Grassroots Motorsports $2016 Challenge Rules

Read all the rules and still have questions? Check out our Rules FAQ at the bottom of the page.

The Basics:
This event is meant to be a fun editorial exercise so Grassroots Motorsports can show its readers what creative people can do with a car, their hands and a little cash. Cars found in violation of the spirit of the event may run for exhibition.

Competition Venue:
The competition will cover three different arenas: autocross, drag racing and parc expose. The autocross will follow standard autocross rules. Each cone knocked over adds a 2-second penalty to the run time. Competitors will be given at least four competition runs, with their fastest one counting.

The drag racing will follow standard drag racing practices. Competitors will be given ample time for drag race runs, with their fastest elapsed time counting.

Returning for 2016 will be the parc expose (aka concours judging). Cars will be parked in a centralized location, with hoods, trunks and doors opened for the judges and competitors to view. Entrants will have a maximum of 2 minutes to present their cars and share their story with the judges. Cars will be judged on innovation, execution and presentation, and scoring will be as such:
Innovation: 0-10 points
Execution: 0-10 points
Presentation: 0-5 points

“Innovation” covers things like design, engineering, creativity and modifications.
“Execution” covers things like cleanliness, workmanship and attention to detail.
“Presentation” covers things like originality, theme, showmanship, team spirit, moxie, chutzpah, backstory and anything else that falls under the heading of “je ne sais quoi.”

Entry fee will be $175 for the entrant and vehicle. Each additional teammate/driver/banquet ticket costs $65. Thirty days prior to the event, the entry fee shall go up to $225. Cancellations will be credited to the next year’s entry.

Eligible Vehicles:
Any four-wheeled, production-based vehicle that was originally sold as a passenger vehicle is allowed. (You know what this means.) Vehicles that don’t fit this category or exceed budget may be run for exhibition only.

We do not intend to exclude any past Challenge cars with these new rules. If you believe that your past Challenge car meets the spirit of the rules but not the exact letter of the new law, contact us to discuss grandfathering in your entry.

Net cost of the Challenge car and its preparation for presentation at the event must be equal to or less than a dollar amount equaling the year of the competition. Your purchase price of the Challenge car cannot top that year’s budget cap. Up to half the total budget may be recouped by selling parts originally included with or attached to the Challenge car, related parts car(s), or related parts packages at the time of purchase. You may not factor gains or losses made from buying, selling, or trading unrelated parts into your budget. 
In English, what does this mean?

For 2016, the budget cap is $2016.

For 2016, the most you can recoup through parts sales is $1008.

For 2016, the max you can initially pay for a Challenge car is $2016.

If you buy a part for $40, decide it won’t work, then resell that part for $50, you may not recoup $10.

Example: If you buy an engine for $100, use the heads on your Challenge car, then resell the rest of the engine for $80, you may recoup $80, assuming your build has not already hit the recoup limit.

Fluids (including gasoline, oil and brake fluid) are not required to be included in the budget. Nitrous oxide refills do not count toward the budget (however, the cost of the equipment that comes along with a nitrous setup does need to be added to the budget). Nominal amounts of grease (such as what’s required to pack bearings) do not need to be included in the budget. 

Costs to pick up your hooptie from the seller are exempt.

Title fees and so on, in case you bothered, are exempt.

Shipping counts toward parts prices. Sales tax does not.

These safety items are budget-exempt: seat belt or harness; fire extinguisher; roll bar padding; wheel lugs, studs and bolts; and your first four tires. Brake friction materials, lines, calipers, master cylinders, rotors and drums may be replaced with fresh ones that are functional duplicates. The purpose of this rule is to allow for fresh brake components, not to allow for budget shenanigans. For example, original brake parts cannot be sold and then rebought to take advantage of this allowance. Brake fluid is also budget-exempt.

Any inside deals—parts, whole cars, trades, donations, stolen parts, etc.—must be added to the budget at fair market value. If you can’t figure out the value of a part, ask on the message board at

Labor you perform yourself does not count. Any labor you pay for counts. If you run a shop and your paid employees work on the car, then it counts.

