Grassroots Motorsports $2000 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 rules may be allowed to run for exhibition at the staff’s discretion.

Competition Venue:

The competition will cover three different arenas: autocross, drag racing and a concours competition.


The autocross will follow standard autocross rules. Each cone knocked over adds a 2-second penalty to the run time. An entry’s fastest single run (regardless of driver) will be used for scoring. Entries will be allowed a maximum of six autocross runs. Pro driver runs count towards this six-run limit Updated 9/19/2019 to add exact number of autocross runs allowed.

We will again offer pro drivers for those who are not Mario Andretti. Entries will be allowed a maximum number of three pro driver runs. Prefer to drive your own car? No problem–you are not required to let professional drivers drive your car. Updated 9/11/2019 to add exact number of pro driver runs allowed.

Pro drivers and entries that have made fewer than their guaranteed minimum number of runs will be given priority access in staging lanes.

Added 9/19/2019: Any person wearing a driver’s wristband may drive any car at any time. Run limits are per car, not per driver.

Drag Race:

The drag racing will follow standard drag racing practices. Competitors will be given ample time for drag race runs, with their quickest elapsed time counting. Pro drivers will not be offered for the drag racing portion of the event.

Red light runs will not be counted. Runs that are completed in violation of NHRA rules will be not be counted. (See “Safety” section of the rules for more information.)

Since the drag racing will again take place after dark, all entrants must have at least one operational headlight and at least one operational taillight. 


Cars will be parked in a centralized location, with hoods, trunks and doors opened for the judges and competitors to view. Entrants will have 3 minutes maximum to present their cars and share their story with the judges. An impartial staff member will ask each team a series of open-ended questions (view them here) to help them present their cars. If we like you and/or your story, one minute of bonus time may be awarded. 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 perceived safety, 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.”

Any entrant that does not want to go through the concours judging process may decline to be judged by writing "Don't Judge Me" on a piece of tape placed on the upper driver-side corner of the windshield of their car. Cars properly displaying this message that are parked in the centralized concours judging location for the duration of judging will be awarded 12 concours points.

Before judging, Concours judges will be shown the 12-point Concours Example. This will be done in an attempt to calibrate the judges. Updated 9/23/19 with link to 12-Point Concours Example


Entry and banquet fees cannot be refunded. Fees can be applied as credit towards future events until one week prior to the $2000 Challenge. Between one week prior to the event and this year’s event, all fees are forfeited if not used.

All drivers shall have a valid state-issued driver’s license and be at least 16 years of age. All passengers shall be at least 16 years of age. Only one passenger per run will be allowed. Passengers are not allowed during drag runs faster than 14.0 seconds. All drivers shall wear a GRM-issued driver wristband for the duration of the competition. Updated 10/1/19 with clarification of passenger rule.

Eligible Vehicles:
Any four-wheeled, production-based vehicle that was originally sold as a passenger vehicle is allowed. Vehicles must retain production frame rails or equivalent unibody structures or, if the vehicle uses a tubular frame, must retain the production exterior bodywork. If a tubular frame is used, then modification of exterior bodywork is allowed, provided the end result is substantially similar in general appearance to the original vehicle. If production frame rails or equivalent unibody structures are retained, then exterior bodywork modification is unlimited, provided no safety rules are violated. Vehicles that don’t fit these requirements or exceed budget may be run for exhibition only at the event chairman’s discretion.

Clarification Added 1/7/2019: Production frame rails or equivalent unibody structures may be modified to alter a vehicle’s wheelbase.


Net cost of the Challenge car and its preparation for presentation at the event must be equal to or less than $2000. Your purchase price of the Challenge car cannot top $2000.

Up to half the total annual 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. 

You may never recoup more than a part or car’s purchase price or fair market value (whichever value you listed on your budget sheet). You may not list fair market value instead of purchase price on your budget unless you do not have a receipt from the purchase, or depreciation/appreciation has drastically affected the car or part’s value.  Free parts must be known to and available to the public (eg. sitting in a ditch on the side of the road). “Free” parts given to you by a friend must be added to the budget at fair market value. 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.

In English, what does this mean?

The budget cap is $2000.

The most you can recoup through parts sales is $1000.

The max you can initially pay for a Challenge car is $2000.

If you buy a part for $40, decide it won’t work, then resell that part for $50, you may not recoup $10. Leave this unrelated transaction out of your budget sheet entirely.

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 total recoup limit.

