4/3/04 - Richard Harvey has been building sprint car chassis for a long time. Before that he was a racer and has handed down that chore to his son Richard Jr. Sr began working at what was known as Lightning Chassis many years ago and ended up opening his own place. He has created a lot of great working sprint car chassis over the last few years and maybe the most famous replica's are the cars Rip Williams drives. His wife Bettye and son Richard Jr both work full time in the business as he turns out the speedy bent tubing results.
The Harveyís come from Oklahoma, but they have been in California for at least 20 years. So, it was easy to drop in on them on a race day before going to the track. I asked how many cars he has built over the years and he said he wasnít sure, but it is a lot. He supplies many cars to the local Bandit sprinters that run Hanford and other mid California tracks. The cars work for both 410 and 360 runners, so it is natural if you live in the area to come to Stinger.
The shop is on Lacey street and is at the end of two rows of business shops that come off the street. Lacey runs right into the street that goes by the Fairgrounds, just a block down the road. He has two shops side by side with one where the jigs are located, and the machine shop tools live, then another the same size where assembly and working on completed cars happens. Both shops are at least 20 feet wide and perhaps 50 feet deep and very tall. A small office is on the left side of the right side shop where Bettye does her paper work. I say "paper work" because there are no computers here, only a cardex style filing system where all the secret building instructions are kept. You can look out the front door and see the water tower that is located right behind the Hanford racetrack, as itís only about two blocks away from the track.
Richard builds all his chassis out of .095 tubing, which is the standard strong size utilized by most chassis builders these days. He gets his tubing from overseas as the tubing is not always made in America because of low demand when the aircraft companies are not building planes. The construction phase of a sprint car begins with raw tubing that is cut, bent and then tacked together on the jig, before the final welding process happens. He is now building cars that have the latest theories of a coil over front end with a torsion bar contraption mounted low on the front end for locking down the right rear even more. He says not to call them Twisters!
Richard has been helping racers for years and spends his time going to the races each week to deliver and also support his creations. His son Richard Jr also goes to different tracks to do the same, and still has time to race a 360 with the bandits and an occasional 410 show. They are very busy as business is pretty good these days. The Stinger name is well known and the logo letís you know itís another Harvey production. And you know they all are committed to this racing world and love it! It couldn't be better to have work that allows you to do what you like especially in racing!
It was a great impromptu visit and we left when a local mini-sprint racer needed some work done on his wing adapter? The next time you go to Hanford, go see the Stinger shop and visit with the friendly Harveyís. Now, check out the pics below!
The sign sez you're there! The popular chassis shop of Richard & Bettye Harvey is
open for business.
The two "jig" tables are just to the right of a bare chassis with more construction
area and cut pieces ready for work.
Richard Harvey Sr poses with one of his latest efforts. This time of year he is
The blue chassis is another brand that came in for a front clip addition/replacement. He does
all kinds of repair and sez the farmers tend to find him for other kinds of welding stuff.
The left side shop is a little cleaner because all the cutting and other dirty work is done on
the other side. There is a staircase at the back that goes up to an attic storage area above both shops.
The work bench has more "stuff" on it than one could imagine. Perhaps we could call
this his storage for tools.
The welding machine is blue and ready to go to work.
Bettye's office is small, but she takes care of business here.
Three old posters were hung up high above the shop for all to see.
The Stinger sprinter driven by Richard Jr is a beauty, but isn't that concave area in front a wing?