Are NHRA drag races suffering from too many rules and too much technology?
After watching five hours of NHRA drag racing from Houston this weekend, I came to the conclusion that the NHRA, the recognized stewards of the sport of drag racing, had, to paraphrase comedian Bill Maher, finally succeed. to “disinfect it for your protection”. and in doing so, have removed much of what made drag racing so popular for my generation. But obviously, the NHRA drag racing brand is appealing to current drag fans, as looking at the photos, the Houston event had a very good turnout from spectators on Saturday and Sunday.
For me, the “disinfection” of drag racing really started with the death of Top Fuel racer Darrell Russell in St. Louis in 2004. The NHRA responded to this tragedy by instituting new rules designed to make cars and cars. safer tracks and avoid more deaths. Obviously, it didn’t work out as expected, because after that Eric Medlen and Scott Kalitta lost their lives and John Force had a terrible accident.
Since Russell’s death, the NHRA has established (and continues to make) rules that have forced nitro cars to be heavier and more expensive, but also more resistant to a serious crash. In the name of safety, and at the insistence of professional teams, the NHRA made the drastic decision to shorten the track to 1,000 feet. For a while, that meant that a 320 mph shift by a Top Fuel car was very quick.
Despite all of the new regulations designed to slow cars down and make them safer, the NHRA continues to spend thousands of dollars and more of fan time at events to make pool cues slick with a track surface tacky enough to pull off. sneakers off your feet if you step on them. As a result, speed and ET records on the 1,000-foot runways continued to increase. The new 1,000-foot record is now over 332 mph.
The NHRA also allows racing teams to design and manufacture improved engine and transmission components, which also results in faster and faster nitro cars. As an NHRA nitro racing fan, I am more than a little confused. Are they trying to slow down nitro cars or not?
In keeping with this theme, it is evident that NHRA management feels that the current crop of drivers in the professional classes are not proficient drivers. I say this because the NHRA has mandated devices in many occupational classes that, depending on the circumstances, automatically turn off the ignition and fuel pumps and deploy the parachutes without any assistance from the operator. Basically, the device does this for a driver at some point just past the finish line, or when the compressor burst panel is blown.
So, in fact, the fastest and fastest NHRA professional class drivers and some athletic classes would not have to pull the chute levers after a pass because the device is supposed to do so. do for them. Personally, I don’t think this decision was one of the best in the NHRA.