Back when I first got started with minicups I couldn't find anyplace with helpful tips for new racers so I have decided to post here some of what I've learned in the last few years.  Hopefully, these tips will save you time, money, and hassle.  If you have found a helpful trick or product, please click here to e-mail me and I'll add it to this page.   If we all share these tips, it will help the sport to grow and everyone will have more fun.

1.  Pace Yourself  - Over the past few years, we've seen several folks introduced to minicups who get super excited.  They spend a bunch of $$ on all the best equipment and then 6 months later they have disappeared.   When you get started, try to pace yourself so you don't get burned out - or get your family mad at you.  Take things one step at a time and enjoy the journey.   Don't get frustrated if you can't beat folks with a few years experience in the first few weeks of racing. 

2.  Get a Body Shop Sponsor - If you've never had to use a body shop before, you'll be in for a big surprise when you find out how much it costs to paint a car.   Before you shell out 1/2 your racing budget on a paint job that may not last beyond the first race. . . take this advice sent in to - "I have found that most Paint and Body shops have a bunch of left over paint.  Most of them will give you the the paint and spray it for about $50.00 (that's if you prep the car) just for placing their name on the car somewhere! Try it, it can't hurt to ask!!!!!!!"

3. Get a Portable Car Lift - Working on a minicup with the body on the chassis is difficult.   I struggled for the whole first year before I got one of those car lifts.   This single tool has tripled my racing enjoyment - now it is easy to change gears, etc. while at the track.  Trust me on this - get a lift - or better yet, get a buddy to buy it and borrow his.  :-)

4. Get Brakes - Old MMI cars were delivered with only rear brakes operated by plastic go-kart brake lines.  These lines are fragile, and "swell" when put under pressure.  The result is that they rarely work.  I replaced them with steel lines and the brakes have worked fine ever since.  Now NC Chassis even has a braided steel brake line kit with everything cut to the right size for a minicup.  Call them at 330-798-7744.  Also, starting in 2004, MMRA rules will require front brakes so be sure your car has a full set of effective brakes.  They will pay for themselves several times over on the racetrack. 

5. Get a Battery Tender - Minicups have a battery and electric starter.   Unfortunately, if the battery gets discharged, you'll be watching your friends race while you sit in the pits.  To insure that I never missed a race because of a dead battery, I bought a Battery Tender ($50) trickle charger that I leave hooked up during the week.  This way I never have to wonder if my car will fire up when I hit the starter.  This sounds simple but more minicup racers miss races from dead batteries than any other reason.   Save yourself this frustration - get a trickle charger and use it.

6. Secure your Exhaust Pipe - One of the problems I had to deal with every week was that the bolts holding the exhaust pipe to the engine of my minicup racer kept loosening up.  Even Loktite didn't help.  Finally I put JB weld on the threads of the studs and screwed them into the head TIGHT, added the exhaust and then I added a second nut (double nutting) and tightened it down - this seems to have solved the problem.  Again, this may sound like a minor problem and a simple fix but my first year I missed races because the loose exhaust pipe made the engine hard to start, which ran down the battery, - well you know the rest.  :-)

7.  (Received this from an anonymous e-mail) I have had brake problems in the past. The previous owner of the SMC we purchased used DOT3 brake fluid. According to the brake manufacturer use only DOT 5 brake fluid. The DOT 3 will deteriorate the seals in the brake caliper. The original seals are a Buna-N material. The replacement number is AS-125. Flush out the DOT 3 fluid and replace your seals.

8.  (Received from BDE Racing) When racing in extreme heat conditions (85-105 degrees), use a fan to cool your fuel cell after practice rounds.  MMRA rules prohibit any cooling device on the car but this is legal and effective.  This can help keep your times faster and more consistent.

9.  (Received from e-mail) I have found a very good product for minicups.  We had troubles with our battery once and it wouldn't start.  We had to jump it with a battery charger so the next day my dad and I went to Home Depot and bought a rechargeable battery jump box.  If the battery is dead, all you have to do is hook it to the box and hit the button.  We haven't had a problem since so I would recommend you buy one.



03/16/2013 04:20:44 AM                            Webmaster Note:  You are welcome to link to and use the logo to establish the link.