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Race Car Building History:
When Ron Sutton owned his first chassis shop, Ron Sutton Race Engineering, in the 80's, he & the guys built 63 turn key race cars, and countless more race cars were either modified, upgraded or repaired. Most of which won races and some won championships at levels from sportsman to professional ranks.
In 2005, Ron stepped into Midget racing, and designed a new chassis & suspension, which came out & won 8 poles & 5 main events out of 12 races (including Turkey Night) it's first year. The next Midget chassis design has won even more races & championships.
After winning races in the NASCAR Modified class with Ellis chassis, Ron saw some room for improvement ... and Star Race Cars was born.
Working with Scott Rogers (Brad Keselowski's ex Busch Crew Chief) and Jeff Schrader (Late Model Chassis Guru at RaceCar Factory in Irwindale) they designed a new Modified chassis with 92 small improvements over the Ellis.
First year result? 4 wins, 2nd in Championship and Rookie of the Year ... obviously with a rookie driver.
With what was learned from the design of the new Modified, the Star Fab Guys rebuilt an older Ellis in-house. They made it stronger where it needed to be, lighter where it could be and corrected the geometry of a car that was originally designed as a "combo car" to race dirt or pavement ... into a purpose built pavement modified. Result? Young rookie female driver wins trophy Dash & Main Event in it. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
In-House Machine Shop:
Over the years, Ron's race shops have taken on every kind of race car, hot rod & track car project imaginable. From custom one-off parts, race part development, full chassis to complete "turn-key" race cars. Today, Ron Sutton doesn't do custom client work or outside projects.
The shop is fully equipped with every tool & machine needed. But Ron feels there are plenty of good machinists & fabricators offering their services and very few people offering his level of chassis & suspension design work. So why have a full blown fabrication shop? To develop Ron Sutton Race Technology branded parts, frame kits & suspensions. In this shop is where the first Track & Street Warrior car is being built. It is where the Track-Star & AutoX-Star front & rear frame clips & suspensions are prototyped.
In-House Machine Shop:
Ron uses the mill & lathe occasionally to build new parts or modify existing parts.
Sheet Metal Shop:
The sheet metal shop features a shrinker, stretcher, English wheel, box & pan brake, shear, slip roller, v-notcher & bead roller with 20+ dies ... along with every hand tool known to man. Ron uses this to craft interior panels for patterns.
Metal Fabrication Shop:
If it is metal for a race or track car ... we can fab it. Tube bending, tube notching, TIG welding, MIG welding, Plasma cutting & 4 forms of metal cutting. We work with mild steel, DOM, stainless steel & 4130 chromoly.
Plus the chassis building jig table is simply amazing. It is a space age design with honeycomb core & stainless steel top, drilled & tapped every square inch to make it easy to mount fixtures.
Chassis Set-Up Shop:
Utilizing a level scale platen & all the high tech set-up tools & software available to us, we can optimize the geometry & set-up of any race or track car.
From Autocross to Road Course Track Cars, we can make any car go deeper, turn better & exit quicker.
We offer a complete set-up service to go through everything key on the race car & optimize it.
This includes wheelbase, track width, footprint locations, A-arm pivot points & angles, roll center, ackerman, caster, camber, toe, bump steer,
rear steer, trailing arm angles, top link angles, instant centers, pick up leverage point, ride heights, rake, travels, weight position and more.
Custom, Trick Pit Carts:
If you're serious about your racing and being organized, a well designed
pit cart can make racing easier & better.
The Pit Carts we designed for our race teams hold everything we need to run 2 cars on race day ... and we mean everything. We roll them out, plug it into electrical and the crew has everything they need at their fingertips.
You want it to meet your needs, not ours. So we custom design each pit cart on our CAD program for each race team ... no extra charge. Once we have a design that meets your needs, we build an impressive piece of equipment that will last you for years.
Funny thing is ... the cost is similar to buying a quality Snap-On or Mac
tool box. Curious? Just ask for a quote.
Ron Sutton has a 35 year history of winning races ... 498 so far ... in everything from drag racing, oval track & road racing. When asked what the keys to wining are, he will tell you the top five real quick. Number one is smart people on the team caring about the common goal & vision. Second is always remember the race car is just a machine with 4 tires ... and how you design it, build it & care for it defines it. Third is a key philosophy ... always be humble, hard working and constantly learning how to improve ... because what we did last year won't win next year. Fourth is the reality of the world ... racing takes money and resources. Fifth, but not last, the difference between winning & losing is heart.
