Cavalier Controversy
Here we see the eye of the storm Matt Hartford's Modified Class Cavalier. Note the tube running to the "skeletal remains" of the OE strut tower in the close up. Note the chassis tubing running from the "tower" to the front of the car. Remember, the Modified Class was conceptualized as a full-tube frame FWD vs. a back-halved RWD class. The car's firewall is of concern, but not visible in these pictures. John Lingenfelter's Pro Class Cavalier is included for comparison purposes.

To their credit the NHRA has reacted very quickly to the controversy by making solid changes. The following is from an NHRA press release issued a mere 11 days after the event.

NHRA-Following the impressive debut of Matt Hartford's Summit Racing Cavalier in Dallas, and its dominating win in Woodburn, NHRA officials recognized that a competitive imbalance currently exists in the class. The new car's consistent 7.90 second performance at Woodburn was impressive enough against existing class standards. But after doing some routine computer modeling on the car's potential, officials determined the need to act promptly in order to restore the close competition that the class previously enjoyed. As a result, the following rule changes are being implemented, effective Tuesday September 3, 2002.

Skelly was quick to point out that the new Hartford car complies with the existing NHRA rulebook requirements. "We want to be clear that this car meets all current Modified class rules," said Skelly. "There's been a lot of hear-say about the car itself, and we want it known there is nothing even "gray" about the construction of the car. The Modified class rules were originally designed, in part, to accommodate as many existing cars as possible, some of which contain the exact same features as the Cavalier does. However, Hartford's entry is really the first car built from scratch to best utilize all the weight penalties and allowances. Given its on-track performance, and its unquestionable potential, we want to make changes that will prevent the car from maintaining an unfair competitive advantage and from altering the long term goals for the class."-

It is our understanding that the Cavalier will be saddled with an additional 350 pounds (100 lbs from article 1 and 250 pounds from article 2). The best thing is the weights can be tweakedfurther in the future to ensure a level playing field.

1.Base weights for all RWD 4 cyl increase by 100 pounds as follows:
* RWD 4 cyl 1 power adder increases from 1,900 to 2,000 lbs.
* RWD 4 cyl 2 power adders increases from 2,100 to 2,200 lbs.

2.Weight penalty for aftermarket front suspension increases from 150 pounds to 350 pounds.

SOURCE
National Hot Rod Association
Glendora
CA
626-914-4761
www.nhra.com