How To Choose A Circle Track Ignition

By: Ray Frescas | 03/12/2019 < Back to Motor Life Home

From asphalt to dirt, MSD has Circle Track racing covered. If its a 4 cylinder midget or a full blown 410 sprint car we have the right ignition for you! MSD offers a full line of dependable, high-performance ignition systems that Saturday night and professional racers depend on.

MSD Ignitions have won thousands of championships and are built specifically to handle the harsh conditions that circle track racing demands. MSD has worked tirelessly with racers and tech officials to provide the highest performing ignitions available on the market while still meeting rule requirements. Contingent on the type of racing and sanctioning body rules, MSD offers several options that will fit the bill. Some classes require a stock appearing HEI distributor with a rev limiter while other classes are unlimited and can run a CD ignition or even a pro mag. With all these options available to racers, the best way to choose an ignition for circle track racing is to know the rules of the race track or sanctioning body. It is also important to consider the engine in the car. A street stock engine on gasoline for instance will not require an ignition as powerful as high compression open engine on methanol. Equally important is matching the proper coil to the ignition. Using a stock coil with a high powered ignition will only end in a failed coil and potentially lost race.

Many of the features needed for circle track racing are already built-in to MSD ignition controls. Rev limiters, rev limiter recalls, stock appearing HEI distributors, high powered CD race ignitions are just some of the many features built into MSD’s ignitions for circle track racing. Let’s start with entry level ignitions and work our way up the ladder to more power ignitions.

HEI Distributors and Rev Limiter

In some classes of circle track racing the ignition system is limited to an HEI distributor. Rules in these classes often require the HEI distributor to be stock appearing. Stock appearing distributor cap, coil cover, coil and most importantly the ignition module. For these classes, MSD offers a stock appearing HEI, part number 8362CT. MSD has taken a stock appearing HEI Distributor and tuned it up with a powerful module, high output coil, a quality gear, TIG welded internals and an adjustable mechanical advance that can easily be locked out if desired. It is a powerful and reliable unit that will meet the stock appearing rules at an affordable price. In many of these classes a rev limiter is also required. For this, MSD offers a digital rev limiter that is a direct plug-in to HEI distributors part number 8727CT. Along with being easy to install, this rev limiter also has an LED readout and rotary dials to easily set the rev limiter. Tech officials and sanctioning bodies can use the quick recall feature on the 8727CT to keep racers within the specified rev limit requirement. The powerful 8362CT HEI distributor combined with an ultra smooth rev limiting 8727CT rev limiter is the perfect match.


Part number 8365 and 83653 are the most powerful of MSDs HEI offerings. These distributors have a high output circuit board ignition module that produces 8.5 amps of current and include a built-in rev limiter. The pro billet HEI has an oversize distributor shaft guided by a sealed ball bearing, high output coil and an adjustable mechanical advance that can be locked out. Only a few sanctioning bodies allow this type of distributor.

6ALN and HVC

Relied on for years by NASCAR teams, the 6ALN part number 6430 and HVC Ignition part number sixty-six thirty-one and sixty-six thirty-two. These are analog style ignition systems that use plug-in rev limiter modules to set the high RPM rev limit. The 6ALN and HVC Ignitions both use weathertight connectors, are fully potted and have clear backing plates on them for easy inspections by tech officials. These are the ignitions racers select if they are required to meet NASCAR rules. The 6ALN ignition produces 110mJ of spark energy while the HVC is the more potent of the two making 150mJ of spark energy at the plug.

6CT and 6CT PRO

The newest breed of circle track ignitions are the MSD 6CT and 6CT PRO. These digital ignitions have features built in like a start retard and digital operation with super smooth rev limiting. A large LED display and rotary dials for setup on single connector make for neat wiring and a fully potted circuit board adds reliability. Part number 6427 has a high RPM recall for sanctioning bodies that enforce a rev limit rule. Racers that do not need to meet a rev limit rule can use the 6CT PRO that also records the highest RPM turned but can quickly be reset. Racers that want the most powerful, technologically advanced racing ignition on the market need to choose 6CT and 6CT PRO.

Midget DIS-2

Midget racers that need a 4 channel distributorless ignition rely on MSD’s Midget DIS-2 programmable race ignition. This ignition is specifically designed for use in Midget racing that use 4-cylinder engines. The CD Ignition uses a four tower high output coil pack, so you can be assured of complete combustion. Take advantage of precision timing throughout the entire rpm range by programming two different timing curves in one tenth of a degree per one hundred rpm increments with MSD’s Pro-Data software. This allows you to switch between the two timing curves as track conditions change during a race. For Midget racing, use MSD’s Midget DIS-2 programmable race ignition!


As the LS engine makes it way into circle track racing, customers needed a way to control timing and fire the 8 individual coils, enter MSD’s 6014CT. The 6014CT is a programmable ignition designed to be used with GM’s CT525 crate engine and built LS engines alike. It uses the factory recommended timing curve and rev limiter for GM’s CT525 crate engine, but can be tuned with a custom timing curve and rev limiter via laptop computer. A plug-in tester part number 89733 is also available for tech officials to quickly manage rule enforcement.

Pro MagLT

The Pro-Mag 12LT is designed to be used on methanol fueled Sprint Car engines. Used on race engines from 305 cubic inches all the way to the Pro 410 classes, the Pro-Mag LT magneto keeps the fire lit. With brutal compression ratios and pushing 8000-9000 rpm the MSD Pro-Mag LT is right at home. For the fastest in circle track racing, lap after lap, count on MSD’s Pro-Mag LT.

Coil Selection

Proper coil selection is imperative with circle track ignitions. Compression ratios and the type of fuel used in an engine should always be considered. For example, if a customer has an engine that is 15:1 compression and running methanol fuel, a 6ALN ignition and canister-style coil is not going to light the fuel and therefore leave power on the table. This situation can also lead to an ignition misfire and premature failure of the ignition coil. While a 6ALN and a canister style coil is fine for a low compression engine on gasoline, a high compression engine on methanol needs a high powered CD ignition such as the 6CT or 6CT PRO and a high output coil like part number 8252, 8253 or the most powerful 8250. Always use the recommended coil for your ignition for maximum performance.

If your Circle Track racing, count on MSD performance to have the right solution for your racing.

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