Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

Southern Ontario Racer Tests Crate Motors

Mosport Speedway stock car competitor and Environmental Systems president Bill Northam has launched an unusual project for his #85 Bill Shackleton-ReMax Spirit Inc./SSGM Challenger: A sealed GM motors...


Mosport Speedway stock car competitor and Environmental Systems president Bill Northam has launched an unusual project for his #85 Bill Shackleton-ReMax Spirit Inc./SSGM Challenger: A sealed GM motorsports crate motor. Driving against purpose-built race engines with the 330 horsepower 9.1:1 V-8, Northam has not finished lower than fifth, often running second to another “crate”-powered competitor: Queensville, Ontario-based Kyle Donaldson. “We think that it’s comparable; I’ve run second to fifth, and Donaldson has probably won 80 percent of the races”, declares Northam, who notes that the crate engines give away a little in both compression and valve diameter to built engines, yet are capable of running up front. Northam declares that the engine is competitive with conservative gearing, ignition timing and mixture settings, and is cammed mildly enough to allow a smooth idle, suggesting development potential through RPM’s and tuning. “It’s allowed us to really work on our setup. We’re playing with tire pressures and adjusting the sway bar. I’ve scaled the car more than ever before.” Is this the future of short track racing? “We’ve got three at our track and nobody’s having engine trouble”, states Northam. Challenger cars are a popular late-model style race car based on stock front clip specifications with extensive chassis adjustability and strict engine rules.