Pony Wars: 2019 Rules & Updates – 3 Cars, 3 Separate Build Teams

It seems like just yesterday we were thrashing two perfectly good pony cars on the road course, but alas the next season of Pony Wars is here. As we mentioned in the season preview, the age-old battle of Camaro versus Mustang will include a challenger–a Dodge Challenger to be exact. What was once a heated rivalry among three (or four if you count AMC) parent manufacturers, has been revived in Season 2 of Pony Wars.

The 2019 Pony Wars Cars

  • 2019 Ford Mustang GT: 5.0L Engine, 10-Speed Automatic, GT Performance Package 1 Maximum. Prohibited: GT350, Level 2 Performance Package, MagneRide.
  • 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS: 6.2L DI Engine, 10-Speed Automatic, “2SS” Package. Prohibited: ZL1, 1LE “Track Package”, 1LE Package, Magnetic Ride Control, Lowering Suspension Upgrade, Brembo Front & Rear Brakes (individual option), Chevrolet Brembo Option (front or rear), 6.2L Performance Air Intake.
  • 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack (or Shaker): 392/6.4 SRT Hemi, 8-Speed Automatic, Dynamics Package. Factory optioned rear seat delete is allowed. Prohibited: HellCat.
As if the introduction of a third car wasn’t enough, we are also going to bring in some of the best builders in the country to put these pony cars together. Vengeance Racing will be putting together the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS, lead by owner Ron Mowen, who has been at the forefront of late model GMs for two decades. “We have been following Horsepower Wars and enjoy the level of competition. Who wouldn’t want to participate in a GM vs Ford vs Mopar shootout?” stated Mowen. “I feel the Camaro has a solid chance at victory in almost every category of the competition.”

Never one to back down from competition, Arrington Performance CEO Mike Copeland was eager to get in on this dog fight. “When the Challenger was left out of Pony Wars last year, Mopar owners were vocal in their disappointment and we wanted an opportunity to showcase the potential of the Challenger to a worldwide audience,” shared Copeland. “I believe there is a perception that the Challenger is less capable than the others. We are coming to prove that wrong.”

Last but not least, our own in-house tech center is going to spearhead the Mustang build, with some of the industry’s leading minds and innovators as consultants like Fred Cook at Evolution Performance, Matt Kesatie, Steeda, and others as FordNXT steps up to raise the bar. “We’ve been racing Mustangs for years and our in-house teams at FordNXT and Ford Muscle wanted to take on the challenge,” explained Power Automedia President and CEO, James Lawrence, who is certain his team has the right skills. “We’ve been building Mustangs for 20 years, and are currently racing a turbo Mustang in X275. Our shop guys and I think we are as good as anyone out there.”

Other Changes for 2019 Pony Wars

Well, as you may have heard, the road course did not go as we hoped last year. Summertime in southern California can be particularly unforgiving in the desert, where many of these tracks are located. As the result we have decided on using an autocross course this year for testing, and, better yet, testing in the middle of one of the biggest muscle car events of the year – Muscle Cars at the Strip. If you plan on attending, or are just looking for an excuse to head to Las Vegas feel free to join us as the whole thing plays out in front of a live audience.

Scoring and points will be slightly different this year since there are three teams now:

  • Dyno Challenge – 1 pt to the winner.
  • Braking – 1 pt to the winner.
  • Autocross – 2 pt to the winner, 1 point to the runner up.
  • Drag race – 2 pt to the winner, 1 point to the runner up.

In case of a tie for the overall winner, the dyno test will serve as the tiebreak.

The rules and format have been changed as well from 2018. Instead of two rounds of modifications ($5k and $15k), there will be baseline testing and modifications which incur no points, courtesy of K&N and Corsa. Then each team will have $10,000 in Summit Racing budget and one week to put each car together. This, of course, does not factor in shipping and labor costs. That said, porting, machine work, and fabrication are not allowed for the builders to do on their own. Cam upgrades, drop-in piston/rod assemblies, and aftermarket or ported stock cylinder heads are allowed, but must come out of the budget and be completed within the build time allotted. Each car will utilize an off-the-shelf ProCharger supercharger kit and air-to-air intercooler with no nitrous or methanol injection. Custom tuning will be done via Diablosport InTune i3 hardware. And, last but not least, 93-octane pump gas only. TQ drag radials and sticky autocross tires will come from Toyo Tires, and the drag wheels will be provided by Weld Racing. The blower kits, tires, and wheels will not count against the budget.

The 2019 season of Pony Wars is made possible by some of the leading companies in our industry, including Summit RacingCOMP CamsTCIK&N Filters, Toyo Tires, MAHLE MotorsportsDyna-BattWeld RacingCorsa PerformanceFragolaHolleyDiabloSport, NOSE3 Spark PlugsTotal SealMickey ThompsonMoser EngineeringBMR SuspensionMiller ElectricAerospace ComponentsVictor ReinzMorosoUS GearHawk PerformanceLucas OilPRW IndustriesWeld RacingVP RacingNOSProCharger, and ARP. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild ride!

About the author

Scott Parker

Scott dreamed of being in the automotive media in high school, growing up around car shows and just down the street from Atco Raceway. The technology, performance capability, and craftsmanship that goes into builds fuels his passion.
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