If you buy an engine for $100, use the heads on your Challenge car, then resell the rest of the engine for $300, you may recoup $100, assuming your build has not already hit the year’s recoup limit.

If you bought an engine last week for $800, but the fair market value is actually $200, you must still add it to your budget at $800. 

If, 30 years ago, you bought an engine for $800, you may add it to your budget at today’s fair market value if you desire to.

Budget Exemptions:

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 car(s) from the seller are exempt.

Vehicle title, tax, and registration fees 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 lug nuts, wheel studs and/or wheel bolts

  • Four tires

  • One window net

Clarification added 9/5/19: If something is not listed as exempt, it is not exempt.
Updated 10/3/19: Window nets are now budget exempt.

The Burchett Rule: Brake friction materials, lines, calipers, master cylinders, rotors and drums may be replaced with fresh ones that are duplicates or stock replacements without increasing or decreasing the budget. “Duplicate” is defined as having the same listed application in a major parts catalog as the part being replaced. Stock replacement is defined as having the Challenge car’s year, make, model, and trim listed as an application in a major parts catalog, or, if non-OEM front and/or rear subframes/axles/hubs/knuckles are used, the year, make, model, and trim of the donor vehicle listed as an application in a major parts catalog. This rule does allow adding stock replacement brake parts to a car that did not come with any at the time of sale. The purpose of this rule is to allow for safe brake components, not to allow for budget shenanigans. Original brake parts cannot be sold for recoup and then re-bought without budget impact to take advantage of this allowance.

The Reese Rule: SFI-approved harmonic balancers, SFI-approved flywheels and SFI-approved flex plates are budget-neutral. These parts are dangerous rotating assemblies that should be treated with respect. Any intact harmonic balancer, flywheel, or flex plate listed on the budget may be exchanged for a duplicate SFI-approved part without increasing or decreasing the budget. “Duplicate” is defined as having the same listed application as the standard part in a major parts catalog. In situations where a standard part is not present to exchange, fair market value of the standard part may be used.

SFI-approved transmission shields, SFI-approved flex plate shields, and SFI-approved bell housings are not rotating parts, and are not budget exempt. You may still be required to use one or all, depending on your car’s construction and E.T. in the drags.

Emergency Repairs/Wear and Tear: 

Maintenance is a reality of vehicle ownership, especially when that vehicle is used for competition. We understand that many $2000 Challenge cars can be unreliable, as a winning entry only needs to run for one autocross run and one drag race. With this in mind, competitors may replace parts that break during other competitions, daily driving, trips to or from the $2000 Challenge and during the $2000 Challenge, with identical or as-close-to-identical-as-possible parts without adding to or subtracting from their budgets. Any parts replaced under this exemption must be listed on the budget sheet as exempt, with an explanation of why this failure was not expected and budgeted for in advance. Parts may not be replaced at no budget impact under this rule if they were broken or heavily degraded when the car was purchased, or if the competitor knew failure was likely due to modifications. In the case of a protest that deals with a part or parts replaced under this rule, a group of nine event attendees will be selected by GRM staff, and they will vote to determine whether the part replaced without budget impact was fairly exempted. 

The Stampie Rule: Parts borrowed at the event must be added to the budget at purchase price or fair market value. If two builds elect to share parts at the challenge, such as a set of wheels and tires, then the parts must be included in both builds’ budgets at the full purchase price or fair market value.

Crapcan Clause:

24 Hours of Lemons race cars are automatically legal, provided they have passed a 24 Hours of Lemons safety and BS inspection within the previous year, and have not been substantially changed or altered.


If a competitor or competitors feels that another competitor has skirted the safety or budget rules, a protest should be lodged. Protests should be lodged in a timely fashion, with none being accepted later than four hours before the start of the awards banquet.

Step 1: Notify the event chairperson that you intend to lodge a protest.

Step 2: Deposit $50 cash with the event chairperson.

Step 3: Clearly and concisely describe the competitor you’re protesting and the part or practice you feel is in violation of the rules.

After fulfilling these steps, the GRM staff will assess the vehicle in question. If the protest is valid, the car in question is penalized at GRM’s sole discretion and the protestor(s) deposit is returned. If the protest is not valid, the protestor(s) forfeit their deposit.


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 required number panels and other decals to all entrants at check-in. If a sticker is included in your competitor packet at check-in, then it is required to be present on your car for the duration of competition. GRM reserves the right to require that competing companies’ decals be removed or covered during the event. Decals must be applied according to the current decal placement requirements in the event downloads section of this website.


