The National Hot Rod Association, or NHRA, recently made the most sweeping rule changes to the Pro Stock class since 1982, when they abandoned the pounds-per-cubic-inch format.
The NHRA’s rule changes are a two-phase process. The first phase of the rule changes will be implemented at next weekend’s race at Sonoma Raceway, where the NHRA Sonoma Nationals are to be held.
The changes effective from Sonoma onward are designed to increase spectator appeal, and to enhance the overall pit experience for fans.
NHRA mandated that teams must back the cars into their respective pit spots with the engines uncovered for better visibility for the fans. Crew members can no longer touch the cars during burnouts. The final change is that it is now mandatory for teams to create automobile manufacturer identification headers on the windshield of the car (not to be confused with exhaust headers) that can be sized between 4.25-4.5 inches high.
Starting January 1, 2016, all Pro Stock teams will be required to equip their cars with electronically-controlled throttle body fuel injection. This will make the engines more relevant – some engines still use carburetors. To reduce and control the costs for the race teams, the NHRA is mandating a 10,500 rpm rev limiter be attached to the fuel injection systems.
In addition to this, the NHRA has required all Pro Stock teams to remove the hood scoops, and to shorten the length of their wheelie bars to a length that is specified by the NHRA Tech Department. These changes are designed to make the cars look more like their factory counterparts, and to boost spectator appeal with the unpredictability of the class, due to more “wheels-up” launches.
The NHRA has promised to work with their new TV partner FOX Sports to improve coverage of Pro Stock races, as well as team, driver, and technical features.
“Pro Stock racing has a tremendous history with NHRA and proves each weekend by the close side-by-side finishes that it is one of the most competitive forms of racing in all of motorsports,” said Peter Clifford, NHRA president. “Through these changes we hope to provide a platform so the Pro Stock class can evolve from a technological standpoint, yet reconnect with its roots by generating more interest and appeal among spectators.”