In the early 80’s, the growing popularity of the IHRA mountain motor Pro Stock class made a huge ripple in the great drag racing pond – a ripple felt all the way past the front doors of NHRA headquarters in Glendora, Ca.
Headlines once reserved for Bob Glidden, Lee Shepherd, and Frank Iaconio now featured such names as Rickie Smith, Warren Johnson, and Ronnie Sox. The IHRA Pro Stockers had blasted their way into the 7.90s during the 1980 season and the 7.80s one year later.
Never mind the fact the NHRA had just staged the closest point championship in the history of the class, a battle that went down to the final run of the season. The IHRA had seven-second Pro Stockers and wasn’t afraid to flaunt them to the media.
NHRA cars ran 8.30s. IHRA cars ran 7.80s. Get the picture?
In the weeks prior to the end of the 1981 season, the NHRA announced that they would do away with the pounds-per-cubic-inch format and adopt an IHRA-type program.
Instead of the sky-is-the-limit mentality of the IHRA, however, the NHRA put a 500-inch ceiling on their “mountain motors.”