shop, is nothing drastic compared to a basic set up. Borger took the time to explain the differences and slight adjustments drivers can easily adapt. " The position of the seat has to be the biggest adjustment. You want to keep in mind to have the center of gravity close to the track so lowering the seat and moving it back is sometimes the only thing you need. Most of the difference is in the spring package and the pan hard bar placement but you also take into account the driving style and track you run. We can also angle the steering shaft up or down from the standard placement right here at the shop.
Every Monday I call the person who has the rental for the following weekend and I ask them height and weight and make the adjustments. When I started building the modified, the only time I wanted weight or height to be an issue was the minimum the car and driver must go over the scales after the race. It doesn't matter whether your big or small, short or tall, we can accommodate anybody who wants to race."
The Xcel Chassis 600 modified Series will open the 2013 season on April 7th at Five Mile Point Speedway located in Kirkwood, NY. The following Sunday April 12th, the mighty modifieds will return to Minersville, PA to tackle the high speeds at Big Diamond Speedway.
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