Drag Race 101 – Eliminator Classes Part II

Courtesy NHRA

Photos: Courtesy NHRA

In our last installment HERE, we covered the basics of Super Street, Super Gas and Super Comp Eliminator racing. Those three classes are very popular, and offer extremely challenging competition. But, maybe you want to try something that is even a little more detail oriented, and possesses enough of a challenge to really test your mettle. If that’s the case, maybe participating in Stock, Super Stock, or Competition Eliminator is right up your alley.
Much like Super Street, Super Gas, and Super Comp, if you are planning to be competitive, you better make sure that your car is capable of running almost dead-on—or quicker, than the published index of the class you participate in. Once again, we can’t give you a complete rundown of the complete rules; so once again, you will have to check NHRA’s current rules book for those guidelines.

The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown was designed to showcase the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, and the Chevrolet COPO Camaro. The competition includes entries from two Stock classes, and a winner being crowned in each. The two winners will then square off for the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship using a staggered start. Each of the two class winners will receive the Wally with the runoff winner being crowned the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown champion.
The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown was designed to showcase the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, and the Chevrolet COPO Camaro. The competition includes entries from two Stock classes, and a winner being crowned in each. The two winners will then square off for the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship using a staggered start. Each of the two class winners will receive the Wally with the runoff winner being crowned the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown champion.

 

Stock Class – If you wish to race in the Stock class, you will need a car that was built in 1955 or later. Unlike with Super Street, Super Gas and Super Comp racing, the cars in Stock are not kept to a minimum weight allowance. In Stock, all cars that race are classified by using the known factory shipping-weight,  that number is then divided by either the factory’s advertised horsepower, or NHRA’s-rated horsepower figure. This class is run on an index, and cars qualify based on how far under the index they run. There are also different sub-classes in Stock, and the index of each class varies. There are 64 sub-classes in all, and indexes range from 9.70 to 17.45 (as of 2/24/2015). The quicker you run than your index while qualifying, the better your qualified position for eliminations. If you dial-in at 15.00 and the guy in the other lane dials a 9.75, that means that you will get a 5.25 second head start. Basic bracket-racing rules with breakouts and handicaps apply, unless two cars in the same sub-class run each other. Let’s say that two A/SA cars run against each other, and in this case, there is no dial-in or handicap, it’s a heads-up race, which means who ever reaches the finish line wins (unless there is a red light). This is why you need a car that is legal, and can run quicker than the index.

Stock Class cars are required to retain the complete stock front suspension as produced by the manufacturer. The rear suspension must remain as produced, but some slight modifications are allowed per NHRA rule book. Traction bars or pinion snubbers are the only “add-on” allowed. This means that suspension set up can either win or lose a race,  some basic electronics are also allowed. All NHRA-sanctioned tracks have weekend races that allow a Stock-Class car to compete. This means that you’re not limited to only divisional and national event races. For this reason, Stock is a good class to participate. If you’re looking to buy a race-ready Stock Class race car, we have seen everything from a former record holding Escort sell from $4,000, all the way to a complete ’69 Roadrunner for $50,000.

Class Description: Racers compete on a fixed index that varies by sub-class. All vehicles must be full-bodied cars built after 1960. When racing in Stock, racers compete in sanctioned divisional races, and all national events. If you are looking to keep local to your home track, this could be an option, as all NHRA-sanctioned tracks have a class for these cars.
To be competitive, racers MUST run at or below the index to win.The key to being competitive in Stock is to build a car that can consistently run the index—or quicker, develop a lot of mph, and be deadly consistent.

Super Stock does allow a lot vehicle modification. Such is the case with this front-wheel-drive Pontiac being converted to rear wheel drive. In Super Stock, the car must be a factory-built car from 1955 or later.
Super Stock does allow a lot vehicle modification. Such is the case with this front-wheel-drive Pontiac being converted to rear wheel drive. In Super Stock, the car must be a factory-built car from 1955 or later.

