Carl Schultz, Five Star Bodies CEO releases a letter to the racing community
Short track racing on any surface is likely to bring drama to the surface. Typically, that means on track action. In this case, the drama has extended to the board room.
Since 2013, Five Star Bodies has been attempting to release a gen-6 body for asphalt late model racing. Each time, the body has been rejected by the ABC Committee.
ABC Committee: CRA Super Series, Midwest Tour, Big 8 Late Model Series, CARS Tour, Northwest Super Late Model Series, the Race of Champions, Southern Super Series and SRL Southwest Tour as well as several race promoters.
The current body styles in asphalt late model racing come from a near ancient time period. The current shape was approved in 2004. Since then, a new body shape has not been approved.
Arguably the biggest hangup is that Five-Star Bodies is the only company to design a gen-6 template. AR Bodies hasn’t been working on the development of a new body shape. The ABC Committee doesn’t want the new body to be available from one manufacture.
However, the Five Star Bodies CEO has stated that the door is open for other manufactures to join in. They’ve even offered the mold templates to AR Bodies, a gift that has been refused.
In an interesting twist, Five Star Bodies has elected to release their gen-6 body anyway. As of this week, it’s now available for purchase for the first time since the 2013 announcement. However, that body has also been disapproved.
October 31, 2018: ABC Committee to Five Star Bodies
“The Sanctioning Bodies, Tracks and Special Events (of the ABC Committee) would like to inform all asphalt short track Late Model competitors and teams that the proposed Short Track Body being marketed by Five Star Stock Car Bodies has not received approval of these industry leaders and at a minimum, as it currently stands, will not be recognized by these and many other Sanctioning Bodies, Tracks and Special Events for 2019.”
“The number one priority from these organizations has been to ensure an introduction that does not jeopardize the health of our industry. We are working with the manufacturers to ensure the proper introduction of a new body, and we look forward to announcing the details when the goals of these groups have been met.”
November 1, 2018: Carl Schultz, Five Star Bodies CEO letter to the racing community
The owner of Five Star Bodies has released a note addressing all the points made by the ABC committee in a previous release. He released the following letter to the racing community following another disapproval by ABC:
Dear Members of the Late Model Racing Community,
Five Star has taken the initiative to invest in the future of late model racing and released the 2019 Late Model body. As a founding member of the ABC Committee, we believe this new body will benefit all stakeholders in the industry, just as the 2004 body achieved. As such, we would like to address a few concerns around pricing, aerodynamics, and participation from other manufacturers:
– New body is the same price as the current body.
– A 3% price cap has been established – only to cover annual material cost surges if needed.
– Five Star serves as a sole supplier for several other top racing series across the country, and we have a strong track record of never taking advantage of a sole supplier scenario. Our quality, service, and pricing has never faltered.
– We have proven to the ABC Committee, and they agreed, that the aerodynamics between the current 2004 body design and the new body are equal. This is the quote from their July 18, 2018 letter; “after discussing the test with those from our committee that were present (at the June 21st, 2018 wind tunnel test), we are comfortable with the performance of the new body in comparison to the existing ABC Body”.
– Racers are not obligated to buy this new body to remain competitive.
– The new & old body are designed to run competitively side by side.
-Wind tunnel data from four complete rounds of wind tunnel testing is available to any appropriate party.
ACCESS PLAN FOR OTHER MANUFACTURERS
– Five Star invested several hundred thousand dollars in designing this body with much collaboration with industry experts. We have done all we could to encourage AR Bodies to participate.
– Five Star has very generously offered Master Patterns to AR Bodies at no cost to manufacture their tooling/molds. AR Bodies has declined this offer.
– There is still a clear path into the program for AR Bodies to manufacture/supply this new body going forward.
As stated in our advertising, everything that has been done in the design and testing of the new Late Model body has been done with the full intent of the ABC Program in mind. We look forward to full ABC approval and adoption of the new 2019 Late Model Body.
We thank the growing list of tracks and promoters who are allowing the 2019 body to run.
December 11, 2013: Five star bodies releases the gen-6 body for the first time.
November 24, 2017: ABC issues a letter that they would like more testing data from the new body style. They stated they wanted to sit in on the wind tunnel test.
November 29, 2017: PASS and TUNDRA Super Late Model Series approve the new body.
January 29, 2018: ABC Committee to Five Star Bodies
“We wanted to bring you up to speed on the ‘New 2018 ABC Body’ proposed by Fivestar and displayed in December of 2017 at PRI in Indianapolis. We, the ABC Committee, have not approved this body package and do not intend to allow this body in competition until November of 2018 at the earliest, pending approval.”
“There seems to be some misinformation out there and we know some teams are ready for a new look, which we agree with. That being said, we have been discussing price and competitive data with Fivestar since 2015 and recently received aero numbers and pricing for the first time during late August of 2017.”
From there, the ABC Committee went on to note a list of things they would like to see in regards to the new body style.
– 1. “A comparative wind tunnel test between the current ABC body and proposed body has been requested. Currently the only aero data available to the ABC Committee, is from a closed door wind tunnel test conducted without any committee members present.”
“We are simply asking for a more transparent test to satisfy all parties involved, as to the parity of the proposed body versus the current ABC design. Since our mid-December 2017 request for additional testing, Fivestar has had zero communication with the ABC Committee.”
“The goal of this test is to determine how to acquire the closest aerodynamic parity possible, thus NOT forcing our teams to ‘have to’ switch bodies. This is important on multiple fronts, but with no single part from the current approved ABC body being able to be utilized on the proposed body, a complete changeover and adaptation of one’s Late Model would be necessary.”
– 2. “A key point has been to lock the price of the proposed body. In all likely hood, an approval of this body will create a single provider for this design, thus pricing is and remains an important topic.”
“Additionally, we have proposed a ‘no lightweight’ option, which has been met with quite a bit of push back from the manufacturer. An effort has been made regarding how additional body manufacturers would be able to participate in this program, producing identical components to the proposed Fivestar design.”
– 3. “Timing of the release of proposed body is also of importance in this decision. Regardless of approval or not, Fivestar executives were uncertain of their exact release date of the proposed body when they spoke with our group at PRI in December of 2017.”
“They indicated that they were to go to the wind tunnel in January of 2018 to work on nose designs for all three manufacturers. The ABC Committee believes that a partial release in which not all manufacturers are available and/or a release near the beginning of or once the season has begun does not serve the industry in the best manner. Thus the proposed on-track date of November of 2018, pending approval.”
– 4. “Approval by other groups appears to be on the table, in the end that is their right. The ABC Committee would like to remind you that these groups have not been involved with this project or been working toward a price lock and the competitive aspects of this proposed body as we have.”
“It is our intention to continue down the approval process from a financial and on-track competitive stance that will continue to move the industry of asphalt short track Late Model racing forward for years to come. We invite all groups to join us in this effort. Thank you for your continued support of short track auto racing.”