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Will 2010 NHRA rules bring back real Chevy Pro Mods?

As a drag racing purest of sorts, it has always bothered me that the rules in Pro Mod allow the racers to take a nice Chevy car and shoehorn a blown or supercharged Hemi into it. I’ve just always found that practice distasteful as a fan.

I know from painful, first-hand experience that the hardcore Chevy fans that read this mag hate it when we run a photo of a bitchin’ Chevy with anything other than a GM powerplant under the hood. 

But the sad fact for Chevy doorslammer fans is that, other than a few nitrous racers who race a hybrid  “Chevy” engine built with bastardized heads that look nothing like anything anyone has seen in the GM Performance catalog, there simply are damn few Chevy racecars using a Chevrolet engine for power in the Pro Mod classes, regardless of the sanctioning body in charge.

But keeping with the spirit of the season, the NHRA’s Pro Mod rules makers have given the Chevy faithful a nice present under the old NHRA Christmas Tree. A rule that may herald the return of Pro Mod Chevys powered by real, easily recognizable Chevy/GM engines under the hood.

The present came in the form of revised rules for the NHRA Pro Mod class drastically reducing the maximum allowable overdrive for the cars using a Roots supercharger (at this time used by a majority of the NHRA cars) while leaving the turbocharger rules mostly unchanged.   

That action, in my and most experts’ opinion, gives the turbocharged engine combinations a performance edge over the supercharged cars.

The racers must have thought so too, because almost immediately more than a few of the supercharged Hemi racers announced they were changing over to turbocharged engine combos for the 2011 NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod racing season.

Mike Moran’s turbocharged Chevy engine back in 2004.  (file photo by David Anderson)

But for the real diehard Chevy fans, the best news is that several Pro Mod teams are working with turbocharging engine builders who use Chevy parts to build their engines. That could mean that, for the first time since Mike Moran’s Chevy engine-equipped Monte Carlo Pro Mod, Chevy fans will have a pure Chevy Pro Mod to root for. And that would be a really good thing for the class. In fact, I believe that the new NHRA Pro Mod rules could mean NHRA Pro Mod fans will see a lot more cars that feature engines that the factory actually does (or did) build, and that would be a very good thing for the sport.

My opinion is that we are going to see a lot more flat-hooded, turbocharged Chevy body styles from full sized Montes and Impalas to Cobalts, all with relatively flat hoods in the NHRA Pro Mod class. And in doing so the class might attract some younger fans to the NHRA drags, which would be a very good thing indeed. NHRA’s demographic could stand a shot of 18-25 hardcore Chevy race fans at their races.

Now if the NHRA would just let the Chevy faithful know what next year’s Chevy Pro Stock body will be, everyone would be happy for the New Year.

Merry Christmas!