Crapcan Clause:
24 Hours of LeMons race cars are automagically legal, provided they meet the spirit and intent of our rules.

If you feel a competitor has skirted the rules, you can pay a $50 deposit to file a protest. GRM staff will assess the vehicle in question. If the protest is valid, the car in question is penalized at GRM staff discretion, and the protest deposit is refunded.

Cars should have a finished appearance. Use good sense and taste when you modify your car, as missing grilles, headlights, fenders, hoods and the like are generally unattractive. Cars that are ugly will be less likely to be featured in the magazine and other media. Please remove your front license plate and plate holder, as those things are ugly, too.

GRM will provide number panels to all entrants. If you have a theme that doesn’t work with these panels, then concessions can be made. Please discuss with the GRM staff prior to the event.

GRM reserves the rights to require a windshield banner.

All entrants must have at least the basic facts of their build and their complete budget compiled in a three-ring binder. This binder must be displayed with the car for the duration of the parc expose, and must be presented for inspection at registration. Parc expose judges will view the build book, and may consider it during scoring. The purpose of this rule is to let every competitor learn more about your car, and to encourage budget transparency. 

The following will be required: all lug nuts present; functioning throttle return spring; positive battery tie-down; properly operating brakes; wheel bearings free of excessive play; properly secured seat; and tires free of any exposed cords or other defects. Additionally, all loose items shall be removed from the interior, and open cars running non-DOT race slicks must have approved rollover protection. Cars that do not meet the SCCA’s Static Stability Factor will be relegated to tires with a UTQG rating of 200 or higher.

Cars must meet the safety requirements of the host club and the NHRA when running those portions of the event. Your safety prep level may limit your drag race times. For a summary of NHRA’s safety rules, click here.

Autocross safety regulations will be provided by the host club.

Teams that lose a wheel or send any other large or heavy item flying from their car will be disqualified from the event.

The dynamic score from the challenge will be calculated by adding the competitor’s fastest drag time and fastest autocross time together. This will give their “dynamic time.”

The lowest dynamic time is worth 100 points. Points for second and subsequent places are determined by dividing the winning time by each other time, then multiplying by 100.

For example, if the winning combined dynamic time is 74.2 seconds and second place is 75.0 seconds, the 74.2-second driver receives 100 points, while second place gets 98.9 points (74.2/75.0 = .989 x 100 = 98.9).

The maximum parc expose score is 25 points. The maximum possible total score is 125.

Best score wins the overall trophy. The team that takes the overall win will receive free Challenge entry for the following year.

Rain-Outs and Other Excuses:
Your first run will be first come, first served. If you were unable to compete in any portion of the event because of mechanical failure, bad sleep habits, ennui or any other reason, you will be given an arbitrary score.

If any part of the event is rained out, struck by a meteor, invaded by a flashmob of Michael Jackson impersonators, or otherwise seriously disrupted so that more than half the entrants don’t get a chance to compete, GRM staff may choose to discard that portion of the event from the final scoring.

GRM reserves the right to issue competition bulletins at a later date.

One Final Word:
Remember, this event is all about having fun and being creative, and these rules supersede the ones from past Challenges. Have a question about the event? Just ask.

Rules FAQ
Q: “The tire rule says the first four tires are budget-exempt. I’m reading this as I can buy four tires and not have them count toward the budget. Now, I already have a set of four discarded autocross tires that I picked up for free and planned on using this year. I would like to find a set of tires for the drags. Since I already have four free tires, does that mean I could buy a new set of drag tires and not have them count toward the budget?”

A: No. The intent of this rule is to allow you to get one set of tires without it hitting your budget. The goal here is to make it fair for those who don’t have access to free Hoosier A6 take-offs. If you get a set of tires for free, they count as your free tires under the rules. Those drag tires will count against your budget.

Q: Can I run an over-budget car just for fun?

A: If your Challenge car fails to make the event due to technical, logistical or metaphysical issues, we may allow teams to run an alternate vehicle for exhibition. Please do not register a rental car or other extremely over-budget car for exhibition if you never intend to build a Challenge car.

Still have questions? Post your question in the Challenge Supreme Court thread on our message board, or email Rick Goolsby.