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I know that most of the sanctioning bodies (NHRA, IHRA, ADRL, X-DRL, NMCA, PSCA) are already at least a couple races deep into their schedules, but I feel like the April 26-28 weekend is the real opening day of the 2013 drag racing season.
This weekend, the NHRA, IHRA, X-DRL, NHRA Heritage, and the DRO AA/FC series all have major races scheduled. If you are a fan of AA/FC racing, you can see those cars race virtually coast-to-coast. The IHRA is racing at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida with four floppers, including Peter Gallen and the Candies and Hughes Cuda, the New Family’s Firebird track in Boise, Idaho, is hosting their annual Ignitor Nationals with AA/FCs as the headline attraction and, of course, the DRO series starts its 2013 season Friday on the historic eighth-mile Kennedale, Texas, track.
The same weekend NHRA will do its first “live” broadcast of its national event from Houston, and the X-DRL is at Bristol for their second race. A lot more tracks across the country are having “special” races this weekend. So I’m calling this drag racing’s unofficial “opening day weekend” and encouraging all of you to get out and support your local track and drag racing. I’ll be in Kennedale snorting nitro and generally have a good time at the drags with some old Texas buddies. What could go wrong?
It is incomprehensible to me that the NHRA still hasn’t made head and neck devices a mandatory piece of safety equipment for every racer regardless of class, ET or speed.
It’s only common sense for drag racing sanctioning bodies that require seat belts, roll cages, driveshaft loops, fire suits, helmets, and many other safety measures to also require their competitors to wear a scientifically and statistically proven life saving piece of safety equipment - a head and neck restraint device - to protect them if they crash into an immovable object like a guardwall.
The fact is Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed after he impacted the guard wall head-on in the final laps of the Daytona 500 at a speed estimated at 35 mph! What drag car in existence, racing with any drag racing organization, doesn’t exceed 35 mph? The answer is none!
Why NHRA decided to use elapsed time as the metric to determine who has to wear a head and neck restraint makes no sense to me. It’s speed that kills, not ET. For example, if a Super Comp car runs 8.90 at speeds approaching 200 mph or a Super Gas racer runs 9.90 at speeds over 160 mph, those drivers should be required to wear a head and neck restraint device.
I suppose there is a case to be made that a driver with an NHRA competition license assumes racing is dangerous and accepts that risk when he or she straps into a race car, but that doesn’t keep the major sanctioning bodies worldwide from requiring that drivers wear helmets! Does the average 8, 9, or 10-year-old understand and accept the risk of driving a race car at speeds approaching 70 mph? Hell no they don’t!
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