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Pro Mod Controversy Continued

By Jeff Burk

Just a few facts about Pro Mod and a possible solution.

Since I wrote a column about splitting up Pro Mod into two classes I've had more than a few letters flailing me for (1) not having a clue about blown cars or (2) my contention that the rule change was premature.

So I'm going to give you a few facts and a suggestion of how the format for the Pro Mod could be changed just a little and stop all of the whining, bickering, and complaining, lower the ever-increasing cost of Pro Mod racing, maybe bring back some more nitrous racers to Pro Mod, and keep the class true to its roots.

First let me give you a few facts that I believe support my argument that Pro Modified didn't need a rule change after Rockingham.

1. After the rule change that went into effect just before the July 2003 Edmonton race that made the blower cars go from 29 percent overdrive to 25 percent overdrive, nitrous cars appeared in seven final rounds out of eight races that year.

2. Nitrous cars won three of those finals and at the last race of the season were the winner and runner-up

3. At the last race of the 2003 season the quickest nitrous car (Rickie Smith) ran 6.155 and the quickest blown car (Fred Hahn) ran 6.111 -- a difference of about FOUR HUNDRETHS of a second.

4. At the first race of the 2004 IHRA season at San Antonio, after the first round and into the final round there were the same number of blower cars and nitrous cars. A blower car qualified No. 1 and a nitrous car was number two. The blown car won when Harold Martin broke.

So, based on what happened at Rockingham, IHRA felt justified in giving the nitrous cars another tool and penalizing the blower cars?

That rule change will cost both the blown teams and the nitrous teams a good deal of time and money. The blown teams will have to get back on the engine dyno and then do a lot of track testing to try and make 20 percent overdrive on the supercharger replace 25 percent. They won't just take the power restriction and lower their performance numbers, which seems to be what IHRA is trying to do.

On the other side, the nitrous cars that use the new MSD 7531 traction control will have to spend just south of $1,000 for the part and then they too will have to test and that costs money.

So, the question is how do we get the politics out of Pro Mod and get back to racing for both nitrous and supercharged racers? My solution remains to give the class two divisions: Nitrous Oxide Injection and Supercharged.

This can be done and still preserve all of the aspects of the class that appeal to fans and racers by changing the Pro Modified class in the following ways:

1. Qualify eight cars in each division.

2. Qualify both divisions at the same time but pair up nitrous vs. blower cars in the staging lanes during qualifying so fans will still see blown cars race nitrous-injected cars.

3. Make the final round the winning nitrous car versus the winning supercharged car. That way a nitrous car always runs a blown car for the Pro Mod title.

4. Allow both blown and nitrous cars to set national records for points.

What I have suggested basically will allow both divisions of racers to go their own way to increase their performances and persuade more racers to build nitrous oxide combinations because they will have a reasonable chance to qualify and get to the final round. Put the rules for Pro Mod back to what they were at Rockingham except allow the nitrous cars to keep the traction control. Adopting this format will also free the sanctioning body's management teams from the political firestorm they endure each time they try to handicap the blown cars to "level the playing field."

I don't know if what I have suggested is the complete answer but I'm betting everybody will be happier than they are now. And think about this for a moment. If the blower guys get their stuff together at 20 percent over -- and based on the history of the class I'm inclined to think they will -- the next step would probably be yet another reduction in overdrive. The resulting uproar from that isn't something I look forward to.

So, I say divide the class into two divisions and let's get Pro Mod back on track.

What do you think? Send your email to
Previous Stories
IHRA Penalizes Supercharged
Pro Mods . . . Again
— 3/1/04

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