Are 260-mph Pro Mods and 210-mph Pro Stocks Too Heavy and Fast to be Safe?

When I got to my Phlegm Building office the other morning and fired up my steam-powered computer, the first items I read were the reports on the tragic death of ADRL Pro Stock racer Bert Jackson, the news that Australian doorslammer racer Rob Campese had run 260+ mph at the Sydney drag strip over the weekend, and that the ADRL’s Dragstock Pro Extreme winner, Texan Frankie Taylor, had run his 2600-lb ‘slammer over 210 mph in just an eighth mile.

Considering how many fast doorslammers have had bad crashes over the last five years on both eighth-mile and quarter-mile tracks, I wondered why there has been so little done in the way of proactive rule changes to slow these cars down. I can tell you there have been many more serious fast doorslammer crashes than nitro car crashes.

The NHRA has safety rules in place designed to turn off ignition and fuel and deploy the chutes in case the driver might be disabled. They’ve made rules to make the stopping devices at the end of the tracks more efficient. But as far as I know they’ve done nothing to address controlling the upwardly spiraling speeds these heavy cars are running, and in some classes on relatively narrow tires.  

Can anyone give me a reasonable explanation for why NHRA’s pro doorslammers are still racing a quarter of a mile? Haven’t the Pro Stock racers of the NHRA made it quite clear that the last 320 feet of an NHRA track can be extremely dangerous for them? Are 200-mph Pro Stocks what make that class exiting?

Are Pro Stock bikes boring because they donít run speeds over 200? Does anyone really believe that 260-mph dragsters, Funny Cars, Pro Mods or 210-mph Pro Stocks will sell significantly more tickets to a national event? I believe the answer to all of those questions is no!

Isn’t the winner still the first to cross the finish line, not the fastest?

I’ve talked to quite a few drivers who have driven fast cars both with and without fully operational suspension and they all say that the non-suspended cars are much more forgiving and easier to drive than a fully suspended fast car. They will tell you that on a fully suspended car, when bad things happen, like swerving from side to side or having the back end start coming around, the shocks and springs do things that make it very hard for the driver to bring the car back under control.
When you think about how many former drivers of Top Fuel and Funny  Cars have crashed Pro Mods after moving to that class, that theory makes some sense.

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