Cody Perkins has an idea he feels can add a new category, all the while alleviating issues related to another. The Top Alcohol Dragster racer plans to present his plan this weekend.
The Power Adders will debut on Saturday, May 11 at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City, Utah. The class will initially be sponsored by Sun Litho Printing and Paul’s Auto and 4x4. Racers will compete with the vehicle of their choice and no breakout in a series aimed at limiting costs.
"The format can be described as “Comp Eliminator on steroids, except without all the complicated parts that confuse the casual spectator," said Perkins. "For functional purposes, we are labeling the class Power Adders. This will be real drag racing with 64 different types of race cars competing against each other where the first man or woman to cross the finish line wins. Racers can choose to compete using the following variations of race car types, power adders, or drive trains."
Perkins has three different formulas for the new Power Adder division.
1. Race Car
• Funny Car
• Pro Mod
2. Power adder (method of induction)
• Standard Roots blower • Hi-helix Roots blower • Billet-cased Roots blower • PSI D-Rotor supercharger • PSI C-Rotor supercharger • Turbocharger • Nitrous
• Injected on nitro
3. Drive train
• Torque converter
Perkins, while referring to the days of the old Pro Comp class, said this class provides an opportunity to return to the glory days while steering clear of the burdensome weight-to-cubic inch format which called for constant rule
"Many remember the glory days of NHRA’s Pro Comp category from which today’s Top Alcohol categories were spawned," said Perkins. "The class involved a wide assortment of race cars that competed using a weight-to-cubic-inch formula to level the playing field. The constant rule changes were, understandably, a burden for the racers and the sanctioning body."
The Pro Comp class was split in 1981 into Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car divisions. Perkins said his new class comes at a time when participation, he believes, is waning.
"Participation in Top Alcohol events dropped 38.0% from 2009 to 2012, and the number of participants dropped by 30.6%," explained Perkins. "Most of those who dropped out didn’t quit racing entirely — some found better options in Nostalgia Funny Car, Pro Mod, etc. Neither option is less expensive, but they arguably find better exposure than at any NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Divisional event.
"NHRA is aware of the problem, and they hear from both sides (racers and tracks) that have an interest in amending the points system that isn’t effective in encouraging attendance in the Top Alcohol classes. Many tracks are adopting the back-gate-only structure which eliminates paying the Top Alcohol purse. Having raced a Top Alcohol Dragster for 15 seasons, I’ve learned there is no possible way to make money from the purses these races pay.
"The expenses are just too high, and they aren’t getting any lower. (For example: This year, PSI increased the cost of a bare supercharger — which was $8,500 at one time — to $15,000). By rule, this is the identical D-Rotor supercharger that had an NHRA moratorium on design modifications put on it 15 years ago — monopoly anyone? These types of restrictions and expenses have tarnished the attractiveness of this once highly regarded class."
Perkins believes the biggest issue with any heads-up class is cost and while he believes capping the elapsed time and imposes an index helps curtail the cost, He's of the belief shorting the racing distance to eighth-mile will help.
"The motor is pressed to its limits by shortening the race, in this case to the eighth-mile. Many of the additional costs Top Alcohol and Pro Mod racers incur are due to the sustained high RPM’s these motors turn," said Perkins. "Another problem is minimized by shortening the track, the problem of getting the cars stopped. Every track now has an additional 660 feet of shutdown area, and the maximum speed of these cars is now similar to that of Top Dragster. With that being said, the safety rules don’t need to involve automatic remote-controlled shut off boxes, mandatory carbon brakes, etc. The cost of building a Power Adders car will be much less than that of today’s Top Alcohol or Pro Mod cars. Even a good 10-15 year old Top Alcohol car can come back out and be competitive.
"The format of this class is designed to be like Comp Eliminator without the confusing parts. This class is stagger-start, Pro Tree. The main reason for the Pro Tree aspect is to cater to the racers from the Top Alcohol and Pro Mod ranks who utilize it already. Also it decreases the likeliness of red lights deciding the winner before the race has even started.
"The stagger-start will be based of the current record for the class. [Example: If you are running a PSI D rotor on a dragster with a clutch (TAD) against a PSI D rotor on a Funny Car with a clutch (TAFC), the 1/8-mile records are 3.41 (Jim Whiteley) and 3.56 (Frank Manzo), respectively. This gives the Funny Car a .15-second head start with whoever gets to the stripe first winning.] There are no concerns of CICs, no lifting early to save index, and no reason to detune a race car to be consistent so it can be dialed in. Consistent is predictable. Predictableis boring. Spectators are not interested in a contest of consistency; they paid to see a race, and that’s what we’re going to give them."
Perkins wouldn't mind seeing this class as a headliner on the NHRA's Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
"You’ll see injected nitro Funny Cars racing supercharged altereds and big nitrous-motored dragsters racing turbocharged Pro Mods,Perkins said he envisions. "The innovation and creativity of the racers will be reborn. We’ll keep you posted on the success of event No. 1."
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