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The NRHA Pro Stock drag racing class became an official Eliminator bracket during the 1970 racing season. From Day One, its contestants chose a matched pair of Holley four-barrel carburetors atop their engines no matter who the car manufacturer was.
Pro Stock grew out of Super Stock (S/S) racers’ frustration with hard braking at the finish line to keep from losing via the break-out. In 1969, several of these racers began independent “heads-up” races and match races without handicaps. The fan response to these races was huge, making the sanctioning bodies take notice. NHRA and AHRA established heads-up racing as an Eliminator class in 1970; NHRA called it Pro Stock while AHRA called it Super Stock.”
The new Holley GPH-110 fuel pump allowed the Pro Stock class to go even faster. The GPH-110 would remain the primary fuel pump in Pro Stock for decades and led to the development of electric pumps for street use and other racing classes.
Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins was a leader in the early days of Pro Stock and innovated many composnents that would become standard in the class. Grumpy’s Pro Stock cars always ran Holley carburetors, either the R-4224 660 center squirter or 4500 Dominator.
During Pro Stock’s early years, two firms challenged Holley’s overwhelming dominance in the class: Carter Carburetors/ACF Industries and Kendig. Carter signed Funny Car and Pro Stock racer Dick Harrell to promote their new Thermo-Quad four-barrel. Harrell had a 2x4 fabricated intake manifold that mounted two Thermo-Quads on his big-block–powered ’69 Chevy Camaro. He also made a clear plexiglass hoodscoop for display. Concealed inside his hauler was an intake manifold that mounted a pair of Holleys with a painted hoodscoop that hid the Holleys he was really using.
“Dyno Don” Nicholson had used Holley carbs for several years. When Kendig offered a hefty cash contract, he painted the Kendig logo across the doors of his SOHC 427-powered Ford Maverick. He too had a pair of Holleys waiting to replace the display-only Kendig carbs.
Harrell and Nicholson both knew the Holley carburetors were several tenths quicker, so the undercover Holleys were always used in competition. When Nicholson’s Kendig contract expired, he returned to openly running Holley carburetors.
Bob Glidden, the winningest driver in Pro Stock history, used Holley carburetors, fuel pumps and intake manifolds. When NHRA made radical changes to the rules in 1982, Glidden remained the dominant force in the class with his Holley-equipped racecars.
Kurt Johnson, son of Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson, would be the first NHRA Pro Stock driver to break the 6-second e.t. barrier and win the No. 1 spot in the Holley 6-Second Club, along with $25,000.
In 1972, Pro Stock wizard Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins turned the class upside down with his Chevy small-block–powered, tube-chassis Chevrolet Vega. Grumpy’s game-changer had been quietly in the works for a year and its success spawned a tidal wave of emulators, all equipped with Holley carbs and pumps.
By 1982, the rules changed radically. Engine displacement was increased to 500 ci and minimum weight was 2,350 pounds. A pair of Holley 4500s on a tunnel-ram intake remained the standard for all teams.
In 1994, the Holley 6-Second Club was created, with just 16 slots established for the first Pro Stock racers to break the 6-second e.t. barrier. In May 20, 1994, Kurt Johnson (son and teammate of Pro Stock pioneer Warren Johnson) recorded a celebrated 6.98 e.t. at Englishtown, New Jersey, claiming the No. 1 position in the Holley 6-Second Club. Ironically, this came at the NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals, an event eventually won by Warren.
Today, Holley still has a foothold in Pro Stock with their fuel injection technology. All current Pro Stock racers utilize Holley EFI for squeezing every last ounce of horsepower from these 10,000+RPM mountain motors!
For more technical information and helpful instructional guides check out Holley's support section.
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