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Discussion Starter #1
NHRA shortens race distance for Top Fuel and Funny Car classes to 1,000 feet as an interim safety measure
7/2/2008

As the investigation continues into the tragic accident that took the life of driver Scott Kalitta, NHRA has announced that beginning at the Mopar Mile High Nationals in Denver, Colo., both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes will race to 1,000 feet instead of the traditional 1,320 feet or one-quarter mile. This is an interim step that is being taken while NHRA continues to analyze and determine whether changes should be made to build upon the sport's long standing safety record, given the inherent risks and ever-present dangers associated with the sport.

This interim change was made by NHRA in collaboration with professional race teams. NHRA believes that racing the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes to 1,000 feet will allow NHRA and the racing community time to evaluate, analyze and implement potential changes based on the safety initiatives outlined last week.

With the change, fans will still be able to enjoy the sights, sounds and thrill of NHRA nitro racing with speeds around 300 mph and quick elapsed times to 1,000 feet.

Over the years, NHRA has implemented many initiatives to enhance safety including measures to limit speeds from increasing, personal protective gear, vehicle improvements, and track enhancements such as sand traps, catch nets and concrete barriers the entire length of the drag strip.

In the wake of the tragic series of events that took Kalitta's life, the following technical issues are currently under investigation: 1) what might be done to reduce engine failures; 2) parachute mounting techniques and materials as well as identifying a parachute material that could be more fire resistant; 3) exploring whether there is a way to increase brake efficiency when cars lose downforce due to the loss of the body; 4) analyzing additional methods that might be developed at the top end of the race track to help arrest runaway vehicles; 5) considering whether current speeds should be further limited or reduced to potentially improve safety.

“The board members of the Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO) wholeheartedly and unanimously support this decision,” said its president Kenny Bernstein. “We want to thank NHRA for listening to our input and suggestions to incorporate these changes. It is not lost on any of us that this constitutes a change in our history of running a quarter-mile, but it's the most immediate adjustment we can make in the interest of safety which is foremost on everyone's mind. This may be a temporary change and we recognize it is not the total answer. We will continue to work hand in hand with NHRA to evaluate other methods of making Top Fuel and Funny Car competition safer so that we might return to our quarter-mile racing standard. We also want to thank Connie Kalitta for his invaluable input. He has been a rock through these difficult times.”
 

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In away this is good, because the car is just eating itself up after 1000'. But on the other hand 1000' race, just isn't the same. Anything to make the sport safe I'm in.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I disagree with this move and here is why

They were able to race the rest of that weekend and also last weekend with no issues stopping the cars in the space given.

The problem lied within the car itself. Scott was killed in the explosion or at the least knocked out which kept him from applying the brakes.

I like Del Worsham's upgrade of hooking the parachute cable to the burst panel in the body. That way if the engine explodes it automatically deploys the chutes.

This type of adjustments I feel are better aimed at the root of the problem and will incease the safety of the drivers.

You could have had a track 500ft longer in Scott's case and at 300mph and still running under partial power along with inertia (momentum) and without applying the brakes it still would have ran off the end!

Just my two cents, but it's also not my but in the seat
 

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I don't feel 1000' race will solve anything, but at lease it got people thing safer way to do thing. those guys know they risk there lives every time they fire those thing up, let alone going down the track.
 

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while it may not 'solve' anything... this is one time that i agree with it as a stop gap. it gives every track a longer shut down area, the racers are still going as fast as they can to the strip and the racers seem to be on board.
 

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I agree with the shorter race at this moment it is the quikest solution.
Especialy when you are talking lengthening tracks, shut down areas, sand traps, ect.
The burst panel parachute launcher is an exellent idea but it has to be researched and developed not something that happens over nite.
And my last point is that this is what the racers wanted as an interum fix, so that means that they except the reduction in points to allow this research and testing.
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #8
J. Matsko said:
I agree with the shorter race at this moment it is the quikest solution.
Especialy when you are talking lengthening tracks, shut down areas, sand traps, ect.
The burst panel parachute launcher is an exellent idea but it has to be researched and developed not something that happens over nite.
And my last point is that this is what the racers wanted as an interum fix, so that means that they except the reduction in points to allow this research and testing.
Jerry
I realize I am making my conclusion from the grandstands and yours is from the drivers seat Jerry so I will concede that I may be wrong or off base on this.

Safety should always be first !
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Top Fuel, Funny Car will race to 1,000 feet for balance of '08 season
7/22/2008

Racing in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series classes of Top Fuel and Funny Car will continue to be contested over a 1,000-foot course for the duration of the 2008 season as the NHRA and a safety task force continues to investigate, analyze, and determine ways to implement initiatives to continue to enhance safety.

With support and encouragement from the racing teams, NHRA instituted the 1,000-foot rule prior to the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, the 13th race on the 23-event series. Racing over the 1,000-foot distance has already provided several important benefits, key among them the decrease in parts attrition and the increase in tight, competitive competition.

The task force is headed up by Dan Olson, NHRA director of Top Fuel & Funny Car racing. He is joined by Austin Coil, crew chief for John Force Racing; Jim Head, Funny Car driver/crew chief; Alan Johnson, crew chief for the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster; Jon Oberhofer, crew chief for the Doug Kalitta-driven Top Fuel dragster; Mark Oswald, co-crew chief on Melanie Troxel's Funny Car; and Tim Wilkerson, Funny Car driver/crew chief. Other representatives from NHRA and the Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO) will also participate.

NHRA's two other professional categories, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, and all Sportsman competition will continue to be contested over the traditional quarter-mile distance.
 
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