Is the Future
of Pro Stock in NASCAR Country?
By Dan Burkemper
gears of the Pro Stock assembly line may be
grinding to a halt. For years Pro Stock chassis
technology has been dominated by a handful of
specialty manufacturers. Wizards like Don Ness,
Jerry Bickel, Jerry Haas and Rick Jones have
long held the keys to a successful run at factory
hot rod glory.
Now it seems racers may be looking for more when it comes to exploiting the limited creativity allowed by strict NHRA rules. A select few think they have what it takes to make the next big leap in chassis technology and they want to keep it all to themselves.
Renting, leasing and buying engines in Pro Stock used to be the norm. Now engines are widely being developed by in-house teams, and many think an in-house chassis program is the next logical step in Pro Stock evolution.
Greg Anderson and teammate Jason Line have made the Pro Stock world take notice. Anderson and Line have been directing their opponents to the trailer with devastating regularity and have left many scratching their heads.
"One of the reasons we have the advantage we have right now is that we have looked at other parts of the operation," Anderson said. "We have looked at every aspect of the car."
With only two years experience, Anderson said they are still a young team and cannot yet institute all of the changes they have in mind. "Build our own car in-house? Absolutely. I would love to do that," Anderson said. "That is absolutely what's going to happen in the near future."
Anderson said the possibilities that lie within creating new chassis technology are too strong to ignore.
"We've been running the same basic chassis
for 20 years," Anderson said. " I don't know
what they're going to end up looking like, or
being like five years from now, but I know they
are going to be different than they are now."
This new Jerry Haas-built
car is now at Greg Anderson's Mooresville, NC
(Ian Tocher photo)
Anderson said car construction is no different than engine development. Either new developments need to be made or teams will just be the same or worse than competitors. Anderson said a better mousetrap needs to be built and those willing to break away and build it are going to be the most successful.
"There are only so many areas left that we feel we can find power in the engine. It gets more difficult every year and gains get smaller every year," Anderson said. "It's time to start looking around outside of the engine compartment and try to make things better with the car."
One team owner that has looked outside the engine compartment is Victor Cagnazzi.
Cagnazzi and driver Stevie Johns (photo below)
have been nipping at the heels of Anderson and
Line. To get within biting distance, Cagnazzi
has made some radical changes in the Pro Stock