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