Well, it really is pretty much just as simple as that. Vehicles are indexed based on that basic information and then race to the finish line all out in a handicapped start, no breakout drag race. I have been working on this for quite some time and have finally come up with a formula that would put racers on an index much more accurately and fairly than the antiquated pounds per horsepower and cubic inch methods currently being used.
The key to being competitive with this formula does not have anything to do with how much you can afford to do to your engine. It is all about matching your combination to the heads you have.
While this won't be the rule, the basic premise to be competitive with your combination will be to have a long duration cam with just a big enough valve with enough lift to best utilize the flow capabilities of the head you are using, essentially just in the same manner as the Stock class cars currently running NHRA/IHRA. But that doesn't mean that it will be all low lift cams winning either. If you have a head that flows big numbers, then chances are that you will do better by having the big lift cam. Remember, utilize the head for it's capabilities.
Ultimately, ther will be categories of similar vehicle types with classes for the varying performance potentials. For example; There would be a category for tube chassis cars, and a category for tubbed cars, while another category for stock chassis cars. The only real reason for categorizing vehicles is merely for fun and spectator appeal. Racers, I think, enjoy racing other racers with similar set-ups, and spectators like to see the same thing.
Spectators who are not familiar to the concept of E.T. bracket racing have a hard time wrapping their mind around how you can lose by going to fast when your "drag racing", and would much rather watch a drag race that they could understand. Could you imagine how popular NASCAR would be if when Dale Jr. finally crossed the finish line first he was declared the loser because his final lap time was quicker than his qualifying time and he brkoe-out?
The number one concern that will come up among those who do consider this venue will be how to make sure nobody is cheating. The evil truth is that people will cheat. So to keep people from flagrantly taking money that they really didn't win, teardown procedures will have to be performed periodically. However, I believe that, because legal or not nobody wants to do a teardown, teardowns could be kept to a minimum by way of limiting the teardowns to be performed to only those instances where a winner has run more than a specified margin below their index.
To see how teardowns will be minimized, take a look at http://usdragcar.com/protests.htm
which explains when and how protests will be handled.