Lets go line by line on this.
ASCS Engine Rules
360 Cubic Inches: plus 1% maximum displacement (360 plus 1% = 363.6).
So folks will take the motors right to 363.6 right off the bat to get the most out of them just like they do now with the current 410. One and done.
No aluminum blocks. No Titanium in engines, excluding valves and valve retainers.
High end steel valve retainers are $150 for a SBC. Here is a link. http://www.summitracing.com/parts/cca-1732-16
Now lets compare a similiar set of retainers made of titanium are $300. Here is the link. http://www.summitracing.com/parts/cca-732-16
Limiting what you can use for a retainer is about as smart for both longevity and cost savings as saying regular plexiglass is a suitable replacement for your windshield. Will it work? Sure, but that's just all around bad juju.
As for the steel vs aluminum block, I have no idea what the cost difference is (I'm sure neither is cheap) but there is an advantage to having an aluminum block. An aluminum block can be easily repaired, where a cast iron block can't be as easily repaired. That and the aluminum blocks can be resleeved and reused.
Spec Heads: Brodix Chevrolet Style Heads part # 27-211, #27223, and #27-222 with ASCS stamp may not have any performance-enhancing alterations in any way. Intake opening no larger than original opening, the only exception being, inlet opening may be ground or polished 3/4 inches or no further into port than the closest edge of the closest letter of the ASCS logo. During this polishing the left side of the letter "A" is sometimes inadvertently brushed with polish wheel. This is permissible as long as letter is still intact. During polishing of inlet port sometimes polish marks may go slightly further than the 3/4 inch. Intake port at no time may exceed 215 cubic centimeters.
Spec Heads: Brodix Ford Style Heads part # 27-233 with ASCS stamp may not have any performance-enhancing alterations in any way. Intake opening must be 2.150 inches tall by 1.300 inches wide. Intake port polishing will be allowed no more than a 1 1/2 inchs below the bottom of the original seat ring on the back side of the bowl area and no more than 1 inch on the short side. Polishing will be allowed in the combustion chamber area to avoid hot spot chafing. Polishing will be allowed in the exhaust ports as long as the original ASCS logo is not affected or port shape is not altered substantially. Intake port at no time may exceed 200 cubic centimeters. Please note that the intake port is for a Fel-Pro #1262, or equivalent, gasket.
Intake port polishing (on both the Chevrolet and Ford) will be allowed no more than 1 1/2 inches below the bottom of the original seat ring on the back side of the bowl area and no more than 1 inch on the short side. Polishing will be allowed in the combustion chamber area to avoid hot spot chaffing. Polishing will be allowed in exhaust ports as long as the original "ASCS" logo is not affected or port shape is not altered substantially.
Absolutely no intake or exhaust port relocation, raising, enlargement or reshaping of any type. Valve angle and placement may not be altered in any way on the ASCS spec head or on any other head. ASCS checking fixtures to check the above specifications and dimensions will be used by sanctioned ASCS tracks.
Any internally repaired ASCS spec head must be re-certified by Brodix.
All spec heads must remain within 1 degree of the original manufacturing.
So rather than just letting the guys run heads and castings that are already what they want, you are going to make it so that they do things like offset mill the head with the intent to get a better injector to valve angle (they have wiggle room per the rule, you know they will push it). The rule says "performance altering". Well, does an alteration give a motor an advantage? Pretty tough one to call if you even find it. Rules that state significant alteration means that alteration is allowed. So what does significant mean? That's a hell of a question and do you want to be that tech guy that says "sorry load it back on the trailer" on something that is a judgement call vs black and white?
Also, the CC guidance on heads is a half truth in regards to its intent. They limit the head volume with the intent to keep people from running big cams. The volume is measured in CCs (cubic centimeters) and is an indication of how much volume the port has. Think of it this way, they measure it by essentially doing a liquid volume test kinda like a kitchen measuring cup. There are a couple of ways to fake it out and actually have larger ports. Ok, so as the rule maker you tell the competitors, "you can port the heads all you want, just don't exceed 215 CC in volume on the intake runner". The reality of it all is guys will spend 100s and 100s of hours on flowbenches trashing dozens of castings trying to figure out how they can get the air to behave differently at this RPM band or this or that and remain inside the 215 CC limit. What comes quick to mind is recessing the intake valve farther back in the seat and making up the lost compression by milling the head to the minimum spec and run a super thin Cometic head gasket to bring your quench down as much as possible. This would have two benefits. Getting the port volume up and also allowing you to run a shorter valve stem reducing valvetrain weight. (custom valves.... That means more $$$$$)
Hell, lets run with this for a minute..... The rules don't say anything about the out of bore measurements for the pistons. Score... I would just recess the valves back, mill the head down as far as you can and offset it that 1 degree to get a better injector angle, open the ports up, run a super tight head gasket, and run the piston .015 out of bore running the pistons above the deck and you can easily get a super large port without breaking the 215 CC limit.
Hold on there aren't any bottom end restrictions here with the exception of titanium. So lets see what we can do here and stay within the rules. Bottom end weight is huge so let's start playing around there. Well, we can go with some ultra lightweight connecting rods that may scatter or win us a feature or two. What the hell. They are only $540 a pop or $4300 for the set... http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sca-6612521qls
Or I could run with a safer but less power promoting setup for $460 a pop or $3700 for the set. http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sca-6612521
Thus this is many of our collective points here. The top dogs are going to find ways around these rules by spending the money needed to do the research and development. So lets say a fellow that follow the letter the letter and the intent of the rule makes 700 hp on his motor. Ok, that's great. Now lets take another fellow that has met the letter of the rule, but most certainly is not meeting the intent of it. He is making 750 hp. 50 hp doesn't seem like much, but when you break it down thats darn near a 8% difference power, which can be huge at the end of the straights at your 1/2 miles tracks. Now, the difference by being 50 hp down on a 410 that makes 850 vs another that makes 900 isn't nearly as striking a difference at 6%.
Honestly, other than the injection stuff (which I honestly don't totally understand) the rules regarding the 410's and the 360's are fairly close with the exception of the head and the block rule. Everything else is right in line to be honest. http://www.williamsgrove.com/410358rules.htm
Only two valves and one spark plug per cylinder allowed. No big blocks.
No computer operated or controlled parts, such as fuel injections, fuel systems, crank trigger switches in the cockpit, chassis adjusting systems, shocks, etc.
I get the whole no driver operated weight jackers and such, but why no computer based fuel injection? This baffles me to be honest. Computer controlled fuel injection is just a win-win as far as longevity, horsepower, and economy. Stock GM LS computers I'm sure are up to the task of this and are abundant in salvage yards and parts stores. http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/Catal ... 0344396800
In any event I think I've made my case there there would be no significant cost savings if all the local big dogs went from running 410's to 360's. They are still going to outspend the small guys and will actually distance them even more.
If costs are truly getting out of line, there are better ways to curtail the costs then that.