NHRA Makes Safety Changes

Daniel Wilkerson after a crash during a recent event in Memphis, Tenn. (NHRA Photo)

Daniel Wilkerson after a crash during a recent event in Memphis, Tenn. (NHRA Photo)

GLENDORA, Calif. — The National Hot Rod Ass’n has announced several technical and safety changes that will take affect at the start of the 2010 season.

Included among the changes is the implementation of a new Eject Helmet Removal System in all four pro categories as well as Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

The system uses an inflatable bladder located in the top of the helmet to make removal of the helmet by safety personnel after an incident easier and safer.

In addition, all participants in the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes will be required to use an Electrimotion Safety Shut-off Receiver. The device, when used in conjunction with the Electrimotion Shut-off Transmitter and Electrimotion Safety Shut-off Box, will automatically shut-off a cars fuel and ignition systems as well as deploy the parachutes once the driver has passed the finish line if the driver has not done so already.

The system will activate when the car passes by a wall-mounted transmitter. Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car will also use the system.

Other changes include:

– NHRA’s top two classes will now be required to include fireproof tubing on brake lines and, in Top Fuel, a required cable wrapped around the rear wing main element that will deploy the parachutes automatically in the event the rear wing becomes separated from its supports. The same mechanism will be required in the Top Alcohol Dragster class as well.

– Beginning March 11, 2010 in Pro Stock, cars will be required to have formed and foamed seats as well an NHRA-accepted lateral head support system, the same as required in Top Fuel and Funny Car and in the two Top Alcohol classes. In addition, an rpm limiter set at 4,000 rpm will be activated after eight seconds into a run to slow the car in the event the driver is unable to do so. Drivers will also be required to wear SFI 3/2A/15 fire suites.

– Alcohol classes will now face requirements for oil catch can systems similar to those in the nitromethane-burning categories, to reduce track oildowns.

– All NHRA-accepted fuel lines will be required to use ends that are specifically designed for the type of fuel line being used to reduce fuel leaks. To prevent transmission leaks, all cars running 10.99 seconds or quicker must have an NHRA-accepted locking-type dipstick in the transmission.

– To improve the strength mounting point of parachutes on all vehicles running over 150 mph, NHRA announced that parachutes must have their own independent mounting, sleeved 1/2-inch-minimum steel bolts or pins. Material around the holes for the bolts/pins must be equal to or greater than the bolt/pin size.

– Sportsman classes will see increased requirements on fire suits. All drivers in cars running 7.49 seconds or quicker will be required to wear SFI 3.2A/15 fire suits. In addition, E.T. Motorcycle riders will be required to use Kevlar-lined gloves, or gloves equipped with slide buttons, the same requirement currently in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. For improved fire protection, Super Street drivers will be required to wear 3.2A/1 pants in addition to the 3.2A/1 jackets they already wear.