The NHRA is making changes to the Pro Stock division in an effort to increase the appeal of this division with fans. The changes are set to come in two waves, the first changes will take effect July 31st at the Sonoma Nationals. The second wave of changes will be implemented at the beginning of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season.
Pro Stock dragsters are often referred to as “factory hot rods,” due to their similar appearance to production-based cars. Built around a sophisticated tube chassis and 4-link rear suspension, Pro Stock cars are some of the most technologically advanced dragsters. Weighing no less than 2,350 pounds, Pro Stock cars must conform to very strict measurements. The engines in the Pro Stock division are limited to a maximum of 500 cubic inches. Prior to the upcoming changes, the engines used two carburetors, could rev to over 10,500 rpm and could produce over 1,300 horsepower. A Pro Stock dragster can hit speeds over 215 mph in 6.4 seconds.
Changes to take effect at Sonoma are mainly cosmetic and require no major changes to the cars.
- In a move to allow the fans better access to drivers and crew and to see the cars better, the NHRA will require teams to back their cars into the pits and leave the engines uncovered.
- Crew members will no longer be allowed to stand by the cars and hold the car back as it begins the burnout.
- It will now be mandatory for the car manufacturer to be identified on the windshield in letters between 4.25 inches and 4.5 inches high.
The 2016 changes are much more substantial with the aim of making the dragsters look and operate more like normal production models.
- Carburetors must be replaced with electronically controlled throttle body fuel injection systems. In addition, an NHRA controlled 10,500 rev limiter will be added to the fuel injection system.
- The hood scoops are required to be removed by the NHRA to increase the production car appearance.
- The wheelie bar will be reduced to a specified length, yet to be determined, according to the NHRA Tech Department. The purpose is to increase the unpredictability and spectator appeal of the “wheels up” launches from the start line.
The NHRA also announced that it intends to work closely with Fox Sports to increase the coverage of Pro Stock racing with more driver and team profiles, as well as expanding the on-track coverage.
(Photo courtesy of ATOMIC Hot Links at Flickr's Creative Commons.)