All entrants shall provide a three-ring binder (referred to as the “build book”) to GRM at registration. Each build book must contain, in this order:

A single, large photo of the car (the more recent, the better).

Your completed vehicle information form.

On one page, a list of the first and last name of every team member, along with their role on the team (eg. Bob Smith: Electrical Guru).

The story of your build. Use as much text and as many photos as it takes to explain how and why you built the car you built.

Complete build budget on GRM-provided spreadsheet template. Minimum font size is 12pt typed. Handwritten budgets will not be accepted. 

Every receipt referenced in the budget. Photocopies are acceptable. 

Supporting documentation for every fair market value calculation used in the budget.

You will be required to turn in your build book at registration. Build books will be available for public viewing throughout the weekend at the GRM booth. During the concours, build books will not be handed out for display with each car. Each team must turn in their build book no more than 30 minutes after the conclusion of concours judging, or else they will receive a score of 0 points.

Click here to download the GRM budget spreadsheet template, which includes an example budget on sheets three and four to show how the template should be filled out. When printing your budget for your build book, please print only sheets one and two, not the example sheets. Please do your best to print your budget in a readable form–ex. not spread across 15 pages, and not including 100 unused rows. If you do not have Microsoft Excel, free alternatives are available that can open this spreadsheet. We suggest Google Sheets or Apache OpenOffice. Budget documentation questions can be answered via email:


The following will be required:

  • All lug nuts present

  • Functioning throttle return spring

  • Removable, reusable battery tie down made of metal. (NHRA requires a metal strap or minimum diameter 3/8th inch threaded rod.) Unmodified OEM battery tie-downs are also acceptable.

  • Brakes with firm, consistent pedal pressure.

  • Wheel bearings free of excessive play.

  • Properly secured seat

  • Tires free of any exposed cords or other defects. 

  • All loose items shall be removed from the interior.

  • There must be a metallic firewall between the driver’s compartment and the engine bay, as well as one between the driver’s compartment and fuel system. Open holes in the firewalls are not allowed. Unaltered OEM firewalls made of nonmetallic materials are also allowed.

  • Open cars running non-DOT tires must have approved rollover protection and arm restraints. 

  • Cars that do not meet the SCCA’s Static Stability Factor will not be allowed to run.

Exhaust cannot be routed through driver’s compartment without a rigid mechanical barrier separating it from the driver’s compartment. Exhaust gasses shall not enter the driver’s compartment.

(Added 3/14/19): Every entry is required to have a seat belt or harness for the driver. OEM three-point seat belts may be retained. If the OEM belt is not three-point, or if the driver’s seating position has been modified significantly, then a racing harness is required. Racing harnesses must have a minimum of five points, and may be no more than two years old. Older harnesses that have been professionally re-webbed, inspected and re-certified within the previous two years are acceptable.

Batteries must be mounted in the stock location or mounted in a sealed box vented to the outside of the driver’s compartment or mounted with a firewall between the battery and the driver’s compartment and the positive battery terminal covered with tape or equivalent material.

We want to see safe cars. We don’t want to send anyone home without getting to compete. Building something radical and not personally familiar with the NHRA standards? Please discuss your build with GRM staff ahead of time so you arrive with something that is safe and meets the NHRA regulations. Tech inspection at the track isn’t the place to learn.

We recommend you have the car inspected locally and ahead of time by a qualified NHRA inspector so no surprises crop up at the event. Failed cars will be reinspected after fixes are made. Entries that fail onsite tech inspection three times in the same day will be disqualified.

Except where otherwise stated, cars must meet the NHRA’s general safety regulations. Cars must meet the safety requirements for the duration of the event, including during the concours. Your car must meet the safety requirements for the duration of concours judging. Click here to read the 2019 NHRA rulebook. For a quick reference chart of required NHRA safety equipment, click here.

Your safety prep level will limit your drag race times. To discourage bonzai runs, cars that run quicker than their safety prep level allows will not be given a time for that pass, and may be barred from future drag passes. Five-point roll bars meeting item 4:10 of the NHRA's general safety regulations are mandatory in all open-top cars running a 13.49 E.T. or faster.

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

Nitrous use is not allowed during the autocross. Nitrous bottles are not allowed in cars during the autocross.


Every competitor must wear a helmet when driving in the autocross or drag race. Minimum helmet requirements are as follows: Snell-certified SA- or SM- helmet with a certification not more than 10 years old. NHRA rules will require SA- rated helmets if your car has certain modifications or runs a certain E.T. or MPH.


