Controversy over the NASCAR-approved spec engines for sportsman classes is unlikely to fade away; however, the technology and development behind the engine is worthy of a review as teams prepare for the 2013 season.

The LS2-based 364ci V8 is allowed as an alternative to purpose-built or “open” race engines for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Canadian Tire Series and Whelen Modified Tours. The spec engine is not a fully assembled, sealed crate motor — a practice that is promoted in other grassroots racing divisions. Under this program, approved parts are encrypted and sold through Robert Yates Racing Engines. Customers can have the engine parts assembled and dyno tested by RYRE or an engine builder of their choice. However, none of the components can be modified before assembly. For 2013, prices for the kit vary between the different series, ranging from $21,000 up to $24,500. Assembly and dyno time at RYR adds another $4,000. Other shops may charge more or less for assembly, tuning and fully dressing the engine with accessories, such as alternator and power-steering pump.