By Jeff Burk
Photos by Ron Lewis

The NHRA initially attempted to police the problem last year after NHRA Pro Stock racers were accused of using the device. NHRA officials then attempted to control the problem by randomly forcing Pro Stock teams to remove their MSD ignitions and replace them with an identical unit obtained directly from NHRA. Then, after being shown one of the units and how the ignition itself had nothing to do with the functioning of the traction control device, NHRA officials basically admitted that they weren't equipped to detect the units and put the responsibility for policing the use of traction control on the racers themselves.

The racers were told, "You tell us who's using traction control and where its installed on the car and we will take it from there." Obviously that program wasn't satisfactory for anyone involved. Many racers and fans still assumed that there was some cheating going on in the professional ranks and, to make matters worse, there seemed to be no dependable way for the sanctioning bodies' tech departments to detect or police the problem short of turning the racers against each other.

At that point the MSD Ignition company stepped forward and began developing a product that would detect electronic traction control devices.

"We had to so something," Joe Pando told DRO, "MSD was getting blamed for the traction devices because the manufacturers that made them were putting them in our ignition boxes. In the circle track arena some sanctioning bodies were writing rules that banned our ignition. We had to address the problem in that arena and decided that before we had a problem in drag racing we would address the problem there also."

What MSD did was have their engineers develop software that would be incorporated with the software currently being used in their most popular drag racing ignition systems. That software gives the ignition system the ability to detect an electronic signal to the ignition intended to control the engine performance and control or stop drive wheels from spinning.

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