Modified and Stock Racing Explained
If you are planning to race electric, you’ll notice two major classes of racing
above the Novice class: Modified (or “Open”) and Stock racing (often referred
to as “Spec”). “Modified” means that you can run as powerful a motor as
you like. The Stock/Spec classes
specify which motor you must
use, typically a 17. 5 T or 13. 5 T—
much slower than the hot motors
used in Mod class. In theory,
the reduced power in the Stock
classes is meant to provide close
racing, with driving skill being
the primary focus. Don’t confuse
this class with Novice. In truth,
Stock racing at many tracks is
highly competitive, with racers
finding small but significant (and,
frequently, expensive) ways
to gain an edge in performance
either by altering setup, parts to
their vehicles, or ways to prepare
their tires. Some tracks acknowledge the popularity and the big variances in
ability, and have adopted Sportsman, Expert Stock Racing, and sometimes
even Masters for those 40 years and older. Watch the action and talk to the
racers to see where you best fit into the Stock scene. When in doubt, err on
the side of going slower. You can always move up to a faster class, and it’s
more fun when you’re not racing over your head.
Are You a Beginner, Sportsman, or Expert?
If attendance is healthy enough at your track, the classes may
be broken down not only by vehicle type but also by skill level.
Which skill class should you sign up for? That’s easy: Beginner
(or Novice). “But I’ve been driving RC for over a year…” Trust
us, you’re a beginner. “But I’m 30 years old.” Yeah, beginner.
If it turns out that you’ve got the chops to move right into
Sportsman, you’ll know when you win every race on your first
day. If you skip the Beginner class out of pride and you can’t
hang, you’re just going to be an obstacle to better drivers,
which is no fun for you or them. We get it—“Beginner” doesn’t
sound very cool. But rest assured, no one cares, and everyone
was a beginner once. If anything, be happy that you get to race
against guys (and, hopefully, gals) that have similar skills and
track experience—it’s more fun that way.
At big races, cars must pass tech inspection before they can race.
Now that you’ve got your vehicle ready, it’s time to go racing—but there are
things to make your experience more enjoyable to you and for those around
you. Start by showing up early and getting signed up for the class you intend
to race. Once you’ve paid your fee, you’ll be ready to set up your pit space and
prepare your car for the track. If you’ve arrived early enough, there should be
time set aside for you to get some practice in.
Next comes qualifying, and the race director will post a listing of heat races.
Most tracks run two qualifiers to determine starting order for the Main (the
final race for all the marbles). If the track doesn’t have a ton of races to get
through, you may get three qualifiers. Qualifying is typically done “IFMAR
style,” with drivers released onto the track at intervals. This is done because
qualifying is a race against the clock, not the other drivers. After all the
qualifiers are done, your worst performance is thrown out, leaving your best
one or two qualifiers to determine starting order.
Races aren’t just won on the track—
victory is forged in the pits.
In Modified classes, you can run as much
horsepower as you like. In Stock and Spec
classes, you’re limited to one type: typically
17. 5 T or 13.5T motors.