The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) quietly revealed today the rules package for a new exhibition category for the 2022 season, known as A/Factory Experimental (or A/FX), that will feature modified, lightweight Factory Stock Showdown-style (FSS) production cars. The class, which follows the formula many journalists (this one included) and countless racing fans have been clamoring for, will utilize the 2020 Chevrolet COPO Camaro and its Magnuson-supercharged 350, the 2021 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak with a Whipple-supercharged 354, and the 2019 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet with the Whipple-supercharged 327 combination.
The significant difference, however, will be the 2,650-pound weight minimum, nearly 1,000-pounds lighter than a Factory Stock Showdown car. This will be accomplished through the allowance of composite doors and noses of factory dimension, polycarbonate windows, and aluminum or composite floors on the passenger side, among other concessions. As well, manual transmissions up to five forward speeds and clutches up to three discs are mandatory — no automatics as in FSS. In another departure, 14-inch wings with a wicker bill will be required, and drive tires will grow from 9-inches in FSS to a 33×10.5.
Dragzine has reached out to the NHRA for comment and will update this story as more information becomes available. Needless to say, however, it deserves kudos for blending the formula of the existing Pro Stock category with that of Factory Stock Showdown, creating a package that should run near the 6-second zone at about 200 mph. It should be noted that chopping, channeling, and alteration of the factory body lines is prohibited, as is any lengthening of the wheelbase over stock, and so the final product will be the factory-appearing car that Pro Stock nayayers have longed for — similar to those found in outlaw-style and NMCA/NMRA categories — with performances more in line with Pro Stock. And should it take off, factory support could carry over from FSS by Dodge and Chevrolet. Regardless, cars and engines exist from all three makers to build these cars, which simply cannot be said for the all but exclusively GM-powered Pro Stock class.
You can view the rules for A/FX on NHRARacer.com, beginning on page 48.