As NHRA celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Pro Stock class, we look back at some of its milestones.
2019 — Erica Enders claimed her third series crown, becoming the third female (along with Top Fuel’s Shirley Muldowney and Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angelle Sampey) to earn three series titles. She also joined the late Bob Glidden and Lee Shepherd along with Warren Johnson, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Darrell Alderman, Greg Anderson and Jason Line as drivers to capture three or more Pro Stock titles.
2018 — The NHRA announced it would trim the Pro Stock schedule from 24 races to 18. Series champion Tanner Gray, 19, the sport’s youngest winner and champion, left NHRA to compete in the ARCA Menards Series East.
2017 — NHRA officials surprised the Pro Stock class by announcing a “Pro Stock Battle Of The Burnouts: Smoke ‘Em If You Got ’Em” initiative for the Labor Day U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis and drew mixed reaction from racers. By early December, the NHRA broke completely with tradition and announced it would allow racers to mix or match engine combinations with any (approved) manufacturer body. Few teams ended up taking advantage of the new rule, which observers thought might be a cost-saving measure for smaller-budgeted teams. Before a pivotal pow-wow among Pro Stock teams and the sanctioning body in which the racers proposed the new engine platform, the NHRA had threatened to limit the Pro Stock fields from 16 to eight and erase the class from a handful of events.
2016 — The electronic-fuel-injection era began for the Pro Stock class. All teams were required to equip their cars with electronically controlled throttle body fuel-injection systems, making engines more relevant from a technology standpoint. NHRA also mandated a 10,500 RPM rev limiter.
2015 — Erica Enders won her second consecutive series championship, racing to a class-best nine victories, the most by any female driver in a single season in NHRA history. NHRA mandated that by the July race in Sonoma, Calif., teams would back their cars into the pits and leave engines uncovered so spectators have better accessibility to see the cars, drivers and crew members.
March 29, 2015 — At zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., Jason Line set the national elapsed-time record of 6.455 seconds. The record still stands.
Nov. 2014 — Erica Enders defeated Jason Line in a winner-take-all final round during the NHRA Finals at California’s Auto Club Raceway to earn her first championship.
May 30, 2014 — Erica Enders set the still-standing national speed record of 215.55 mph at New Jersey’s Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Aug. 5, 2012 — Erica Enders and Funny Car’s Courtney Force marked the first time two pro-class women have won during the same event.
July 1, 2012 — Erica Enders became the first female Pro Stock winner during an event at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.
May 2, 2010 — At age 66 (66 years, 10 months) Warren Johnson became the oldest Pro Stock winner during the AAA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.
2007 — Jeg Coughlin Jr. earned the first Pro Stock title during the Countdown to the Championship era.
Oct. 2, 2005 — Erica Enders was the first woman to reach a Pro Stock final round at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.
2004 — Greg Anderson became the third drag racer to be named SPEED Driver of the Year after a 15-victory season in which he qualified first 16 times and compiled a 76-8 race-day record. Anderson earned the championship over runner-up and teammate Jason Line by 742 points, the largest margin in class history.
2001 — Warren Johnson earned his class-leading sixth series championship and was named No. 7 among the Top 10 Drivers from NHRA’s first 50 years of competition.
April 25, 1997 — Warren Johnson broke Pro Stock’s 200-mph barrier at Virginia Motorsports Park with a 200.13 mph run in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac. He posted a 200.53 mph speed to cement both ends of the national record.
May 1995 — A still unsolved break-in occurred at the Fairfield, Ill., Wayne County Speed Shop, which housed the Pro Stock race cars of the class-dominant “Dodge Boys,” Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion. The Team Mopar gang, long rumored to be but never exposed as using illegal, performance-enhancing nitrous, found all six of their engines damaged beyond repair and didn’t finish the season. Nothing else of significance was damaged during the break-in at the shop.
May 1994 — Kurt Johnson clocked the first Pro Stock elapsed time quicker than seven seconds (6.988) at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey
May 17, 1992 — Lucinda McFarlin became the first female to win a Pro Stock elimination round, beating Don Beverley in the opening round at Memphis Motorsports Park.
1989 — Bob Glidden recorded his fifth straight, 10th overall, and final Pro Stock championship.
1985 — Bruce Allen won the first Horsepower Challenge bonus race, defeating Butch Leal. They repeated the final-round results in 1986.
March 1985 — On his way to a fifth consecutive Pro Stock championship, Lee Shepherd was killed while testing his car in Ardmore, Okla. With partners David Reher and Buddy Morrison, Shepherd earned 26 victories and four titles from 1980 to ’84.
1984 — Lee Shepherd earned his fourth consecutive Pro Stock championship.
1983 — Oldsmobile unveiled the Drag Racing Competition Engine, the first factory block and cylinder head combination developed by a major automaker specifically intended for drag racing.
1982 — The NHRA introduced a maximum engine size and minimum weight of 2,350 for all brands, effectively banishing all weight-break controversies that had become an annoyance for the better part of a decade.
Feb. 1982 — Frank Iaconio lowered the national elapsed-time record to the sub-eight-second range at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
1978 — Bob Glidden became the first and only racer in any class to advance to the final round at every event in the series (nine).
1974 — Bob Glidden was crowned the first Pro Stock champion as NHRA instituted a points system for the first time.
July 14, 1974 — Larry Lombardo became the only Pro Stock driver to win his first professional start at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey.
March 1973 — “Dyno Don” Nicholson reset the national speed record at 150.50 mph in Gainesville, Fla.
1970 — NHRA introduced Pro Stock as a professional category. Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins won the first race driving his big-block ’67 Camaro. Herb McCandless was the first Pro Stock winner during the U.S. Nationals, competing for the famed Sox and Martin team in a ’70 Plymouth Duster.