The cold harsh reality is racing takes money. Many are limited to what they spend so spec racing was created to keep full fields.
Now with that said many also fudge the rules in many classes. Some are simple brilliant in what they do. Few challenge as they too are not legal.
As Dale Jr has said if he did not have a crew chief looking for ways around things we would not want him for a crew chief.
Note I am only speaking on mechanical not anything safety related. I do not recommend NOS in the roll bar tubing.
Even in my sons soap box derby racing they were cheating in many ways. Even where the kids are to build the cars with family help. Many resort to paying others to build their cars for them.
We did build our own cars and we did generally stick to the rules and worked in the details that mattered. I once was told by an official our car looked too good in how tongue oil appeared on the main board. I asked where was the rule it said to do a bad job applying it.
While we never really broke any rules we were competitive. We best many of the illegal cars.
Now in stock car racing you had to cheat to survive. We did a number of things but so were most others. When the cars fired up it smelled like an airport due to the Av fuel that we were not to be using.
We were a low buck team but we were smart and used things snd did things we learned from a friend in NASCAR. We scaled and balanced the car in the 70’s when here now one was doing that. The lead weights really got them talking. It took a while before they figured it out. We won some, lost some crashed seldom.
I learned to work to be smarter than your competition, better prepared than the competition and only fudge the rules when you had to or knew it was when everyone else was doing it.
We mastered a direct drive power glide and won a number of races till it was banned. It’s not illegal if there is no rule against it.
The race starts at the shop.