Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



The Difference Between Race Cars and Street Cars 9

Posted on January 13, 2016 by Martin Banks

Stock car racing got its name from the early days of the sport, when racecars were strictly stock cars from the factory that had a few performance and safety tweaks. The stock cars we watch today have come a long way from their ancestors, constantly improving and resetting the standards of racing.

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How do today’s stock cars differ from what you can buy from the factory? There are several major differences:

The Engine

For comparison, we’ll use a NASCAR engine. NASCAR engine blocks are custom-made, not modified from the original engine block. They do, however, share some similarities with the original. They have the same number of cylinders, the same base displacement and the same cylinder bore centerlines. Where NASCAR engines stand in stark contrast to regular engines is in the power – they’re consistently modified so they can produce the maximum.

One main difference comes in the NASCAR engine’s cam profile. It’s designed to keep the intake valves open longer, which means more air can be packed into the cylinders. More air and fuel is let in through the use of carburetors, unlike street cars, which mostly use fuel injection. Read the rest of this entry →

Get Into Racing With These 5 Affordable Cars 13

Posted on September 08, 2015 by Martin Banks

You may be the biggest racing fan on the planet, and you want to try your hand at the circuit. What it all comes down to, though, is money. You can’t run with the big guns until you get a car and dedicate it to racing.

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With all these souped-up racecars around, you may think it costs a fortune to get a car up and running for racing. This simply isn’t true. You can start with any basic, affordable sporty car – even a factory one, right off the assembly line. The point is, racers add to their cars as they go.

How do you think great racers started in the first place? That race-ready Volkswagen Jetta didn’t just fall into their hands – they worked hard to get it there. You can, too; but you’ll need to pick a set of wheels first. Here are some cheap and reliable suggestions:

Volkswagen Golf GTI

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If you’re looking for the perfect starter, look no further than the Golf. Hailed by racers for a little more than a decade, this is a modder’s dream car. It’s a hot little hatch with some screaming power – 210 horsepower and a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine.

While the car’s acceleration is a tad slow at 8.5 seconds, it makes up for it with its unrivaled agility. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

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