Here is what a QMA engine builder had to say about the USAC engine program.
I can weigh in on a couple different points that have been tossed around here. First, the variations in power between different 120 engines was largely due to two major components, the head casting and the carb function. As most of you know, the last Japanese head was the #12 and was a real poor performer compared to earlier heads. The Thailand heads ran decent, but the grinding that was present made them impossible to tech faily. By the way, I have seen unground Thailand 120 heads and they are as poor or even worse than the #12 Japanese head. The carbs were very hit or miss as far as performance was concerned because our old #65 main jet rule froecd most carbs to run at the lean edge of the correct window. Many carbs simply would not perform well with that jet. The power variations under the old rule system was as much a .7 HP. Fortunately, the advent of the Japanese #13 head and #70 main jet cured the large majority of these problems, and the product variation was cut in half at least, allowing all members to have access to competitive engines. I personally support the idea of open jetting to eliminate the variations that occur by limiting jet size. Cost is minimal, and the playing field is level in that area by doing this. (In a perfect world, we could all run #13 heads to eliminate the uncorrectable variable of port variations, but that subject is for another discussion.)
If we were to allow decking the head and block, more variations will be standardised and the power variations will be further reduced at a minimal cost. Power increase would vary, but at the end of the day, lesser engines would be brought up to be comparable to better engines, which would have no room for improvement because they are already at the limits. As a matter of information, there is appriximately .1HP gain for every .005 removed from the deck or head. For example if a head was decked .005 and a block was decked.005 the approximate power gain would be .2HP. As you can see, compression ratio is not a real big factor at this level.
Also, by allowing the 140 valve spring, cost is reduced due to lack of constant replacement, the engine will be less sensitive to gear selection, and the power curve is such that a driver will have a little better race engine to work with on the track, the final result being a little more level playing field. I have been running these springs on outlaw engines with no ill effects at all.
As far as bigger carbs on specific classes, the idea will certainly work without major damage to the engines. It makes sense to me to offer ever increasing speed as our drivers mature. It has never made sense to me to have our older heavier drivers slow down as they progress in their careers. This is one of the reasons that drivers stay in the light classes longer than the should. I have not tested these options, but simple common sense tells me that what USAC has done is visionary and in the interest of quality racing for the kids.
I am personally not interested in copying USAC for the simple sake of copying them, but if what they are doing is right and is better than QMA, I propose we take a hard look at it, to see if we can benefit by improving our program. Our members have to make these decisions, and where they are unable to provide informed input, they need to trust someone that has the knowledge and wisdom to lead them in the proper direction.
There will always be a group of people that can and will outspend the majority part of our membership, but there is no way to control that. The measures we are contemplating reduce the effectiveness of this overspending and give the average guy a shot at a great motor without the expense that the spenders have had to go through. In my opinion, if I call every one of my customers and offered them the opportunity to to get on the same plane as the best of the best for less than a hundred bucks, every last one would go for it. I have yet to have anyone call me and request an average, or underperforming engine.