During the drag racing portion of the event, the minimum clothing requirements are as follows: full-length pants; short- or long-sleeved shirt; closed shoes; and socks. No shorts. No bare legs. No bare torsos. No tank tops. No open-toe or open-heel shoes or sandals. Synthetic clothing not recommended. Those in the drag strip’s staging area shall follow the above clothing requirements. NHRA rules require drivers wear a SFI 3.2A/1 Jacket or better in vehicles equipped with non-OEM nitrous oxide, turbochargers or superchargers that run a 13.99 or faster E.T.

During the autocross, the minimum clothing requirements are as follows: shorts or full-length pants; short- or long-sleeved shirt (tank-tops are okay); closed shoes; and socks. No open-toe or open-heel shoes or sandals. Synthetic clothing not recommended. Those in the autocross staging area shall follow the above clothing requirements. 

During the concours, there are no minimum clothing requirements.

Note that these clothing requirements are the minimum, and NHRA rules will require more protective clothing if your car has certain modifications or runs a certain E.T. or MPH.


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 concours score is 25 points. The maximum possible total score is 125.

Highest 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 of 1000.00 for timed events, or 0 for the concours.

If any part of the event is rained out, struck by a meteor, 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.

If any conflicts are found between NHRA rules and $2000 Challenge rules, $2000 Challenge rules will overrule NHRA rules.

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: What if I got four autocross tires for free, and bought 4 drag tires for $200? Can I claim my drag tires as my “free” set.

A: In this case, you may technically be able to claim all eight tires as free. However, remember that free parts must be known to and available to the public (eg. sitting in a ditch on the side of the road). A second set of tires that was given to you by a friend or acquired via any other non publicly-available transaction must be budgeted at fair market value.

Q: I want to put a T56 transmission into my Honda Civic, and I know that I need a stock flywheel from a Camaro. Because SFI-approved OEM-replacement flywheels are budget exempt, I can buy a new SFI-approved Camaro flywheel and value it at $0 on my budget, right?

A: No, that is not correct. In this scenario, you may exchange the Camaro flywheel for an SFI part. Bought an OEM Camaro flywheel for $20? Include that receipt in your budget, then you may use an SFI-approved Camaro flywheel without any additional budget impact. If you don’t currently own an OEM Camaro flywheel, you may list its SFI-approved replacement at the standard part’s fair market value on 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.

Q: Can I field a car by myself?

A: Yes, one-person teams are welcome.

Q: Can I camp at the track?

A: Sorry, no camping allowed at the track. 

Q: Is there fuel available at the track?

A: Yes, the track sells race fuel. Hours are limited, so plan ahead.

Q: Are media passes available?

A: They certainly are. Contact David Wallens for details. 

Q: May I drink alcohol at the track?

A: No alcohol may be consumed at the track. This goes for drivers, crew and spectators. 

Q: Is there power available at the track?

A: There is very, very limited available power, so plan ahead.

Q: Is there compressed air available at the track?

A: Yes, there is.  

Q: May I grill at the track?

A: Yes. And remember that the staff is often hungry. 

Q: It seems like a few of the NHRA rules will make my fairly average car illegal. What gives?

A: We realize that the NHRA rulebook has a few issues when it comes to this event. The following rules may be ignored if your car runs slower than 11.49 E.T.:

  • Windows must be rolled up during drag runs (if you don't have windows, you'll be required to wear a full-face helmet).

  • Welded differentials prohibited.

  • Mandatory C-clip eliminators. 

  • Partially excepted: Battery shutoff switches. Alternative construction and placement acceptable. Must remain within first responder's reach and be clearly labeled on the exterior of the vehicle. Changed 9/19/19 to remove requirement that battery shutoff switch remain within driver’s reach.

Q: Do I need a master battery kill switch if I relocate the battery?

A: Yes.

Q: Do I need operating headlights/taillights for the drag racing runs?

A: Yes, when the track gets dark you are required to have at least one operational headlight and taillight in place. 

Q: For my budget exempt set of tires, is the cost of mounting and balancing them included in that exemption?

A: Mounting and balancing does not count towards your build budget, but only for that set of budget exempt tires.

Q: Can I use a hand-actuated clutch since my car is powered by a motorcycle drivetrain?

A: Yes, so long as the car is not running a ¼ mile time faster than 13.49 ET. 

Q: NHRA rules specify that I need a back brace in my drag car, can I run without that in place?

A: Yes, so long as the car is not running a ¼ mile time faster than 13.49 ET.

