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NHRA Announces Surprising 'Any Engine/Any Body' Rule for Pro Stock Racers in 2018

The 2018 season brings a big change to the engine and body rules for NHRA Pro Stock racers

The 2018 season brings a big change to the engine and body rules for NHRA Pro Stock racers

If there’s one element constantly part of NHRA Professional Drag Racing, it’s change. Top Fuel cars went from front engine “rails” powered by 392 CID Chrysler engines from the 1950s to 426 Hemi “Elephant Motors” and then a switch with the driver positioned in front of the engine. Funny Cars starting out as modified production shells that in only a few years adopted the format that we have today: a tubular chassis with the engine in front of the driver covered by a composite replica body shell.

Based on the request of the Pro Stock teams they are now free to run any approved engine combination in any currently approved body, regardless of the manufacturer, during the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. All will continue to utilize the fuel injection system adopted in 2016 along with the Pro Stock-specific K&N air intake system.

The Air Intake was developed and constructed in-house by a special team at K&N Filters

An NHRA Pro Stocker with hood removed clearly showing the K&N designed and produced air intake

“The NHRA Technical Department worked very closely with the Pro Stock teams and the vehicle manufacturers in finalizing this rule change,” said NHRA Vice President-Technical Operations Glen Gray. “The cooperation from all of those involved in the process was very encouraging and we look forward to the 2018 Pro Stock season.”

The decision, which was announced in early December, should provide fans with a wider variety of entries in the class. Expected approved bodies joining or expanding the entry list include Dodge Darts and Ford Mustangs. Chevrolet Camaros have been the body style of choice over the past several seasons. The last non-Chevrolet Pro Stock Championship winner was Dodge pilot Allen Johnson in 2012.

The K&N Pro Stock Air Intake was aerdodynamically engineered to enhace engine performance

The K&N Pro Stock snorkel draws air from under the bumper area and delivers it to the engine

Other than the lifting of the “same engine/same car manufacturer” limitation, the class rules remain the same for 2018. The body must be from a 2009 or later NHRA-accepted 2-door or 4-door coupe or sedan production vehicle, either domestically produced or from overseas. Body, drivetrain, and chassis may not be altered, modified, or relocated, except as outlined in Requirements & Specifications in the Rulebook. Minimum weight at end of run remains at 2,350 pounds, including driver. Minimum weight on the rear axle at conclusion of the run is 1,100 pounds, including the driver.

Who better has their thumb on what Pro Stock teams have on their minds than long-time Pro Stock chassis builder Jerry Haas. The chassis expert reported that even before the announcement became public he was receiving inquiries about constructing a Ford Mustang Pro Stocker. “All three of the body styles – Ford, Chevy, and Dodge – are so close aerodynamically that there’s no advantage or penalty for choosing your favorite," said Hass. “They’re all so close it’s unreal.”

All components are engineered to fit together precisely and withstand the abuse of a Pro Stocker

The K&N Air Intake billet adapter connects directly to the NHRA-mandated Holley throttle body

The engine is an internal-combustion, naturally aspirated, single camshaft, 90-degree V-8 with a maximum 500 CID. Aftermarket blocks permitted if designed and cast with OEM approval, and have been accepted for competition by the NHRA.

NHRA also clarified a rule regarding the mandatory electronic fuel injection system, citing that no part of an injector may protrude above the runner flange into the plenum area. All Pro Stock competitors regardless of engine or body style must use the K&N 100-8522 carbon fiber intake snorkel.