By nature, racers are a breed of primates that have their priorities all mixed up. Why treat the old lady to a nice steak dinner when that same $50 will get you three gallons of race gas? She probably hasn't lost all that post-baby weight anyways, and my-oh-my does that Q16 fuel have a wickedly refreshing aroma to it. Likewise, while drag racers might think that nothing is more important than lighting up the scoreboard with a blazing e.t., in reality, staying safe is priority number one. Since few shops build fast late-model GM rides like the School of Automotive Machinists (www.samracing.com), we had them make sure that GMHTP's in-house NMCA LSX Real Street race car was up to code before loading up for the track.
Knowing that racers will be racers and try to skimp out on safety gear, the NHRA has made things easy by clearly outlining safety equipment mandates in its readily available rulebook. Strapped with a 451ci LS small-block that kicks out 720 hp, our '95 Camaro is projected to run deep 10-second quarter-mile e.t.'s on motor and high- to mid-8s on nitrous. That means it needs quite a bit of safety equipment to remain legal per NHRA rules, and as such, we installed a Chassisworks 8-point chrome-moly rollcage very early on in the build process. To put the finishing touches on the safety equipment, we installed the parachute, window net, seat harnesses, and fire extinguisher. The best news of all is that The Purp's tedious multi-year marathon build is nearly complete, and hopefully we'll be shaking it down at the track the next time you read about it in GMHTP.
1. The NHRA rulebook requires parachutes on all cars that run 150 mph or faster in the quarter-mile, regardless of e.t. Considering that The Purp should run over 140 mph before hitting the nitrous button, it seemed prudent to order up a Simpson Skyjacket parachute (PN: 42020BK) from Summit Racing. The reinforced nylon ’chute boasts a 10-foot diameter plume and extends 12-feet from the car, and can survive behind 200 mph deployments. An included .090-inch alloy mounting plate allows for easy bolt-in installation, and a Nomex ’chute pack and backing material provide additional peace of mind.
2. To keep the driver planted in the seat at all times, Summit set us up with a SFI 16.1 certified Simpson five-point harness (PN: 29116BK). It features three-inch-wide military grade webbing on the shoulder and lap belts, and a two-inch anti-submarine belt. To prevent fraying, the belts boast heat-sealed ends as well. Although some drivers prefer a traditional latch system, we opted for a camlock system just in case we ever have to make a quick exit.
3. While the shoulder harness wraps around the shoulder bar, the lap belts and crotch strap anchor to the floorboard using Grade 8 nitrided eyelet bolts. The belts loop around clips included with the Simpson mounting kit (PN: 31020), then snap directly onto the eyelets.
4. In the event of a spin or an impact, a window net ensures that a driver’s arms and torso stay inside the car. The NHRA requires SFI 27.1 certified nets in all cars running e.t.’s of 9.99 or quicker—and trap speeds 135 mph and faster—in the quarter-mile. As such, we went with a Stroud 24x18-inch net (PN: 501-01) and matched it up with a Stroud mounting kit (PN: 503).
5. Since fire is always a possibility in a race car, we ordered up a HalGuard fire extinguisher (PN: HG100C) from H3R Performance. Measuring just 10 inches tall and 3.6 inches in diameter, it will fit just about anywhere inside the cabin. For easy installation and speedy dismounting, it features an NHRA-approved quick-release billet bracket that can be mounted to a rollcage or any flat surface.
6. Not only are the factory rear bumper and rubber bumper support heavy, but they also take up a lot of space. To make room for the Burkhart Chassis chrome-moly bumper that would replace it, Dustin detached the rear bumper cover by removing a series of bolts and clips along the cover’s upper lip from inside the trunk and the spare tire compartment. The bumper itself attaches with four bolts on each side, which were accessed from beneath the car.