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NHRA - Do they have their heads up their Asses?

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  • #16
    I was thinking about the situation a why don't they do what the drag boats do? The driver is in a ejection capsule, This doesn't seem too much out of the question. One could have an ejection capsule with a parachute. Just a thought about separating the driver from the fire.



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    • #17
      My two cents

      I don't think it'll be 100% safe ever. The NHRA may want to consider catch net like are used on aircraft carriers as one last means of slowing the car. Still 300 mph to 0 on less than 2 seconds is still one heck of a decceleration.
      Jeff

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      • #18
        Ejection capsule may not work, first big problem is the spectators. On water, the water itself is a good de-accelerant, and the primary concern is keeping oxygen to the driver as well as the hydrolic cutting effects of water away from the driver.

        Jump to drag strip, lets take a look at only the fire problem.

        fuel and oil are potential fuel. Key is stopping them from pumping into said fire. Fuel is easier than stopping the flow from a breached oil sump system.

        Main problem is driver is behind fuel source at 300+ mph. The wind factor.

        fuel, in a bad situation key is to stop pumping fuel. if system is breached at 300mph, a simple pin hole in the fuel system, unpumped, the wind turns it into a flame thrower. Simply stopping the pumping does not solve the problem.

        the real challenge is, how do you stop said pumping of fuel and prevent leaks until the driver is out of danger? Buying time...

        Design goal is simply to protect driver long enough to give rescue workers time to reach and put out said fire.

        ejecting capsule, there are some real problems with spectators getting hit as well as de-accelerating the driver. Plus you give up the ability of the chasis to destroy itself and scrub off energy / speed. a loose capsule could actually accelerate on the ground. Of course, fire has to be managed during the de-accelerating.

        If a direct hit instead of a glancing hit takes place, all kinds of other problems take place.

        bottom line, nothing simple about keeping these guys safe.

        Track design as well as response times of rescue crews are part of the safety equation. But lets be honest, after 300 mph to zero mph in a short period of time, we need to give the safety crew something to work with...

        This stuff is not for the faint of heart.

        The folks who do this have already solved problems on a scale that is hard to imagine.

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        • #19
          Speaking as a ex drag racer who never went faster than 9.3 seconds in a 1/4 mile.
          Anytime you strap your self into something that can go from a standing start to 300+ MPH in 1/4 mile. You have to know that each time could be your last.
          As far as NHRA safty standards, I think the drivers and owners should be at the forefront of safty more than NHRA.

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          • #20
            I just threw it out there

            Still, there are a lot of carrier pilots thanking their stars for the catch nets. I know that approach speeds are around 115 mph but the mass of an F-14 is greater than that of a dragster. Instantaneous acceleration force equals mass multiplied by velocity. When mass is decreased velocity can increase. But the driver has to withstand the decceleration. If the net is secured by a friction based mount rather than fixed hard mount, it could dissipate the force somewhat gradually based on run out i.e. the arrestor cable priciple but not acting on a fixed point. It might make the dragster kind of crumpled but slightly less than a wall at the end of the strip would.
            Last edited by JgishODU99; 07-01-2008, 08:46 AM. Reason: mispelled
            Jeff

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Laiky View Post
              Am i the only one who thinks that the NHRA is becoming a hack organization when it comes to safety? Erik Medlen, John Force, now Scott Kalitta. All avoidable accidents. Are they doing ANY testing? I would like to hear others opinions. I think they have been stuck in time as far as the nitro classes and safety are concerned. At 300+ MPH all the steel in the world isn't going to keep you alive if you decellerate fast enough. Why hasen't the NHRA been investigating 90's technology to insure driver safely? Something as simple as a remote ignition kill and remote parachute release could have saved Kalitta's life. Maybe a firewall? or an energy absorbing capsule? 330 MPH is well beyond the survivability limits of any human body without something to ease the decelleration.

              What are your opinions?
              Eric Medlens death was a freak deal, about a quarter of the slick came apart, so the tire/wheel was out of balance by at least 10lbs. When this happened the car lost traction, the engine spun the tires to 300+mph and he was shaken to death. They changed the roll cages. I think if the same tire failure happens again, you will have the same result.

              John Forces wreck was due to hardened 4130 tubing being used in the chassis, when they are suppose to use 4130N. There were several chassis that cracked last year due to use of the same tubing. The other teams just got lucky and noticed the cracks.

              Scott Kalittas death was after an engine EXPLOSION, the engine was not running. Ignition kill would not have changed anything. Scott did deploy the parachutes but they burned up and did not open. Remote parachute release won't change anything if they burn up. The car hit a pole for the catch net at the end of the track. There is no reason on GOD's green earth for a pole to be in any possible path of a car traveling at that speed.

