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I usually don't see eye to eye with you on most things, but on this one I agree 100 percent. This "spec" engine is just plain stupid. There are so many other ways to slow these cars down without costing the teams a ton of money. The NHRA better pull their heads out of their asses before they ruin this sport.
Narrow the tires and remove discs! I've been waiting for a good 'tuner' national series since ADRA went south in the mid '80's. Giving the driver back the challenge of the backpedal and simplifying the equation to where people might actually have to read plugs for more than history reenactment purposes would restore the artisan purpose to Top so long missing...
I would be more in favor of a really large and inefficient "Hanford device" of some sort, and here's why...
No one wants to watch the tire spinning festival that a smaller wing or tire will cause. If that were the case, they could just ban track maintenance and prep (traction compound and so on).
With a large Hanford device (or something similar), you can still have a lot of downforce, but you add drag. If you add enough drag, the cars will reach a lower top speed without rev limiters and other non-nitro-friendly contraptions. In fact they should ADD downforce (just make it inefficient) to give the fans a show with less tire smoke, lower ETs but a lower top speed. We've all heard the crew chiefs say that nitro likes to have a load on it; well that's exactly what would be accomplished.
As far as safety is concerned, let's be rational, and remember that 335mph was perfectly fine, when nothing broke! So beef up every structure, keep 'em going straight, don't remove downforce, don't remove spark (rev-limit), just add some drag!
Every one is against spec motors, so why not cut two inches off the blower rotor length? No air, no horsepower. It is so simple, same heads, same pump(s), etc... Let them race. Too fast, cut off some more rotor length.
Charlotte, North Carolina