NHRA: Big changes coming to Pro Stock this weekend, next season

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To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the demise of NHRA’s Pro Stock class have been greatly exaggerated.

In fact, the sanctioning body plans to make several changes to improve technology, increase fan interest and to draw more involvement from major auto manufacturers.

According to the NHRA, changes will be made in installments.

The first three changes will be effective for this weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals race at Sonoma, Calif.:

* NHRA will require all Pro Stock cars to back into their pit stalls and leave engines uncovered so fans can more readily see what’s under the hood.

* Crew members will no longer be allowed to stand behind cars to hold them in place as they begin burnouts near the start-finish line.

* NHRA will require Pro Stock cars carry windshield shades that identify the manufacturer their car emulates. For example, if a driver pilots a Ford, then the car will carry a windshield shade that says “Ford.”

Other changes will be implemented at the start of the 2016 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, including:

* All Pro Stock cars will be equipped with electronically-controlled throttle body fuel injection systems.

* NHRA-controlled 10,500 rev limiters will be mandated along with the fuel injection systems.

* In perhaps one of the most significant and readily identifiable changes, Pro Stock cars will remove all hood scoops and also shorten the length of rear wheelie bars, or as the NHRA put it in a media release, “increasing the unpredictability of the class through more ‘wheels up’ launches from the starting line.”

“Pro Stock racing has a tremendous history with NHRA and proves each weekend by the close side-by-side finishes that it is one of the most competitive forms of racing in all of motorsports,” NHRA president Peter Clifford said. “Through these changes we hope to provide a platform so the Pro Stock class can evolve from a technological standpoint, yet reconnect with its roots by generating more interest and appeal among spectators.”

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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.