Before the 2019 season began, South Boston Speedway announced several new engine options for the Limited Sportsman Division to make the division more affordable and competitive.
Three-quarters of the way through the season, the move gets a big “thumbs up.”
The new Limited rules allow five different engine options. Three of those different options have visited victory lane this season and four of the five have been run on a regular basis.
“We made this move because GM stopped producing the 603-crate engine and it was getting harder and harder to find those parts and when you could they weren’t affordable,” said Jeff Bomar, South Boston Speedway’s head technical inspector on race nights. “We knew we needed to do something to keep it affordable and competitive.
“It seems like we hit on something that works. We’ve had teams running most of the engine options all year and three different ones have won. It’s been very competitive.”
The five options available for teams are: the GM crate 602, the Ford crate 347 JR, the steel-head engines being phased out of Late Model Stock cars, the GM 604 and the GM 603 crate, which teams have used for a decade or so and is no longer produced.
Daniel Moss and Jacob Borst have won with the GM 603 crate engine, Danny Willis Jr. and Eric Winslow have won with the GM 604 and J.D. Eversole with the steel-head engine.
“I think it’s (engine rules) working really good. I certainly think the longer we keep this intact, we will pull more cars from different places,” said Brian Pembelton, who won 11 Limited races and a championship at South Boston during his driving career and now fields a car for his 14-year-old son Landon. “That’s the goal we all want to achieve. It should help multiple tracks to be able to send multiple entries to South Boston.”
Pembelton believes the new engine rules have had a positive impact on his young son’s rookie season.
“We’re coming in with Landon and he’s very inexperienced. I’m happy we could come in with an engine package and be competitive with the 604,” said Pembelton. “The big thing for me is to come in with him at this young age and any of the packages we put under him is going to be competitive.”
“I think each motor shines in different areas,” said Justin Borst, father, car owner and crew chief of Jacob Borst, who has won twice this season with the GM 603 crate engine. “To be honest, if you are going to have multiple combinations, they have done a good job with the parity of them. I think they are real close.”
Racing returns to South Boston Speedway Saturday, August 24 with the NASCAR Late Model 100. There will a 100-lap race for the Late Models, twin 25-lap races for Limited Sportsman Division, a 30-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division, a 15-lap event for the Budweiser Hornets Division and a special 25-lap race featuring the Southern Ground Pounders.
Grandstands open at 5:30 p.m., qualifying starts at 6 p.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 with children 12-and-under admitted free with a paying adult.