Ricky Brooks, chief technical inspector for the Southern Super Series, responded Friday to criticism surrounding the Sealed Engine Alliance Leaders’ (S.E.A.L.) decision to place a 1.350” restrictor plate on Hamner sealed engines, effective immediately for Sunday’s Rattler 250.
Brooks outlined the process which has been used to set the baseline for the S.E.A.L. program to Speed51, and how recent tests factored into the decision.
“First of all, I pulled eight motors back in 2011 at the Snowball out of cars that had wrecked or whatever,” said Brooks. “I hand-picked all eight motors. We took them to the dyno, and those are my baseline numbers. Everything I’ve pulled since 2011 has met the baseline numbers up until this point.
“We pulled motors last year in Vegas, brought them back, checked them, everything checked out,” Brooks continued. “Pulled motors during the year, everything checked out, still spot-on. We pulled motors at the [Snowball] Derby, dyno-ed them.
“One motor was outside those guidelines,” Brooks concluded. “A number of changes – and it wasn’t changes that were authorized, it wasn’t changes that part suppliers quit making, it was changes that they chose to change on their own without getting approval. That led up to the sequence of events and why I put a restrictor on them.”
Brooks acknowledged the last-minute nature of the change, days before the Southern Super Series season opener and one of Super Late Model racing’s biggest events, was less than desirable, but dictated by the circumstances at hand.
“I don’t like the last-minute thing either,” Brooks confessed. “I’ve been getting heat ever since the Snowball about these numbers, ‘What am I going to do?’ I tried to get everybody together. With getting that many people together, schedules and everything, this past Monday was the only time I could get them together.
“We made the decision on Monday,” Brooks added. “It should have been out on Tuesday, but we didn’t get it out until Wednesday. It is what it is.
“I don’t want to lose any drivers because we can’t afford to lose any drivers,” Brooks also said. “But we can’t afford to let something run that exceeds the limits of a sealed alliance on engines.”
The next step towards resolving the Hamner issue could be a dramatic one, according to Brooks. Brooks was particularly disappointed in remarks such as those made by Hamner Racing Engines owner Justin Oertel in response to the S.E.A.L. announcement.
“They may have to take all their motors back in, whether it’s 100 or 200 motors, and put them back the way they were,” Brooks said. “Or, the way they’ve acted the last couple of days, they could lose their program to build those engines. I have somebody else, somebody that’s not currently in our program right now, that can take that program back in.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo