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Chevrolet Performance Stock—Affordable Heads-Up Racing, Crate Engine Style

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Chevrolet Performance Stock—Affordable Heads-Up Racing, Crate Engine Style
By Evan J. Smith
There’s a simplicity, for lack of better terms, to any heads-up drag race. Two cars stage, the tree flashes and they’re off. The first one to the finish line is the winner and we know the outcome in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t get any easier than that, right? The caveat, in most cases, is that being successful takes a big budget, an investment of your time for testing and racing to gain enough experience to win. Often, the ones who make it look easy have taken the long, hard road and they’ve encountered much defeat before they’re rise to the top.
Despite the effort, there’s a thrill to heads-up racing that magnetizes people. We’re aware of this and thankfully, NMCA has made it easy for racers to get involved in a true heads-up class where a smart racer can find him or herself competitive without breaking the proverbial bank.
The class, as you’ve figured out, is Chevrolet Performance Stock. The catch is that every racer uses the Chevrolet Performance DR525 OEM Sealed Crate engine, with the same tune, so there’s no advantage to anyone—at least in terms of horsepower and torque. In other words, a racer starting out theoretically has the same power as a seasoned veteran.
The engine is Chevrolet performance’s DR525 that is sealed so racers can’t tamper with the internals, and minimum race weight is 3,000 lbs. with driver. Performance gains come down to header choice, driveline, suspension tuning and of course, driving ability. NMCA Chevrolet Performance Stock is contested as an all-run, heads-up field, using a NHRA Pro Ladder, Autostart and a .400 Pro Tree.
“CP Stock is a naturally aspirated heads-up class designed for 1955 and newer American Production bodied vehicles,” said Rollie Miller, General Manager and National Event Director at NMCA. “It’s designed as a low cost, entry-level heads-up class. CP Stock competitors use a production OEM Sealed Chevrolet Performance DR525 crate engine combined with a factory Chevrolet Performance sealed ECM and installation kit. This helps control the ever-rising expenses typically associated with competitive heads-up drag racing and allows racers to explore other avenues to gain a performance advantage. All entries must compete on accepted suspension and at the same base weight,” he added.
The wide range of allowable vehicles makes this a great class for anyone. The vehicles you see on track range from 4-, 5- and 6-Gen Camaros, to First-Gen F-bodies and early Novas. In reality, the cars are typical of many 9- and 10-second small-tire drag cars, and in fact, Chevrolet Performance Stock is a great class for anyone with a current Stock Eliminator car who is looking to try their hand at heads-up racing.
In addition to swapping in the DR525 engine, racers can also take advantage of some lightweight parts such as hood and bumpers, but any racer considering a move to CPS should scrutinize the rules (we’ve included a link to make that easy for you). You may be surprised to learn that you project car or current race car could fit the rules with a simple engine swap.
Ultimately, Chevrolet Performance Stock is a fun class with great camaraderie between the racers. The cars go wheels-up and typically run low 10s and high 9s on occasion. It’s an affordable way to get involved in a national race series where you can win a championship with an engine that can last for many, many runs, too. We’ve posted a bunch of photos of a few competitors, so have a look, but be careful, you may get hooked.
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