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NHRA Rule Changes for 2001 Announced

By Motorsport.com

GLENDORA, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2000) -- After extensive deliberation and unprecedented involvement by the racing community, the NHRA Rules Committee has finalized rule changes for the 2001 NHRA Drag Racing season. The new approach represents a move towards seeking more feedback from the racing community prior to a decision to assure a fair, accurate and appropriate rule for all participants.

Highlighting the changes was the formation of 21 Comp Eliminator classes, including 18 new classes for automatic transmission-equipped cars in Altered and Super Modified categories and classes for methanol-burning, fuel-injected, front-engined dragsters (A/Nostalgia Dragster, A/ND), nitrous-oxide-injected Pro Mods (A/Pro Mod, A/PM), and for supercharged, methanol-burning Pro Mods (AA/Pro Mod, AA/PM). In Super Modified, class weights were reduced from 3,000 to 2,800 pounds.

"This year we conducted three rules meetings to finalize the changes," said Len Imbrogno, director of sportsman racing at NHRA. "Both myself and Bob DeVour, our liaison with the sportsman community, spoke with an unprecedented cross section of racers, owners, engine builders and component manufacturers. We received an overwhelming response from racers from our first meeting that was very important in determining the final outcome of our changes. We read and evaluated all that input before making final decisions."

Besides the new classes, the NHRA Castrol GTX Junior Drag Racing League participants will now be allowed to use powerplants other than Briggs & Stratton. All engines must be originally five-horsepower units and from a recognized OEM and NHRA accepted prior to use.

Super Pro, Pro, and Sportsman E.T. Bracket categories will be permitted to use a rigid suspension as long as the wheelbase is 100 inches or longer. This rule change will make E.T. bracket rules consistent with those in Super Comp/Super Gas.

Rules were changed in both Federal-Mogul sportsman classes. In Federal-Mogul Funny Car, limits were announced on supercharger overdrives, effective Jan. 1, 2001. Specifically, the limit for PSI superchargers will be 1.92; Whipple superchargers, 1.36; and Roots superchargers at 1.70.

"The reduction comes as a result of an extensive evaluation into what could be done to help reduce the parts attrition rates and help level the playing field between the different styles of superchargers," said Imbrogno. "In our extensive discussions with racers, many felt the overdrive reduction was a good incentive to allow more cars across the country to compete in NHRA competition."

Effective Jan. 1, 2001, in the Federal-Mogul Dragster category, minimum weights were modified to reflect the following: screw supercharger-equipped and injected nitro (2,025 pounds); Roots supercharger-equipped (2,000 pounds).

"Racers unanimously agreed that the cost to build a car could be better controlled by increasing weight minimums as well as giving parity to the supercharged cars across the board," said Imbrogno.

The topic of introducing fuel injection in the Pro Stock and Pro Stock Truck category was tabled for the future.

"It was the opinion of the rules committee that more input was needed to evaluate the long-term effects that fuel injection would have on Pro Stock," said Imbrogno.

The NHRA Rules Committee announced no major changes in the professional Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, although minor changes have been made throughout the current season by Ray Alley, director of Top Fuel and Funny Car racing, that will be incorporated into the 2001 rulebook.

A breakdown of rule changes for specific categories follows:

CASTROL GTX JR. DRAG RACING LEAGUE
*Powerplants other than Briggs and Stratton five-horsepower will be permitted.

*All engines must be originally five-horsepower and from a recognized OEM and accepted by NHRA prior to use. *Only the original manufacturer may submit engines for acceptance.
*Under evaluation: "Junior Comp" class. The NHRA Rules Committee expects more information in the next few weeks.

