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NHRA Unveils Safety Updates

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, October 28 2009


A new helmet removal system leads a list of technical initiatives designed to improve safety and reduce unwanted downtime during the 2010 National Hot Rod Association season.

Highlighting changes announced Monday will be implementation of a new Eject Helmet Removal System in all four professional 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 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 fuel and ignition 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.

Other safety measures in NHRA’s top two classes 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 Top Alcohol Dragster as well.

Beginning on March 11, 2010, 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, a 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. Finally, drivers will be required to wear SFI 3/2A/15 fire suites.

The Electrimotion Safety Shut-off Box _ made mandatory in Funny Car and Top Fuel in late 2008 and 2009, respectively _ will become mandatory on Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car vehicles next season. Also in the alcohol classes, requirements for oil catch-can systems will be similar to those in the nitromethane-burning categories, to reduce track oil downs.

Affecting all classes in 2010, where applicable, and to reduce the chance of fuel leaks, 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 half-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 Pro Stock Motorcycle. 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.

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, October 28 2009
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