              I don't think the aircraft cable/tailhook idea works either. For one they don't always work on aircraft carriers, my understanding is something like 75%. Secondly if you decelerate too fast you die anyway. The current chassis would be ripped apart by such a device.

              Sorry for the long post.

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              • #22
                So I would presume that all you guys have seen that NHRA has started 1000ft racing now in the Fuel class cars.
                So I would say they have now popped their heads out

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                • #23
                  Ever hear of the 1/8 mile ...

                  I think what ever keeps the drivers coming back each weekend, while pushing the edge, is ok with me.

                  have they outlawed auto stage? always thought the driver should pull the trigger and feather the throttle. Car starts jumpin, throttle would pull off or spin em.

                  The whole dare devel deal, that's more for hollywood pictures than racin.

                  TRS

                  (once watched a guy in an olds pull a couple of wheels up at 3/4 track and go through the gates featherin a wheelie. If I had not seen the deal, I would not have believed it. guy I know walked me over for the view, he said, and i quote, don't blink. saturday night guys... down south)
                  Last edited by trstek; 07-07-2008, 04:29 PM.

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                  • #24
                    The header for this rant is unappealing to me, however. The reason racing began in its infancy was to expant the range of the possible. To think bigger and go farther faster and quicker. These reaches have from time to time made extreme consequences. Ask Alex Zanardi, Paralized and he still races, why because he loves it so very much that he would have rather died than not race. Do you believe that there is no thrill that drives these men. I met Scott Brayton and he was a terriffic man, his children miss him,,,but he did what he loved. Same for Ayrton Senna, Gordon Smiley, Mark Donahue and all the others. Even other racing series deal with these issues and that is the price that is paid for the lives they lead.

                    Its dangerous, and that is the draw in the first place, same for mountain climbing, skydiving, and any of a dozen other risky things people do for a thrill.

                    I get angry when people blame it on the series, there is danger involved,,,period!!!! Strap into a metal chassis with over 7000 horsepower and not expect the possiblility of something terribly wrong happening. Get real that is the draw in the first place.

                    God Bless The racers souls that have passed, and God bless those still driving.

                    Peace,

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                    • #25
                      People routinely get on a motorcycles where thousands are killed and injured, not a second thought but one guy in a race car tanks it and its a national tragedy.

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                      • #26
                        Racers know the risks. Why is it that people always have to have someone to blame?

                        Scott

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                        • #27
                          Racers know the risks, but as a former crew member and chief, I always looked to minmize the risk and felt I had an obligation to my team, self, and other competitors, to bring the best and safest car I could field to the track, perform my best work in repair and tuning, and not to p--- on the dogs and call in the fire when mechanical failures or accidents occurred and say its just racing. The search shouldn't be for the scapegoat but the prevention of the occurence from ever happening again. Be safe out there.
                          Jeff

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                          • #28
                            IMHO. This guy has the best answer.

                            http://www.competitionplus.com/index...6566&Itemid=24

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                            • #29
                              I disagree. the problem isnt the speed in most cases. 300 or 330 you hit a pole, your not going to make it. Being a drag racer myself, and having raced at englishtown as my "home" track, I never liked it. It's not a terribly short runoff area, but it is short. I never liked it I've been to several tracks with nothing behind the track but open space, sand or hay fields... and thats smart. Not tree's, concrete barriers, poles or what ever else some tracks have. I hit the sand once, my brakes failed and it was the scariest thing ever, but I didnt even get a scratch on me or the car. Granted top fuel'ers travel much faster, but 1000 ft, or limiting to 300 mph doesnt help when there are obstructions in your path.. If there isnt room for the runoff, knock the track off the NHRA list until they comply, or dont hold it there at all.

                              just my .002
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                              • #30
                                Badd00SS
                                I disagree. the problem isnt the speed in most cases. 300 or 330 you hit a pole, your not going to make it. Being a drag racer myself, and having raced at englishtown as my "home" track, I never liked it. It's not a terribly short runoff area, but it is short. I never liked it I've been to several tracks with nothing behind the track but open space, sand or hay fields... and thats smart. Not tree's, concrete barriers, poles or what ever else some tracks have. I hit the sand once, my brakes failed and it was the scariest thing ever, but I didnt even get a scratch on me or the car. Granted top fuel'ers travel much faster, but 1000 ft, or limiting to 300 mph doesnt help when there are obstructions in your path.. If there isnt room for the runoff, knock the track off the NHRA list until they comply, or dont hold it there at all.

                                just my .002

                                seems simple enough, so why dose it not happen ??? there are a lot of simple things to makethe hole setup safer, this wont stop exploading heads. but fule stops will keep flames to a minimum, didnt they go to requiring flex line from the tank. little things with little to no lbs. could make it a lot safer, not safe, but safer.
                                thanks for the help
                                ......or..........
                                hope i helped
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