New Year, New Rules!

2023 is already in the staging lanes and ready to roll into the burnout box – the new year is finally here. The National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) may have throttled back as the 2022 drag season drew to an end, but their staff is still hard at work planning for the oncoming season. During the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, we had a chance to speak with the folks making the decisions when it came to the technical aspect of the numerous classes. There are some changes on the horizon, but we’re sure our diehard Dodge and Mopar® Sportsman/Grassroots racers will like what’s in store for them in 2023.

The NMCA race series offers a class for virtually any door-slammer and has hosted the Dodge//Mopar HEMI® Challenge since 2018. Not wanting to mess with a good thing, the NMCA will fine tune the HEMI Challenge program slightly in 2023 for a better participant experience. “There’s no major changes in 2023 for our Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout program but we did change up the format slightly. We’ve added time between each of the three rounds of competition to allow the racers to go back to their pits and cool off their cars. We listened to many of the guys and gals who run this series who felt the ‘round robin’ system was too rushed and did not allow them enough time to properly cool their cars. Now, we’ve allocated around 45 minutes between each round to go back their pits and properly cool their cars down,” said Rollie Miller, General Manager and National Event Director of the NMCA.

The NMCA is also making sure racers with modified SRT® Demons, Redeyes and Hellcats, which run in the eight-second zone, will have the proper safety equipment including roll bars and/or roll cages in their fast cars. “In the 9.00 to 9.99 ET bracket, you can run a stock vehicle with no modifications to the air bag system or the roll bar if it has one from the factory. However, you cannot install a new roll bar that would impede the air bag function. You must also run the factory steering wheel with the airbag and other factory safety equipment. Racers also cannot modify the car’s ECU that affects air bag function. Racers can also run aftermarket lightweight seats that allow the use of a five-point harness, provided the new seat doesn’t impede the air bag function. Our updated 2023 NMCA Rule Books will be available online starting January 1 of next year,” noted Rollie. The NMCA will also change the location of its season opener from Bradenton to Orlando Speed World. For the NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars class, the playground of the Challenger Drag Paks, COPO Camaros and Cobra Jet Mustangs, a new presenting sponsor has come on board with cash prices, but don’t forget, Direct Connection will still pay $10,000 to any Drag Pak racer that wins in the Factory Super Cars class at any NMCA race in 2023.

Another change for 2023 will impact the serious racers who compete in the NMCA High Horse Performance (HHP) Quick 8 program. A new index system will be implemented next season to help level the field among the variety of hopped-up and modified SRT Demons, Redeyes, Hellcats and other HEMI engine-powered machines that compete in this awesome race program. Since there’s a wide gap in performance and elapsed times among the racers in the HHP Quick 8, the heads-up format left some competitors with less power at a disadvantage. To help make things more equal among the racers, HHP founder Joshua Schwartz, along with the NMCA, came up with a new format to equal things out. “We came back to NMCA in 2022 as the Quick 8 sponsor. It was a straight heads-up class, but we’ve evaluated the format and rules and will be taking a step back to make it a level playing field and more of a driver’s race. For 2023, we’ll be taking the average of each competitor’s three fastest runs in the Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout Eliminations, then we’ll subtract one tenth (-0.10) from their run average. We’ll use that ET as their index and program it into the Christmas Tree for a staggered (handicapped) delay start. There’ll be no breakout, so racers can ‘drive it out the backdoor’ on the top end. Now, all eight racers will have an equal chance to win. We feel this will make for a more competitive class,” said Joshua.

As in previous years, to be eligible for the HHP Quick 8 program, competitors must race in the Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout during Saturday’s program. Once all the runs have been tabulated and recorded, the fastest eight cars go on to compete in the HHP Quick 8 series on Sunday. Joshua’s ultimate goal is to make the HHP Quick 8 a points series and, based on the number of racers coming through the gates at the NMCA events, he may just have to.

So, stake out your pit spot, unload your tools and tires, hit the staging lanes, and head to the burnout box. The new racing season is almost upon us and with some changes on the horizon from the NMCA, don’t get caught napping and burn some rubber. Make some angry noises with your HEMI engine-powered machine while leaving your competition in a cloud of smoke. The ET slip will be your badge of honor, along with the melted rubber on the quarter panel of your HEMI engine-powered machine!

1 Comment

Sounds Great! Thanks to High Horse Performance for sponsoring this race another year. And, if you are looking for the best guy to tune your HEMI, Josh is a wizard at tuning these engines to get the most power without sacrificing drivability. He tuned my Charger three years ago and it continues to run great with no drivability issues.