Q: Do I need an NHRA-approved roll bar or will an SCCA-approved roll bar be sufficient?

A: An SCCA or road racing roll bar is sufficient, so long as the car is not running a ¼ mile time faster than 13.49 ET in which case an NHRA-spec roll bar is required.

Q: Can I run my factory cast iron flywheel?

A: Yes, unless your car is running faster than an 11.49ET in which case it must follow NHRA rules. 

Q: Can my car have a traction control system?

A: Yes, TCS is allowed.

Q: If I zero out my car’s budget by selling parts, am I still allowed to trade other parts off of it?

A: Yes, but you cannot profit off of parts sales if the budget is zero 

Q: If a new rule comes out which would outlaw my past Challenge car this year, do I have to modify it to meet the new criteria to be legal?

A: This is a case-by-case basis, but rule changes are rarely severe enough to prevent prior entries from returning. 

Q: I do not have a receipt for my parts purchase from a forum member, swap meet, etc., what can I do?

A: A picture of the sales thread or swap meet price tag is acceptable, judged by a jury of your peers for accuracy and eligibility.

Q: If I negotiate a crazy good trade deal and it is recorded properly, i.e. trading my used challenge car fuel pump for a brand new Nitrous kit, is that against the spirit of the event?

A: Actually, trades like that are a way to build a fast Challenge car and are condoned. 

Q: Am I allowed to trade with myself if the parts traded have an equal FMV?

A: Certainly, it should be noted in your build with a total of $0.

Q: Can I “sell” parts back to myself at FMV?

A: Yes, but this requires strong supporting documentation of the part’s FMV.

Q: If I buy a previous challenge car for less than its budget, does my build budget change to match the purchase price?

A: Yes, your budget disregards what previous owners paid. The current budget is $2000 – (purchase price of car).

Q: If I’m super cool and cast/forge/machine my own parts for the car, what will they cost towards my budget?

A: The cost is simply whatever materials are physically on your car while running the event. Even if it takes a $7,500 CNC machine to turn $12 of steel into a part, the total budget for that part is $12. 

Q: I’m doing a brake swap to incorporate disk brakes, are wear/safety items part of the total budget as well i.e. brake hoses?

A: If the components are the same, as in you replace the hoses with the similar type used on the original drum brakes, that is fine. If you replace it with a $500 custom hose to make it happen, that will affect your budget.

Q: Do we need street equipment i.e. windshield wipers, all running lights, antennae, etc?

A: No, all we are looking for here is a finished appearance.

Q: Can I run an adapter between an engine and transmission of two different makes?

A: Yes, even a homemade adapter is fine. Just remember if it runs faster than 11.49 seconds in the quarter-mile, it will need to meet all NHRA rules. 

Q: If the windshield is cracked on my project car, does it need to be replaced in order to run?

A: Yes, for safety all cracked windshields must be replaced. 

Q: Does my build book or presentation about the build count against the total budget?

A: No, go nuts! Just be sure your build book follows the approved format.

Q: Say I own a shop, and my employees help me work on a project car. I still want to pay them so they don’t have to clock out. Does their pay count into my budget?

A: Yes, at that point you are paying a professional to work on your car and it must be counted in the budget.

Q: Does the total height of my challenge vehicle have to be less than the track of the tires, measured from center to center?

A: Yes, and that height is calculated including roof accessories such as roof racks, wings, etc.

Q: If I went to purchase a part and the seller gave me a discount because it was going on a Challenge car, does that affect the build price?

A: This is the same as negotiating. If the seller decides that his $50 is a gift, it’s free to you! 

Q: Can I use a hood stack, a short exhaust pipe out of the manifold or turbo through the hood?

A: Yes, you may.

Q: Can I claim a free car as a $0 budget and what can I recoup towards the limit from it?

A: The car starts at $0, but you cannot recoup money from a transaction that cost you nothing to begin with.

Q: I am running a previously entered $2000 Challenge car, can I use the original budget spreadsheet for that car when I enter it again?

A: No. All budgets must use the standardized spreadsheet. 

Q: If I buy two cars in order to build a Challenge entry, can I sell parts off of both cars in order to recoup?

A: Yes, but the purchase price of both cars must be factored into your total budget. 

Q: Is there a sound decibel limit on my Challenge car?

A: No

Q: Can I recoup the cost of my car by recycling parts off of it?

A: Yes 

Q: Can I spend more on my parts car than the actual Challenge entry so long as both are below $2000?

A: Yes.