 

Super Stock – Super Stock cars are the modified bigger brothers of the Stock-Class cars. Super Stock cars look similar to Stock cars, in that they are full-bodied cars. Any comparison ends there. Any foreign or domestic factory-produced automobile can compete if it is listed in NHRA’s Official Stock Car Classification Guide. All cars must be factory production assembled, showroom available, and in the hands of the general public. Much like the Stock Class, Super Stock cars are also classified by using the known factory shipping-weight, which is then divided by either the factory’s advertised horsepower, or NHRA’s-rated horsepower figure. This class is also run on an index, and cars qualify based on how far under the index they run. There are also different sub-classes in Super Stock, and the index of each class varies. As of 2/24/2015, there are 110 Sub-classes of Super Stock, and the indexes range from 8.95 through 13.65. There is a lot of variety racing in Super Stock, and it is typically a fan favorite. There is one class (SS/AH), that is restricted to ‘68 Plymouth Barracudas and Dodge Darts with a Hemi engine (automatic and/or manual). These vehicles are restricted to this class only.

When it comes to suspension modifications, the front must retain a complete stock front-suspension system as produced by manufacturer. If your car didn’t come with a strut suspension, you can’t run one. As far as the rear suspension goes, there are several modifications allowed, so you will need to consult the rules book. Super Stock differs from Stock, as it does allow a wide variety of electronics to help the cars be consistent and hit their index. If you like wheels-up, split-second decision racing, Super Stock does offer highly competitive side-by-side racing. Many times, races are decided by just a few thousandths of a second.
Building and finding a good competitive car for Super Stock can be an expensive endeavor. We did find several cars here on www.racingjunk.com that ranged from $20,000 – $75,000, that’s just the purchase price, don’t forget that maintenance can get costly.

Class Description: Super Stock racers compete on a fixed index that varies by sub-class. All vehicles must be full-bodied cars built after 1955.When racing in Super Stock, racers compete in sanctioned divisional races, and all national events. If you are looking to keep local to your home track, this could be an option, as all NHRA-sanctioned tracks have a class for these cars.
Super Stock does allow rear suspension modifications, unlike Stock.To be competitive, racers MUST run at or on the index to win.The key to being competitive in Super Stock is to build a car that can consistently run the index—or quicker, and be deadly consistent.

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In Competition Eliminator, you will see everything from a former Pro Stock car, to an alcohol burning, supercharged dragster. The cool part about this class is that either car could win the race. It all comes down to driver reaction time and driving skill.

 

Competition Eliminator – If you’re looking to participate in a class that runs a little quicker, Competition Eliminator might be the right class for you. If you’re interested in Comp Eliminator, you have a wide variety of cars to choose from. In Comp, you will see everything from a front wheel drive sedan to an alcohol burning, supercharged dragster. The cool part is that either car could win the race. It all comes down to driver reaction time and driving skill. If you want to talk about diversity, there are nine sub-classes within Competition Eliminator, and 96 individual classes overall. Some of these classes even allow different engines in different cars (i.e., a Hemi in a Chevy or Ford).

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Comp Eliminator cars are not actually “classed” like a Stock or Super Stock car. In Comp, there is no factory weight to take into consideration. This class combines handicap (bracket) racing, with first-to-the-finish-line wins. With Stock and Super Stock each individual class (sub class) has an index that they have to run on in order to win. When racing in Comp, the index is actually your handicap. Comp is a fast-paced class, as the e.t.s range from 6.57 to 9.76. Participating in any class of Comp is going to be a thrill ride. Let’s say that the Comp A/D index is 6.98, and the H/AA index is 9.16, during eliminations the H/AA-class car gets a 2.18 second head start. In Comp Eliminator, it’s not who runs closest to the index wins; it’s the first one to the finish line wins. There are a few rule stipulations to this fact, and the NHRA rule book should be referred to. In Comp, Delay boxes are not allowed, so the driver has to be consistent when leaving the starting line. This class really puts the winning and losing into the drivers hands. If you think that Competition Eliminator sounds like a class that you could get involved with, again, it can get costly. While perusing racingjunk.com, we found a Dodge Avenger for $71,000, and at the other end of the spectrum, we found a nice dragster for $23,500.

Class Description: Comp Eliminator racers do not compete on a fixed index that varies by sub-class. This class combines handicap (bracket) racing, with first-to-the-finish-line wins.When racing in Comp, racers are able to compete in all sanctioned divisional races, and all national events. Comp cars are typically able to fit into a class at all local tracks.To be competitive, racers MUST be consistent at the light to win. The first one to the finish line wins (stipulations apply according to NHRA Rules).

 

  • LouAZ

    After reading this “explanation”, I am more confused than ever.

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