1981 to 1984 era in AHRA was called "The Nitrous Wars"
Up until the middle of the 1980 season AHRA and NHRA Pro Stock minimum weight was mandated by cubic inch times a weight factor. The factors varied as to brand, model, type of engine, wheelbase etc. Factors were 6.8 to 7.3.
Suddenly, mid 1980 season AHRA, hoping to create PS crossover entries, changed the rules to mirror the IHRA Pro Stock rules. In 1978 IHRA had changed from factoring to fixed minimum weights and unlimited cubic inch, big blocks 2350 pounds, small blocks 2150.
Getting ready to stage after burnout. The late Cliff Strum, my right hand is at the rear.
AHRA's change left us SB guys holding the bag. Factored type SB cars, me included, ran small de-stroked ci engines using big rpm to make the needed power. I had a 339 Cleveland I buzzed almost 12,000 rpms. Factored SB Pro Stock cars could not get near 2150 pounds. The average SB car was designed for 2400 pounds.
Enter Nitrous Oxide!
The winter of 1980 nitrous system companies like NOS, Laser and ICE saw an opportunity to promote their wares in a national professional class and arena. They proposed to AHRA a nitrous option for small block Pro Stocks. AHRA accepted.
The rule was, add 250 pounds to the base weights. The next three years that decision got the AHRA, nitrous companies and everyone involved the exposure that was intended. We controversial "bottle baby" racers got a lot of ink.
The late Dave Shafer. Dave was one of the main AHRA nitrous small block players,
and one of the last to participate into 1984 till AHRA sadly folded. Dave is legendary. RIP
Before 1981 was over the nitrous companies’ ads in the media were running rampart, especially NOS, full pages, even in AHRA's rival sanction and race paper, the NHRA “National Dragster”. Nitrous system companies blasted each other like election ads. Rival companies would try to entice successful nitrous racers to switch so they could bolster their ads.
Other products appeared to augment the nitrous usage. Many of those companies used the "he switched" type ads also. Comp Cams offered an Animal Jim special nitrous cam when I switched to their products.