ET BRACKETS
*In Super Pro, Pro, and Sportsman categories, altereds and dragsters are permitted a rigid suspension as long as the wheelbase is 100 inches or longer.
*This rule makes the E.T. Bracket rules consistent with those in Super Comp/Super Gas
*Snowmobiles are now required to retain the OEM throttle location, configuration, and operation.
*A recommendation that E.T. Bracket cars traveling in excess of 170 mph meet SFI chassis specifications was not finalized but will continue to be evaluated. STOCK AND SUPER STOCK
*Effective Jan. 1, 2002, roll bar requirements in Stock Eliminator will be extended through M/S, M/SA, AT/S, AT/SA. Roll cage requirements in Super Stock will be extended through SS/I, SS/IA, GT/G, and GT/GA. *Appropriate upgrades to driver restraint system (Stock), driver clothing and licensing requirements, chassis certification and transmission shields (Super Stock) will also be required at the same time.
*The changes reflect increases in on-track performance.

COMP ELIMINATOR
*Creation of new classes:

-A/Nostalgia Dragster (A/ND): One class for methanol-burning, fuel-injected, front-engined dragsters. Will utilize existing rules for Good Guys Junior Fuel class. Class index will start at 8.00.
-A/Pro Mod (A/PM): One class for nitrous-oxide-injected Pro Mods. Maximum 711 cubic inches, minimum weight 2,400 pounds. Class index will start at 7.10.
-AA/Pro Mod (AA/PM): One class for supercharged, methanol burning Pro Mods. Maximum 527 cubic inches, minimum weight 2,700 pounds. Class index will start at 7.10.
-A/AA, B/AA, C/AA, D/AA, E/AA, F/AA, G/AA, H/AA, I/AA, J/AA, K/AA, A/SMA, B/SMA, C/SMA, D/SMA, E/SMA, F/SMA, G/SMA: 18 new classes for automatic transmission-equipped cars in Altered and Super Modified. Existing Altered and Super Mod designations will be for manual transmission-equipped cars. Current weight breaks for automatic transmission-equipped cars will be used. Applicable manual transmission class index at the conclusion of the 2000 season will be used as a starting point for automatic transmission classes.

*Other Changes in Comp Eliminator
-Super Modified - Minimum class weights reduced from 3,000 pounds to 2,800 pounds.
-All classes that permit a manual transmission are now limited to a maximum five (5) forward speeds.
-All classes which permit automatic transmissions are restricted to maximum one (1) transmission brake solenoid.

FEDERAL-MOGUL FUNNY CAR
*Maximum displacement for Roots supercharger-equipped cars increases to 565 cubic inches. Supercharger overdrive limits, effective 1/1/2001, are: 1.92 for PSI superchargers; 1.36 for Whipple supercharges; and 1.70 for Roots superchargers.
*Minimum weights: Screw supercharger-equipped 2,250 pounds; Roots supercharger-equipped 2,200 pounds.

FEDERAL-MOGUL DRAGSTER
*Weight break for Roots supercharger-equipped cars changes from 4.05 pounds per cubic inch to 3.70 pounds per cubic inch, and maximum displacement increases to 542 cubic inches. Minimum weights: Screw supercharger-equipped and injected nitro 2,025 pounds; Roots supercharger-equipped 2,000 pounds. Rear end gear ratios: Screw supercharger-equipped big-block, maximum numeric 4.58; Roots supercharger-equipped big-block, maximum numeric 4.72; Screw and Roots supercharger-equipped small-block, maximum numeric 4.90; injected nitro, MINIMUM numeric 2.90. Minimum tire circumference 108 inches.

*Transmission prohibited on injected nitro cars. Maximum engine displacement: Screw supercharger-equipped, 466 cubic inches; Roots supercharger-equipped, 542 cubic inches; injected nitro, 466 cubic inches. For 2001 season ONLY, competitors may continue to use larger engines by adding five (5) pounds for each additional cubic inch over the maximum.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
*NHRA will consider acceptance of aftermarket engine cases with cylinder angles between a minimum of 45 and a maximum of 60 degrees for the Harley V-Twin.

PRO STOCK AND PRO STOCK TRUCK
*NHRA-accepted composite cab and bed sides are permitted, not mandatory, for Pro Stock Trucks. Currently, no composite parts have been submitted for acceptance.

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