Tech;Drag Strip Safety

Drag Strip Safety

By RM Indy

When it comes to drag racing, safety is a very important issue. Whether it's top fuel, funny cars, pro mods, super pro, pro, or even us lowly sportsman/street class racers. All tracks have very specific rules concerning, conduct, mechanical equipment and personal protective equipement (ppe). Most will follow NHRA or IHRA rule books with they're own exceptions and additions. This is not to annoy us but rather to protect, you/me, other competitors, officials and spectators alike. It certainly helps make the day a lot more fun. Without a tech inspection before making passes, too many breakdowns, oildowns and accidents could and would occur. The tech in is suppose to catch the potential safety problems before they can become a real problem on the track. When problems on the track do arise, in the extreme and rare cases, the guard rail/concrete walls protect the spectators, with fire/rescue & paramedics protecting the drivers. For those reasons, it's probably one of the safest places to go fast :). In the thousands of passes Ive seen or run Ive only see about half dozen cars hit the wall.

Safety requirements are progressive with speed, both for mechanical and ppe. The faster you go the more $afety equipment your required to have or you don't run. Drive shaft hoops, flywheel shields, tranny shields, battery/ign. cutoff, rollbars/cages, upgraded axles are a few examples. The list gets bigger and bigger with quicker ets and increased mph's ending with a chute (not that any of us will need one soon).

For most of us, we will only be required to have what the truck already has in it. A neutral switch on an auto tranny, seatbelts, battery hold downs and overflows bottles/can on the rad. Running slicks or less than 14.0 will mean running a drive shaft hoop at the front. Please, no running the a/c at the track, condensation dripping on the track can cause the faster racers some real problems.

There is a dress code in effect when running at the track. Shirts, long pants, socks and shoes are required for everyone. Most tracks don't require a helmet till 13.99 or less but do recommend it. Check before you go cause some may require it for everyone. Faster times require having things such as neck restraints, fire suits and gloves as those ets drop.

When it comes to safety, it also extends to the pits, staging lanes and road ways as well. That means no burnouts anywhere but the water box or you may get tossed out. Most tracks have a 5-10mph speed limit as well for any roads or in the pit area. When your working on your car/truck in the pits bring jack stands along with that floor jack. I see too many with only a jack holding up their rear ends while changing tires. Safety even relates to your cooler/icebox, never bring glass bottles to the track. Cans n plastic bottles only.

Here's a link to a track locator so you can check the rules if listed at the track you attend.

Remember, safety starts with you, in your own garage and driveway by having a properly maintained vehicle. So go out to your local track put the pedal to the metal and have a safe, fun day.


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