As if responding point-by-point to the ABC Committee, Five Star Body CEO Carl Schultz released an open letter of his own on Thursday afternoon after the group of influential regional short track promoters once again refused to approve the Gen-6 Super Late Model body released on Wednesday.
The current members of the ABC Committee are made up of the 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 — a considerable collection of promoters from all corners of the continent.
The two parties have been involved in a back-and-forth for over four years regarding the approval of the next-generation body style for Super Late Models to replace the ones that have been in use since the 2004 season.
Five Star stated an intent to release this body since 2014 but the ABC Committee said it would only do so if the body was wanted by a majority of teams, had equal downforce numbers to the current body and featured a price lock to keep the bodies near the same price as those currently on the market.
It’s also worth noting that AR Bodies has opted to not make their own Gen-6 body at current time, risking Five Star becoming the sole body supplier for Super Late Model teams across the country.
Thus, both the ABC Committee and Five Star have gone back and forth over the past half-decade. It came to a head on Wednesday when Five-Star finally made the body available for purchase and the ABC once again rejected it at current time with a short letter stating that its goals were not met.
In his letter to the short track industry, Schultz addressed each point the Committee has made over the years. That letter can be read in its entirety below.
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.