Ron designed the pavement oval midgets that our team built & raced in 2005. Some people said it was arrogant of Ron to design a race car going into a series he had no experience with. His reply was classic Ron Sutton, "The race car doesn't know what labels we put on them. They just know they have four tires. I know how to make four tires work as well as anyone & better than most."
The 2005 Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle race team trained new crew members, built out a new shop, outfitted the semi race rig, then built & assembled 3 new race cars from scratch ... all in 10 weeks. Then ran 12 races winning 8 poles, 5 Main Events (last 3 in a row), several Trophy Dashes and the grand daddy of them all for USAC racers ... the Turkey Night Gran Prix. That was the first year, with a new Ron Sutton designed chassis & suspension.
The sophomore year was tough for the race team, as a new race car design came out superior to Ron's design. The team fought through the season winning only one race and amassing nine third place finishes.
Ron joked, "we better design & build better race cars or change the name of the team to Ron Sutton's Third Place Circle."
Back to the drawing board. With the next design, the team went on a multi-year winning streak tallying the most USAC Ford Focus Midget races of any team in USAC history, plus tons of poles, trophy dashes & championships.
When Ron added NASCAR Modifieds to the operation, he bought a brand of cars that were winning ... put his set-up in ... and went to winning races. After one full season with those cars, Ron was not happy with the chassis.
It handled well, but flexed in places it shouldn't have, was heavy where it didn't need to be and hard to work on. Ron designed a new one with 92 small improvements ... and came out of the gate with a new car winning races, finished 2nd in championship and won NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year .... obviously with a rookie driver.
We know a lot of race stores have used that "one-stop-shop" phrase before. But at Star Racing Supply it was true! Ron & Randy started Star Racing Supply to carry everything racers needed and have access to veteran racers & modern technology.
Ron used to say, "You can build a complete race car within our walls. We know ... because we do it often!" We carried chassis, suspension, brakes, bodies, wheels, tires, engine parts, transmissions, rear ends and more. We had a full machine shop, sheet metal shop and chassis fabrication shop. In short, we could build complete race cars or any part on it.
Ron stated , "I am so very proud of all the great people involved that helped build my winning race teams & driver development program. We felt, as most people familiar with us did, that we built the most comprehensive driver development program to date, with 30 winning race teams in road racing, open wheel and stock cars, the 29 career training classes with top instructors, a dozen veteran driver coaches plus a full marketing & PR program.
It has been an interesting, fun & rewarding journey. RSWC had a great run with young drivers we developed testing with Cup Teams in 2009 (Roush & Gibbs). They didn't have sponsorship and the economy had just turned bad. Prior to that, drivers didn't need to bring sponsorship. We just missed the timing of the economy.
Drivers we developed from 2009 through 2012 were focused on getting big sponsors we could take to Cup Teams. Joey Licata Jr almost won Daytona in the Penske's ARCA development team (CMS).
So far, seven of our drivers have made it up to NASCAR's K&N Pro Series, three in ARCA, one to NASCAR Camping World Trucks & we introduced our first major sponsor to Roush Fenway Racing & Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012 ... signing with Joe Gibbs racing for 2013. I have five young stars that I am still advising on the next steps for their careers.
I was fortunate to have a great friend along for the ride. Randy Chastain was there from day one until the very end. The stories we tell range from scary to hilarious. Some can not be told during family hour. My passion ... and Randy's passion ... was seeing young drivers learn, grow, develop, improve and achieve successes. The wins were good, but we enjoyed seeing these young people learn and become capable of winning, more than the winning.
The wins themselves were just report cards on the students' progresses. When word got out we were closing, the overwhelming amount of messages of support from hundreds & hundreds of great people in the sport has been very special. The messages from friends around the corner and all over the country means the world to all of us that were a part of Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle.
People found we operated our race team & parts business with integrity. The economy caught up with our racing sponsorships ... just like it did with all big teams ... and Ron made the hard decision to close the 9 car race team, driver development program & parts store. As you may expect, we all went through a range of emotions at the closing. The team was living the dream ... working in the sport they love ... racing with talented young drivers ... helping them learn and develop ... and winning races. Ron had to chuckle that our team was upset we didn't get to 500 wins. We were close at 498 main event wins & 22 Championships.
Ron stated, "I feel very fortunate to have been in racing for 35 years ... built many wonderful relationships ... and had the chance to race competitively most years. But more than the wins, I really treasure many of the relationships that developed over the years. These will provide us with great heartfelt memories for years to come, and those are the ones we will focus on. I'm not done by any means. There are many more chapters to write. We're just closing out this chapter. Thanks for the memories."
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