|I was very disappointed to hear that the
NHRA is considering adding Pro-Modified to the already burgeoning number
of classes in Competition Eliminator. Aside from being a blatant attempt
to steal some thunder from IHRA and the Super Chevy Series, it would seem
to be a lousy fit anyway, what with 220 mph cars running down cars as
much as 80 mph slower. I personally feel the present Comp format isn't
nearly the show it could be, just too many classes and too few competitors
in the faster classes. Also, more heads-up racing would be a big plus,
might even bring a few more folks to the races.
What the folks in Glendora and the competitors need to consider is what is appropriate for National or Regional events (of which there are far too few). If the objective is to put on a good show for fans who've shelled out $40 or $50 to attend an NHRA National, it's too bad the press release didn't read something like this:
"The NHRA announced rule changes for the 2002 season, chief among them a revitalized Competition Eliminator format at National Events. Comp will consist of 4 classes each of dragster and altered. Dragsters run at 3.4(A), 4.6(B), 6.2(C) and 8.2(D) lb/C.I., while altereds run at 4.0(A), 5.4(B), 7.2(C) and 9.6(D) lb/C.I. Factors may be added for Roots superchargers, OHC engines, and OHC-4 valve engines as well. Classes C/D, D/D, and D/A are restricted to engines of no more than 6 cylinders. The format at national events will consist of the low 8 qualifiers from each class comprising a 64 car eliminator. Automatic transmissions welcome, with a flat 50-lb weight break to start. The first 2 rounds of eliminations will take place on Saturday within the respective classes.
That leaves 16 cars for Sunday's finals. The first round Sunday will be the class final, which will have a significant payout. The remaining 8 then race for the overall Comp title with dial-ins per the current system. An added twist is that the dragsters and 'slammers do not race each other until the Comp final, a showdown of sorts. Also, there will be a 50 LB. weight break for altereds utilizing pre-1970 bodies, one of the better ideas to come out of the Pro-Modified ranks. We recognize that it is part of our mission to preserve and protect the best things from the past, and cars like these made up the bulk of the field in the early days. With an equal number of cars in the faster classes and mostly heads-up races, it should be a much better show.
Regional events will be contested as they are now, with the addition of the econo classes and shuffling of the dragster and altered classes as necessary. To make room for the expanded Competition Eliminator, the Super classes will now compete in a much larger slate of events at the regional level only."
While it may appear that I've reinvented Middle Eliminator from the '60's, is that such a bad idea considering the level of interest in the nostalgia drags? The present system may be user-friendly for the racers in terms of switching classes when the index gets hammered. However, a typical Comp field produces 40 or 50 racers competing in a division with 56 classes, meaning there aren't that many close, wire to wire races.
Having a solid core of heads-up class racing at National events instead of the endless parade of dial-in cars surely would help at the gate. Hopefully $omeone out there in sponsor-land agrees, as it would likely take a major player (and possibly one less VP in Glendora) to make the purse right.
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