There was a time before Pro Modified became an official professional category when many of its fraternity believed there should be one combination, the carbureted, nitrous injected engine. Then came the supercharged, alcohol-burning doorslammer.
With the popularity of turbocharging on the rise, the turbocharged combination was added, making a complex parity system a triple headache.
Now there’s serious talk of adding a fourth power adder to the mix with a centrifugal supercharger a.k.a. the Procharger.
Longtime Pro Modified racer and the driving force behind ProLine Racing Engines frontman Eric Dilliard is spearheading the push for Prochargers.
“What Procharger is going to do is bring in new clientele,” Dilliard said, during a Friday open forum at the PRI Show in Indianapolis. “Those who run a roots supercharger aren’t likely going to convert over. Usually, at the Gators, car counts are high but then it fizzles out about halfway through the season.
“What this will do is bring in a new manufacturer into the class. It will allow more fuel injection companies into the class. It will provide an opportunity for new chasses to be built. It puts life back into the new ecosystem that we are building for Pro Modified.”
Newly appointed NHRA tech director Jeff Conley confirmed NHRA is considering the proposal.
“We’re currently working with two teams,” Conley confirmed. “We’re going to evaluate and work with them this year, do some testing on the dyno and on track in real-world conditions. That doesn’t mean we’re going to make that change. We’re evaluating and make sure it’s competitive and doesn’t take the class by storm as being the dominant combination. Hopefully going forward we can make that happen. Obviously we’ll have to vote on it as a committee and make sure it’s viable for the class.”
Conley confirmed the NHRA will take a careful and methodical approach with researching the combination much like the series did earlier this year with the Mountain Motor Pro Stock combination during talk of merging it with 500-inch displacement cars.
“There are talks to do like we did for mountain motor Pro Stock, we could possibly get with those teams and run them after the Pro Mod session at one of the national events and then we can go do some private testing with the teams,” Conley explained.
Dilliard is of the mindset this research needs to happen sooner than later.
“I think we need to act on it quick,” Dilliard said. “NHRA needs to let us come out there and test this on the same day, same track until we can get on the same page. Nobody wants it to dominate, nor do they want it to drag behind. The only way we are going to prevent that is for us to get out there and make runs. It’s not good for us to come out there and be ahead of everyone. We want to come out there and be about .05 and have to fight for it like everyone else has had to do.”
If the proposal is accepted, the earliest the Procharger-equipped cars could enter NHRA Pro Modified events will be in 2020.
In November, during the Midwest Pro Modified Association’s Elite 16 event, Dillard stopped the timers in 3.67 seconds at over 200 mph, securing the quickest and fastest centrifugally supercharged race car in eighth-mile doorslammer racing.