Well a new combination if not a new power adder, but pretty cool nonetheless. I get your intent but i think a pro charger fits well within the definition of a supercharger even if its easier to describe as a belt driven turbocharger.
There were front mounted blowers in the 1950's. They didn't seem to work as well as a blower mounted on top of the engine and people gave up on them. But they looked different. I think the blower was run by the crank and it had tubes going from the intake manifold to the blower itself (a 6:71) which sat sideways. Looking at the photos reminded me of that.
I've seen Novak's car run, it's a beast. I think it's great having another power adder. It seems like it is a more affordable option to those who want to run fast. I watched the event on Bangshift. They tweaked the combination and improved on almost every run. Eric Dillard is super knowledgeable and a bad ass driver to boot. He also said that the data from the runs was sent to the NHRA. Maybe we'll see a pro charger compete in the already crowded and competitive Pro Mod class there. Not sure the supercharged and nitrous drivers would be happy about that.
BTW, Eric Gustafson won the Xtreme Pro Mod title at the NMCA race in Atlanta in April running a procharger.
Maybe Jeff can chime in here. I'm curious about a couple things. Are Prochargers any more affordable than a top mounted Roots? And do they deliver comparatively more power? They sure are popular in TD.
There are a ton of variation in pricing on the ProCharger product and the Vortech product. On the upper end i think Vortech has pushed ProCharger to make their premium offer better. I think you are looking at roughly $10k for a complete set up capable of 30-35 lbs of boost. I know some of the dominant users of these products are getting the base compressor drive for a low fraction of that cost. There are a lot of very high speed moving parts in these things (think 30k rpm) they don't like being pedaled .... but they are still be developed and improved.
Looking online the Vortech V30 123A is $6200 (just the bare compressor, no gear drive, piping etc.) and the ProCharger F3R-121 is comparable for the base unit.
Not too long ago most guys I knew racing them carried more than one. I'm not sure i know of many folks running a 14-71 making 3000hp or less carrying a backup huffer .... but this is a bit out of my league. when one of these spits its guts up it sends some pretty nasty stuff through the motor ..... that is not the case with most traditional superchargers. But traditional superchargers are big and heavy, like they were designed for a truck .... oh wait, they were.....
There are a number of people running complete motors for 10 races and selling a working set up turnkey. Some people feel comfortable buying their horsepower that way. Like a turbo, they can be idled around the pits with no issue. So a lot of people that run alone find that appealing.
The combination has helped the car count. I don't know if its cost, or more likely the fact that the carburetor is self tuning in most situations whereas jet changes in a traditional blower set up are mandatory ... and you see a few people out there rather regularly trashing complete traditional blower set ups (too lean or way too rich, both ends can kill you) vs what you typically see in the pro charger world is burnt pushrods and an occasionally trashed compressor unit. Exhaust pushrods in all high output engines open against a TON of pressure .... its not an easy job.
Some of the blow through carb set ups you see on these are beautiful .... and a Proline motor with a pro charger looks like a piece of art to my eye (roughly $85k with no tune up)
I don't get why they're implying that Prochargers were garbage until this last year. From the outhouse to the penthouse? People have been running 3s with Prochargers for a while now. They've been popular for decades, as well. Seems like they're trying to make something out of nothing <shrug>
People were running 3.80s at the beginning of last year with em. Im guessing whoever wrote that article was ignorant to Prochargers before this. That's about the only logical explanation I can come up with. A person that's known about Prochargers and known what they're capable of wouldn't have written those things, IMHO. They're extremely popular outside of NHRA and have been for YEARS.