Q: I acquired my car by a transaction outside of simply paying for it, i.e. I bought the previous owner dinner and paid for the gas to tow it. Is this car free?

A: The car costs as much as the gas and dinner did, with receipts!

Q: Do the cost of build consumables like welding wire count towards my budget?

A: Yes, they can also be pro-rated in order to cut down on total cost (i.e. cost per foot of welding wire vs. the entire spool if it is not used.) 

Q: What kind of roll bar does my convertible car need?

A: To participate in drags, at anything faster than 13.49ET your car will need a five-point roll bar.

Q: Can I register my ChampCar in The Challenge?

A: Yes, as long as it meets all Challenge rules including budget restrictions, it is welcome to run.

Q: How do I determine the price of parts I got as a lot or an all-you-can-carry sale?

A: This is treated as a parts car, and the total price of the lot is what it will cost your budget. You may then sell parts from that total lot or group of parts with receipt until you hit the recoup limit. You may elect to use the FMV of parts you use instead. 

Q: If I get discounted parts with a rebate, i.e. a promotion allows for a $50 Visa prepaid card for my $250 shocks, how is the rebate factored into the purchase?

A: The rebate is a discount from the net cost. In this example, the budget hit would be $200 for the shocks counting the rebate.

Q: Does a parachute count towards the budget?

A: Yes, this is not listed as an exempt safety item. Parachute materials and hardware are included in the budget. 

Q: Can I run my convertible without any top in place?

A: Yes, though as per NHRA regulations if it runs faster than 13.49ET it will require an approved roll bar. 

Q: If I offer unrelated labor in trade for my Challenge vehicle, does that count against my budget?

A: Yes, if you trade labor to lower the purchase price of your car it must be calculated by FMV. Minimum wage for the state you are in multiplied by labor hours is fair.

Q: Is a laptop or other data logging computer (i.e. action camera like a GoPro) allowed in my Challenge car and does it count towards the total budget?

A: If a computer is in the car during competition, it and its cables/adapters are exempt from the budget provided they are easily removable, leaving every vehicle feature fully functional in their absence.

Q: Does my Challenge car need a functional horn?

A: No

Q: What is the official age of eligibility for the Old Guy class?

A: 55 years young.

Q: If I use an access port tuner with external software (i.e. COBB Stage 1 Tune) does that count against budget?

A: In this instance, yes. You are paying for the labor that tune cost and the purchase price must be included. However, if you used open source software and made your own tune, that is budget exempt because you did the labor.

Q: If we bring two sets of tires and use only one of them, can we claim only the set used in our total budget?

A: In this case, you can amend your budget but must keep staff in the loop about the changes. 

Q: Can I run a car that does not have a windshield?

A: Yes, but it must have a wind deflector as described in the NHRA rules. 

Q: If I plan to repaint or restyle my returning Challenge car, can the supplies used last time be removed from the budget as the new supplies are added on?

A: What is on the car counts, old paint and vinyl decals must be completely removed from the car in order to be removed from the budget. If you do that, you also cannot reuse the original materials should there be any leftovers. They go back to FMV.

Q: NHRA rules say that all cooling systems/radiators must be in their stock location for the body style used, does this apply to engine swapped cars?

A: In that case, you do not have to strictly adhere to the NHRA rules. No sense air-cooling an LS-swapped 911SC for example. 

Q: Is money found inside the car after purchase a discount to its price or recoup of any sort?

A: Congratulations! That 62 cents found under the seat is recoup to your budget. 

Q: While donut spares are totally illegal for the drag portion of the event, can we run donut spare wheels with legal drag tires on them?

A: Totally, go for it.

Q: Do core charges count in my budget if they are a deposit left with a retailer and not the cost of actual parts?

A: Absolutely they count towards the budget, it is total cost in the car including core charges. However, if you return the core and have a receipt for the refund it can be removed from the budget. Note that core charges are not part of your recoup limit.

Q: My car has a shorter wheelbase than the NHRA minimum, which is 85 inches. What should I do?

A: Cars with wheelbases shorter than 85” are welcome to run at the Challenge. However, if your car exhibits gross instability during a drag pass, you may be barred from making another pass.

Q: I live in Canada. How do I calculate the exchange rate?

A: Exchange rate is calculated on a per-item basis when you do the deal. It's "how many US dollars or their equivalent did you hand over for the part.”

Q: I bought my car/parts at an auction, and had to pay various auction fees besides sales tax. What do I list on my budget?

A: You must list those fees as part of the purchase price on your budget.

Still have questions? Email Tom Suddard for an answer.