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If nothing else good comes out of the weather and track condition drama at zMax Dragway last weekend, it would be that it proved once and for all (at least to me) that there are no traction control devices that actually work on NHRA Pro Stockers. In fact, I would say that based on the number of “pedal fest” races we’ve seen in the nitro ranks this year you can draw that same conclusion for that class too.
NHRA president Tom Compton made it clear in his DRO INNERview with Susan Wade in this issue is that there would be no going back to quarter-mile racing for nitro cars. He further stated emphatically that most, if not all, of the teams DO NOT want to return to 1320 feet for financial and safety reasons.
So, instead of NHRA’s track-prep personnel being forced to custom prep both 1000-foot and 1320-foot distances at every event, how about if the NHRA makes racing safer and less complicated by just making the standard distance at their national and regional races 1000 feet? No nitro teams quit because the NHRA shortened the track to 1000 feet. There is nothing in history to indicate that the racers who support NHRA national event racing will quit or that fans will quit coming, no matter what the track distance is.
Let’s be clear about one thing regarding the track fiasco at Charlotte. At the end of the day, the driver and only the driver of a race car is the final arbiter of whether it is safe to drive that car down a dragstrip. How many times have drivers sitting in the staging lanes seen a fellow racer crash or nearly crash in front of them on an obviously slick track and then, upon the signal from the starter, followed that racer down that same track and crash too?
Any driver that goes down a racetrack that he or she feels is unsafe because their owner, crew chief or the starter told them to must take the blame for whatever happens to themselves or anyone else as a result. It is one thing for a driver to take a calculated risk while racing, but it is something else when they just do as they are told regardless of the risk.
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