A next-generation body is finally coming to Super Late Model racing.
The tracks, sanctioning bodies and industry leaders that comprise the Approved Body Configuration committee have established a pathway that will likely see the approval of a next-generation shell over the next calendar year.
However, that does not mean the group will approve the current gen-6 body that Five Star Bodies released last year against the wishes of the leading unified group of promoters and industry leaders.
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.
From a Saturday press release, the ABC Committee has tasked Five Star Bodies, AR Bodies and any other interested body manufacturer to come up with a new design that meets the current criteria of an agreement signed by the charter members of the group nearly 15 years ago.
Emphasis ours from the ABC Committee press release:
It is the intention of the committee to continue to utilize the current ABC shape, dimensions and appearance until the manufacturers collectively present a new common design, as outlined in the original Approved Body Configuration Requirements of Participation, signed by short track racing stakeholders in November 2004. Those requirements, which were agreed upon universally, have served the industry and will continue to do so with the cooperation of all involved.
Any bodies being manufactured today and sold as new in the marketplace did not meet the original criteria that was established in the original Approved Body Configuration (ABC) agreement. The Five Star Gen 6 Body will not be approved.
Five Star has reached agreements to utilize the Gen 6 body with the Pro All Star Series, TUNDRA Super Late Model Series, APC United Pro Late Model Series and many other weekly tracks across the country.
Based on the wording of the press release, that design will not be approved.
To date, AR Bodies has steadfastly refused to produce a body similar to the one Five Star Bodies has attempted to push upon the marketplace over the past five years. The reasons are every bit financial as well as principle.
Five Star conceived the body, produced it, and are now selling it without the approval from the current promoters and AR Bodies. The Committee has refused to allow it in their respective divisions, because they claim they literally cannot approve it since they are bound by the 2004 charter.
It’s worth noting that Five Star itself drafted the wording of the charter, which includes a ‘integrity’ clause and collected signatures from the group.
Emphasis ours from Saturday’s ABC Committee press release:
The Late Model Stakeholder Committee members have made multiple attempts and continue active communication in regard to bringing the industry together, primarily Five Star and AR Bodies (currently the two approved ABC Manufacturers), in an attempt to introduce a new look to Late Model racing throughout North America. It is the feeling of all Track, sanctioning body and series leaders that this effort must be made together as with all previous ABC efforts which set the industry standards.
Committee, Tracks, Sanctioning Body and Series leaders are committed to having a new body released in 2021, but are steadfast in their position of ensuring its success by making sure the body manufacturers continue to develop a plan that has the entire industry once again working together to continue a uniform and successful path for all stakeholders. The success and the evolution of the ABC body program in its current format is a testament to the validity of a program where all parties worked together in regard to the preservation and development of Late Model racing in North America.
The gen-6 body first debuted at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis as a new shell for Late Model Stock Cars. It was displayed as a Lee Pulliam show car but NASCAR ultimately did not approve the new body for the discipline. As a result, Five Star worked to develop the body as a Super Late Model shell.
NASCAR ultimately approved the body for Late Model Stocks last month to mixed opinions. AR Bodies also agreed to produced a reskin of its current generation body to provide an alternative new look.